December 2019—Volume 29, Number 12 Copyright @ 2019 by Dana Horrell Writing can help church leaders in their efforts to reach out to the community. Typically seen as a solitary activity, writing may seem like the opposite of active engagement. Yet writing creates a space for reflection that could benefit even the most hands-on activist. The journal, the mission statement, the memo of understanding, and the program history can help teams in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of ...
Andrea, music director at The Blue Note Church, straps in and prepares to select song ideas for the worship team to consider as it prepares for Sunday. She decides to pick some of her favorites that match the week’s theme. Letting out a big sigh and worried that her congregation might be stuck in a musical rut, she grabs her satchel and heads to the meeting.
For church leaders seeking to better understand their congregation, it pays to listen. Everyone knows the value of one-on-one conversations, yet it might not always be the most efficient use of time for a busy leader. In these situations a focus group can help. Simple in design, it honors the experience of congregants in the stories they tell, the questions they ask, and the concerns they express.
Team talk can build a strong ministry team. Of course, some may not think of conversation as an important task, viewing it as getting in the way of work and slowing it down. On the contrary, conversation plays an important role in the life of a team and must not be ignored. Team talk builds group durability and sustains effort. Talking about the work helps to reinforce the reasons for doing what we are doing.
Vital congregations reach out to strengthen the communities where they are located. Different denominations give different names for this ministry, including mission and outreach, home missions, and social ministry. But where do congregations get the strength for mission? How do they retain that strength in the midst of providing food and clothing, mentoring individuals, or advocating community change? How do they keep from burning out? They do it by building capacity.
"Churches need to be more innovative. Clearly, the old way of doing things is not working, as demographic studies will show." — Susan Page Townsley
"As the Spotlight editor, I hear about individuals and church groups doing amazing things every day."— Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane
“How often, making music, we have found a new dimension in the world of sound, as worship moved us to a more profound Alleluia!” The worship band represents a way of discovering “a new dimension” in sacred music, yet that music must be carefully shaped and the band well managed. Managing a band, and forming one in the first place, is a piece of work. Just as the church organ requires regular maintenance and the choir and soloist require ongoing rehearsal, a worship band has to come from ...
"In the midst of an occupation by a repressive foreign power, where religious authorities were collaborators, where the economic system was unjust and income inequality extreme, where women and many others were harshly discriminated against, in the midst of all this, Jesus preached that the kingdom of God is at hand." — Charlie Kuchenbrod
"What if legacy thinking guided all our church decisions?" — Rev. Jonathan New