Discerning A Path For Renewal

By Carson Reed In my work with ACU’s Siburt Institute for Church Ministry, I have the honor of consulting with congregations all over the country. Church decline and church renewal remain vital and popular themes throughout countless conversations with churches of varying contexts, sizes, and flavors. So I constantly watch for resources to aid churches […]

Is There More to Church Than Live-streaming?

By Carson Reed In a time when so much is changing, the natural thing to do is to reach backward into something from the past. And the sweeping changes that the pandemic brings only heighten that impulse. In many churches, however, the reality of not going back to 2019 is becoming all the more clear […]

Faithful And Flexible

With the rise of the pandemic, much of what we knew and practiced as church leaders became either altered or obsolete. Corporate worship assemblies, educational curricula, small group ministries, youth and children programs, patterns of ministerial care, and more were suspended, overhauled, or even abandoned. Add to that upheaval the increased social unrest and past-due […]

Discerning a Path for Renewal

In my work with ACU’s Siburt Institute for Church Ministry, I have the honor of consulting with congregations all over the country. Church decline and church renewal remain vital and popular themes throughout countless conversations with churches of varying contexts, sizes, and flavors. So I constantly watch for resources to aid churches in this important […]

January 2020 E-news from the Siburt Institute

Discerning a Path for Renewal In an ongoing search for resources to aid churches in the work of renewal, I found a work from a British author that offers a simple and useful way to reflect on the practices and life of a congregation. Robert Warren, in his book, The Healthy Churches’ Handbook, offers seven […]

November 2019 E-news from the Siburt Institute

Renewal begins: Another congregation’s journey In my consulting work with congregations I have the remarkable opportunity to walk alongside all sorts of churches. More and more often, the ones I work with are churches that recognize they are getting smaller and older. Recently I have had multiple conversations with leaders in churches that are preparing […]

October 2019 e-news from the Siburt Institute

Realism and hope Recently I had the honor of consulting with a lively, growing, suburban congregation. Although no church is perfect, several things stood out about this church. One could argue that their growth comes because they are located in an area where houses are sprouting up out of the prairie like sunflowers. One could […]

July 2019 e-news from the Siburt Institute

JULY 2019 E-NEWS   What’s baptism got to do with leadership? Being a part of a tradition that practices believer’s baptism means that what I am about to say may sound a little odd, but here goes. I do not think that most of us take baptism seriously enough. Really. Of course, we want our children […]

June 2019 E-news from the Siburt Institute

JUNE 2019 E-NEWS   One Thing Never Changes! In a time when things are changing rapidly, the one thing that brings order in the chaos is the thing that does not change. The challenge for church leaders is that we can often mistake what that one thing is! Instinctively, we all resist change. No one […]

May 2019 E-news from the Siburt Institute

Three Dimensions of Leadership for Growing (and Dying) Churches! Last month, I offered a brief introduction to a wonderful book on leadership by Tod Bolsinger titled Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory.1 One significant feature of the Bolsinger’s book is his contribution to thinking about the sort of leadership needed in congregational contexts […]

March 2019 E-news from the Siburt Institute

Mission Evidences from the Field: What do Healthy Growing Churches Look Like? It’s no secret that many congregations are in decline. I can say more about that on another day. But what I have been asking for the past six months is, what do growing churches look like? More specifically, what are the characteristics of […]

February 2019 E-news from the Siburt Institute

Reflections on 50 Years of Ministry   [Actually, it is closer to 56 years of ministry, but 50 sounds much better – and who’s counting?] I was one of those guys who, from his mid-teens, knew what he wanted to do and be – at least in general terms. I wanted to be a preacher. […]

January 2019 E-news from the Siburt Institute

Preaching and Spiritual Vitality The phrase “to preach” often carries a negative connotation these days. “Don’t preach at me” is a plea to refrain from moralizing or condemning a person’s behavior. Even telling the truth can be seen as something different from the act of preaching in many settings. But that’s not all that makes […]

December 2018 E-news from the Siburt Institute

The Really Big ThingAs the year winds toward a close, I find myself musing about what really matters for leaders in congregations. I certainly know that, for most church leaders, a hundred items clamor for attention. Everything from a new health crisis for sister Maggie to a dilemma with a mission in the Congo to […]

November 2018 E-news from the Siburt Institute

NOVEMBER 2018 E-NEWS With more and more churches utilizing the Siburt Institute’s Church Health Assessment (CHA), our researchers have been able to identify emerging trends in a statistically reliable way. Now that 18 congregations have used the CHA to learn more about members’ perceptions and attitudes, what are the top two strengths and the top […]

October 2018 E-news from the Siburt Institute

OCTOBER 2018 E-NEWS Remembering Your Baptism This fall, I am on a small team of ministers doing interim preaching for a local congregation. For the series, we decided to preach Paul’s letter to the Romans – light stuff, right? Last Sunday, I was preaching and Romans 6 was my text. I began by recalling a […]

September 2018 E-news from the Siburt Institute

SEPTEMBER 2018 E-NEWS Church Leadership and the Reversal of Power To hold power or not to hold power; that is the question. Mediocre Shakespearean parodies aside, a significant struggle facing countless leaders is whether to strive toward acquiring and exercising power, or to seek to relinquish it. As leaders within our congregations and communities, do […]

August 2018 E-news from the Siburt Institute

AUGUST 2018 E-NEWS Believe or Belong: Which Comes First? Many of us grew up in churches that emphasized knowing and believing the Bible as the single most important thing to being on God’s good side. We are not alone! Indeed, many church traditions hold a legacy that honored knowledge and respected belief in the right […]

July 2018 E-news from the Siburt Institute

Thinking Globally for Renewal! One of the most interesting and challenging books of the summer for me is Wesley Granberg-Michaelson’s Future Faith: Ten Challenges Reshaping Christianity in the 21st Century.[1] Although Granberg-Michaelson writes for church leaders in North America, his view is the global church. And that is where both the interest and the challenge […]

June 2018 E-News from the Siburt Institute

The Way of Wise Leadership It’s June – one of my favorite times of the year! Abilene has not yet hit the full blistering heat of August, and our Doctor of Ministry students were here this month for classes. These men and women are usually mid-career ministers and leaders from across the nation. They arrive […]