Five Meeting Tips for New Leaders

by Kanuga on October 9, 2015

Walking into your first meeting as a new leader of a group can be unnerving. You may have known the members for years as part of your church community, but this new situation may feel like you are entering a room full of strangers. According to Kanuga Conference & Retreat Center’s teambuilding expert Christine Murawski, there are five principles to consider to help your first meeting go smoothly.

Be Authentic

You have been called to serve in this leadership role, and your true self is what is needed. Behave otherwise and people will notice. 

“There are times when a new leader knows the previous leader and his or her personality style. It’s tempting to try to match their approach,” said Murawski. “However, the key to your success is to relax and be your authentic self. Your team will acknowledge your leadership differences, pick up on your confidence and will want to follow.”


Get ready for your meeting well in advance by creating an agenda. This exercise helps you set clear goals and envision how the meeting will go. Plus, having an agenda allows you to be organized and confident during your meeting. Allow extra time in your agenda for participants’ thoughts or extra topics your team may believe are important to bring up. Share your agenda with the group at the beginning of the session. Doing so sends the message that you respect their time and desire their input. 

Be Flexible

Continue reading...

Permalink  |  0 Comments Leadership

Fellowship and Food

by Richelle Thompson on October 8, 2015

Peanut butter and jelly. Peter and Paul. Kardashians and reality TV. Some things just go together.

And so it is for fellowship and food. For many churches (and frankly, most social gatherings), food and fellowship are natural companions. And even as someone who has struggled with weight, I think this is (mostly) fine. Food is a lubricant of sorts, giving people something to do, something to talk about as a way to start building relationships. Instead of weather talk, the conversation might turn to the BBQ. This BBQ is amazing. Oh, you like BBQ? You should try Eli’s. And the conversation is off and running.   

This isn’t shallow. It’s a start. Sure, we can tsk, tsk, and ask why people aren’t using their fellowship time to talk about the joy of the resurrection or take an exegetical moment with transfiguration. But most relationships don’t start that way. They start casually, with people sorting and finding common ground. Then they can move into deep and abiding conversations, exploring God’s Word together.   

Continue reading...

Permalink  |  0 Comments Christian Formation, Hospitality

October 2015 Editor’s Letter: Rethinking Stewardship

by Nancy Davidge on October 7, 2015

October 2015 Editor’s Letter: Rethinking Stewardship

What can we learn from the experiences of others? This issue of Vestry Papers features articles that share ways three congregations are overcoming challenges related to annual giving as well as offering an antidote for the anxiety that can arise during giving campaigns:

Continue reading...

Permalink  |  0 Comments Stewardship

Living Within Our Giving

by Greg Syler on October 7, 2015

In my head I really believe this, and I’ve long thought it’s absolutely fundamental to effective ministry. I trace the origin of the concept back to my time in the Diocese of Chicago’s intentional curacy program, and my introduction to the thinking – and the person – of Kennon Callahan, author of The Twelve Keys of an Effective Church, among other volumes. I think Callahan said this, or at least he planted the seeds in my mind and, like I said, it seems very, very basic to me. 

But then I attend meetings with clergy and diocesan leaders and it seems that I’m the only one who thinks this. And then I start to think that I might be wrong or misguided. But, still, I can’t shake it from my mind. And, still, I think it’s a downright bedrock truth of effective ministry.

The concept is simple, or at least I think so: Congregations need to fit their basic expenses into their baseline – let’s call it pledge and plate – giving. That is, congregations need to live within what people give.

The point is about making the institution called ‘church’ speak clearly the message of Christian discipleship. A congregation’s baseline giving, most notably plate and pledge giving, is perhaps the most significant numerical indicator of how well that congregation is engaging the work of Christian ministry. Pledge and plate giving is the fruit, so to speak, of everything a church does which is readily identifiable as Christian ministry: worship, formation, preaching, pastoral care, outreach, engaging the neighborhood – all of these streams of activities flow back into whether and how well the local congregation is a vibrant missionary center. And all of those streams of activities reflect themselves in certain numbers, financial giving among them.

Continue reading...

Permalink  |  0 Comments Finance, Vision & Planning

Communication, Communication

by Tom Ehrich on October 6, 2015

Want some advice on how to grow your church? 

Hire a communications director.

Yes, you heard that right. A communications director. Not an additional pastor, not an education director or another musician. But a professional communicator to craft an effective narrative, develop a marketing campaign, and use latest digital technology to push your message out to people you don't know yet,

Let me unpack that job outline. First, a professional -- someone who has training and experience in using digital technology, email campaigns, social media campaigns, push marketing, inbound marketing, and blogging. Not someone wedded to paper, and not someone whose primary focus is on internal communications. If you keep talking only to yourselves, your church will die.

Second, someone who can craft a narrative. That means persuasive content that will help people understand who you are, what you are about, what you value, the difference you hope to make in the world, and the benefits they will find in engaging with you. We are way beyond posting acolyte schedules and promoting parish suppers. Infinitely beyond internal budget discussions.

Third, it's about marketing. Yes, that is a term from commerce. Get over it. Marketing simply means going into the marketplace in a way that touches other lives. Good marketing, especially for a faith community, is grounded in honesty and transparency, and it seeks to draw people closer to you and what you value. All not-for-profits do marketing. Churches do marketing, too. They just haven't been doing it well. A sign out front is marketing, but it isn't enough. A web site is marketing, but it's too passive.

Continue reading...

Permalink  |  0 Comments Communications, Vision & Planning

Site by Bandwidth Productions