July 2, 2014

July 2014 Editor’s Letter: Leading Change

Welcome summer! For many congregational leaders, the church’s program year has ended providing opportunities to catch our breaths, sort out and through things undone, and take some time off. For many of us, it is also a time for review and reflection and a time to think about changes for the coming program year.

Our July and August Vestry Papers articles all relate to change. Included are the experiences of churches of various sizes, including the tiny congregation found on the Penders and Saturna Islands in British Columbia as well as contributions from clergy and laity. And, as has become our practice, each article includes a recommended action your congregational leadership team might want to try.

Our articles this month include:

No Saints, No Heros, No Martyrs” by Chas Belknap shares the story of the small parish of Penders and Saturna Islands and how, over the course of a year, their leadership team has moved from being tired and anxious to enthusiastic about the way in which "the Holy Spirit is working through us and with us.”

When Christ Church in Pensacola began to think about their future, they engaged in a process of strategic thinking. Their goal was to identify their vision and their values, as well as some priorities for strategic action. Linda Buskirk shares their story – and the strategic solutions process – in “Vision for Impact, Not Just Change.”

July feels like the right time for Vestry Papers to share Ken Howard’s “Are You Leading a Zombie Parish?” This ‘tongue firmly in cheek’ piece is Ken’s way of slipping a serious issue past the defenses that often may keep us from some critical self evaluation.

As Christians, we are called to live incarnational lives, acting as Christ’s hands and feet in the world. In “Red Flags: Staff Dependent Churches,” Melissa Rau shares a phenomenon she’s observed in seemingly successful congregations that appears to lead to a decline in worship attendance.

At the end of each Vestry Papers article you’ll find a list of the resources mentioned in the article as well as additional information related to the topic. If you have a resource you’d like to share, please email me with the link or add it to the site using the Your Turn feature. If you’re a subscriber, click on the Make a Submission button. Not a subscriber? It’s easy – and free – just click here.

And, please remember to share this issue of Vestry Papers with others in your congregation, along with an invitation to subscribe to ECF Vital Practices and Vestry Papers. Subscriptions are free; visit ECFVP.org and click on the Subscribe tab on the upper right hand corner of this page. New subscribers are asked to fill out a short registration form to have Vestry Papers and ECF Vital Practices content delivered twice a month to your email inbox.