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Category Archives: Leadership

Sabbatical Reflections

Sabbatical Reflections

My last post shared hopes and plans for our summer sabbatical. We are grateful to God, and to our congregations, for the gift of this time!

Sabbaticals are often called “renewal leaves.” And, this time was certainly important for our renewal both as pastors and as followers of Jesus!

During our sabbatical, our main goal was to REST, PLAY, and STUDY. Overall, we did pretty well in these areas. We got some rest (as much as we were able to with 7 and 9-year-old kids). We played a lot, and we were able to do some study, mainly reading some books and attending the Global Leadership Summit, which we have been doing for the last several years.

We also enjoyed worshiping together as a family in several different United Methodist congregations. We are grateful for these rare opportunities to worship together. They were also opportunities to observe and learn from other churches!

My primary learning during the sabbatical can be stated this way …

Create space for what matters most!

Actually, while this idea began forming at the beginning of the sabbatical, it wasn’t until the end of the sabbatical that I was able to put it into a short, simple phrase!

As a pastor, the activities that matter most to me are mainly Time With God, reading and personal growth, sermon prep, and visioning. Going forward, I want to create ample space for these critical tasks so that God can work in and through me more effectively! Of course, making more room for these things will also necessarily mean removing, or minimizing, some other things from my plate. I’ll have to figure that out as I go along!

In the near future, I plan to post some reviews and reflections on the books I read during sabbatical. As expected, I didn’t make it through all twelve books on my list, but I got through seven of them, and will continue reading the others!

Now that we’re back, we’re looking forward to the next leg of our journeys here. At Centre Grove, I’m especially looking forward to deepening our commitment to corporate prayer and being more intentional about our discipleship strategy, as well as focusing on our ongoing commitment to being the hands and feet of Jesus!

The Role of Tribal Leaders in the Church

The Role of Tribal Leaders in the Church

In 2012, Centre Grove UMC’s church council read Winning on Purpose: How To Organize Congregations to Succeed in Their Mission by John Edmund Kaiser. At the time, we were transitioning from a traditional United Methodist multi-committee structure to an alternative single-committee structure. In the book, Kaiser shares Paul Borden’s somewhat humorous metaphor of the board,… Continue Reading

Short-Term Sabbatical

Short-Term Sabbatical

United Methodist pastors are encouraged to take sabbaticals on a regular basis. Our conference allows for one-month sabbaticals once every four years (longer sabbaticals are available, a little less frequently). This will be our first sabbatical since beginning ministry in the UMC in 1998. The appropriate committees from both Centre Grove UMC and West Side… Continue Reading

Paul & Silas Were Pot-Stirrers!

I’ve said before, Leaders are Pot-Stirrers. I’ve also listed 3 Ways Leaders Stir the Pot. First-century church leaders were clearly pot-stirrers. In Acts 16-17, there’s a story that describes how Paul and Silas were pot-stirrers. “These people are causing an uproar in our city” (Acts 16.20, CEB) … “These people who have been disturbing the… Continue Reading

Equipping Vital Congregations

At the 2015 Annual Conference of the Susquehanna Conference, I had the honor of being part of a team presentation on Equipping Vital Congregations. The presentation was facilitated by Janet Durrwachter (First UMC, Williamsport). Other team members included Jaime Carpenter (Christ UMC, Selinsgrove) and Rev. Rich Morris (Hicks Memorial UMC, Duncansville). Jaime talked about “Passionate… Continue Reading

Favorite Quotes From the Global Leadership Summit

Our favorite leadership development event is the Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit. This year’s Summit was the 20th event, and our fourth in a row (see my posts on the 2011 and 2013 Summits). Here are some of my favorite quotes/thoughts from this year’s Summit … Bill Hybels Hybels is the leader who challenges… Continue Reading