Shaping a Discipleship Culture

I recently had the honor of leading a workshop at the 3D Discipleship event held in Williamsport, PA. The event was sponsored by Growing Effective Churches of the Susquehanna Conference of the UMC. Here are some of my notes from the workshop. Centre Grove’s Story I shared a little about what God has been doing … Read more

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 … Read more

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, … Read more

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 … Read more

“Autopsy of a Deceased Church”

Thom Rainer’s book, “Autopsy of a Deceased Church” (2014), grew out of a popular blog post he wrote in 2013. In the book, Rainer looks at ten common traits of dying churches based on his research of deceased churches. Rainer estimates, “As many as 100,000 churches in America are showing signs of decline toward death” … Read more

6 Takeaways from the 2015 Global Leadership Summit

We recently attended our fifth Global Leadership Summit in a row. They’ve all been great. This year was no exception! Here are some of my key takeaways … 1. Develop grit! As usual, the talk which impacted me most was the opening session by Bill Hybels, who talked about the intangibles of leadership, inspired by … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

Core Prayers

Are there certain things you find yourself praying over and over, such as when you pray for yourself, your family, and your ministry? I do. I have a list of some things I pray regularly. These have become some of my core prayers. I’m sure there is no perfect list of core prayers, and I’m … Read more

A Prayer for Transformational Leadership

On July 1, 2009, the beginning of our second year in Clearfield, I wrote a prayer in my journal for our ministries. Though the prayer has been revised over the years, it has stuck with me ever since (in fact, I posted an earlier version of it in 2011). A few months ago, the Clearfield … Read more