Summer Projects

Here at Nativity, we’re currently immersed in one of our sacred summer rituals: housecleaning and reorganization. Over the years, we have worked to reduce the amount of storage onsite and move seasonal and long term storage off site. Each summer, we unpack these areas, reassess their contents, and get rid of anything that is outdated, […]

3 Steps to a Healthy Church Culture

Culture is the blend of beliefs, customs, values, and vision as demonstrated in behavior and direction. Culture is, quite literally, who your church is. Most every church leader I know wants to shape a compelling culture that is, among other things, welcoming, accessible, attractive, inviting, engaging. At least, that’s what they say. But, it isn’t […]

Announcing Our 50th Anniversary

Life magazine famously named 1968 “the year that changed history.” Certainly the multiplication of historic events that year earn it a noted place in the history books. And, among the events of special recognition was the establishment of our parish. Back then many suburban parishes in this country were bursting at the seams and North […]

Our Parishes Need to Invest In Technology

As Carey Nieuwhof has pointed out in his excellent blog post, one often overlooked factor in the steady decline of church attendance has been the Church’s resistance to follow the culture into the technological era. We are living in a time when technology is an ever present mainstay in people’s lives, yet churchworld seems hesitant […]

3 Ways Missions Can Help Your Parish Grow Deeper and Wider

At this time of the year, we see lots of people in their brown missions shirts at Nativity, many serving here in our city of Baltimore. Others go further afield. Their send-off Mass a few weeks ago offered an impressive sight: nearly 100 missionaries serving in Haiti, Kenya, and West Virginia. Relief work is sometimes […]

Vision: 3 Steps to Making It Stick

Painting a clear and compelling vision is key to any renewal. If you get your vision right, you will empower and equip your advocates, educate your bystanders and disarm your critics. Vision helps you start, maintain and continuously expand the growth of your parish. It helps you overcome supposedly insurmountable obstacles and will get you […]

4 Steps to Use Criticism Well

In any field of leadership, people will second-guess and criticize you. Criticism is just part of leadership and according to Aristotle, the only way to avoid criticism is “say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” So, while you cannot avoid criticism, you can minimize it by leading thoughtfully and even use it to your own benefit. […]

How Welcoming Is Your Church?

Asked why they don’t attend church, the most common response unchurched people give is simply: “Because I don’t feel welcome.” Unfortunately, churches can be very unwelcoming and not even realize it. Sometimes dozens of little details church people don’t even see subtly communicate to the unchurched that they don’t belong. At Nativity, we have worked […]

Being a Growing Church

Around here we like to talk about our “Rally Cry” or what our friend Patrick Lencioni calls “the thing that must be done now.” This time last year it was obviously finishing the new church building (which we did, ahead of schedule, under budget, and with no debt). Next, it was our annual signature event, […]

TBT: Gossip It Can Poison Your Staff and Stunt Church Growth

It doesn’t matter what the circumstance or work environment – gossip is a challenge we all face at one time or another. As a Pastor or staff leader, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is managing and mentoring your staff.  You’ll often be involved in things that will take you out of your comfort […]