3 “Must Do” Things to Add to Your To-Do List

We’re all looking for the silver bullet, the magic formula, the secret sauce that is going to take our church to the next level in terms of health and growth, discipleship and evangelization. Of course, there is no substitute for hard work and sustained effort, and you need a healthy team of leaders to make […]

5 Signs of Healthy Parish Leadership

When it comes to building a healthy parish (and a healthy parish will be a growing parish) the Eucharist is the source and the summit of our life together. Beyond that are the habits of discipleship: prayer, giving, ministry, evangelization. These are a given for a church to even be a church. But from a […]

Growth Brings Its Own Problems

Our parish is healthy and growing, which is great. We love the energy, the excitement, the sense of strong team ties, good morale, successful efforts. But leading through a season of growth brings its own challenges and problems too. #1. Change That Brought Growth Might Not Sustain It In our church we experienced growth in […]

Lent 2015

The annual observance of Lent brings a two-fold theme of repentance from sin and selfishness, thereby renewing our baptismal commitment, as well as our annual preparation for the celebration of Easter. Traditionally the Church has taught us to turn with renewed discipline and dedication to the spiritual pillars of prayer, penance, and giving. Prayer The […]

Defying Common Wisdom and Standard Practice

At Nativity we often find ourselves defying common wisdom and standard practice, much to the ongoing astonishment of many colleagues and friends. We don’t do it just to be different, we do it because so much of what goes on in churchworld no longer works. But church-people keep doing it anyway, because, well, that’s what […]

Be a Leader Who Listens (or how I got talked into a message series on sex)

Last week we began a new message series, which is new for us in several ways because it is a message about sex. And if anything was clear to me about this series, from the time it was first proposed, probably a year ago, until the moment I stepped into the pulpit last weekend, I […]

Five Ways Churches Discourage Guests

Recently I came across an interesting poll by Thom Rainer (ThomRainer.com) regarding the experience of first time guests at church. More often than not their experience turns them off and sends them away, never to return again. Here are some of the standouts (the order is mine, given my level of irritation with each): 1. […]

Creating the Future

If you have never read any of Jim Collins’ books, you should take a look sometime and start with Good to Great. Collins writes insightfully and effectively about organizational health and leadership development. One of the things that he reflects on is the climate of uncertainty and overwhelming change brought on by technology, politics, and […]

5 Reasons Churches in Decline Don’t Do Anything About It

When we came to Nativity it was a church with declining numbers. And it was declining in a way that has become quite typical of churches of every style and denomination across the country (and elsewhere in the world). The kind of decline I am referring to is the slow and steady kind. Our parish […]

Smart and Healthy Parishes

Our senior leadership team just wrapped up two intense days of review and planning for our parish, looking ahead to 2015. We worked with our friend, Patrick Lencioni. Pat is author of more than 10 best selling books all about best practices in business and leadership development. If you haven’t read any of his stuff, […]