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

Sabbatical Growth Plan

As I shared recently, Joleen and I are both taking a short-term sabbatical (one month, plus two weeks of vacation). We’re seeking physical and spiritual renewal and growth in ministry leadership. Physical & Spiritual Renewal Spiritual health is vitally important. Lance Witt, in his book, Replenish (see my post), argues, “We have neglected the fact … Read more

10 Years of One-Point Preaching

Ten years ago, I made a big change in my preaching approach, switching from multiple-point preaching to one-point preaching. I did so in June 2006 after reading the first couple chapters in Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones. It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years. In 2007, I wrote my … 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

Thoughts on General Conference 2016

The 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, met in Portland, Oregon, May 10-20. The top policy-making body of the UMC meets every four years. This year’s conference was made up of 864 delegates from around the world. The UMC is becoming more and more of a global church! Forty-two percent of General Conference … Read more

A Prayer for the 2016 General Conference of the UMC

The 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church takes place May 10-20, 2016 in Portland, Oregon. General Conference, which takes place every four years, is the top policy-making body in the UMC and is the only church entity that has authority to speak for the entire denomination. General Conference meets every four years to … 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

How I Set Up Facebook Lists

I’m not a fan of Facebook’s News Feed and Pages Feed, which have their own ways of delivering content to you. I prefer to see the content I want to see and I want to see it chronologically! So, I set up lists. To set up Friends Lists … Go to facebook.com/bookmarks/lists to set up … Read more

“Simplify”

Bill Hybels’ book, Simplify, offers “ten practices to unclutter your soul,” in the following titles … From exhausted to energized From overscheduled to organized From overwhelmed to in control From restless to fulfilled From wounded to whole From anxious to peaceful From isolated to connected From drifting to focused From stuck to moving on From … Read more