Seven habits of outwardly-focused churches

It was not a dramatic moment in time, but subtle—almost subtle to be noticed. The trend became evident first in mainline churches, with evangelicals following a few years later. The slow erosion became glaringly apparent after several years. The change of which I speak is the movement away from outwardly-focused ...
March 26, 2015   Thom Rainer

Restoring the fallen

Rumors were flying about a friend of mine. Even though married with children, my friend seemed to be spending an inordinate amount of time with a college-age girl. She had some personal issues and he evidently wanted to help her.  However, she was also fairly attractive. The time he spent talking ...
March 24, 2015   Bob Russell

Lyle E. Schaller (1923-2015): Intellectual Pillar of Leadership Network

This remembrance is written by Warren Bird of Leadership Network, who in 2012 edited a book on Schaller’s collective wisdom.
March 23, 2015   Ronald Keener

My friend ‘Gabe’ on Mennonites, Gays, and other pressing issues

As three major mainline Protestant denominations prepare to tackle the issue of gays and lesbians in church life at conventions this summer, one of the country's smallest and more evangelical religious bodies--the Mennonites--also finds itself confronting internal dissension over the issue as a historic merger looms next year.
March 20, 2015   Ronald Keener

4 young takeaways for old churches and vice versa

We can all learn from each other, that’s the stuff of real learning, you listen to someone else. What if we gathered leaders from very young churches and rather old ones in the same room—maybe over a nice cup of tea or a Grande, Iced, Sugar-Free, Vanilla Latte With Soy ...
March 20, 2015   Doug Lawrence

Millennials and the demise of print

As the president of an organization that has huge investments in both print and digital assets, I watch the trends related to the two closely. Current discussions focus on a few basic issues. Digital communication is pervasive and growing. Any metric will affirm that reality. Print as a form of ...
March 12, 2015   Thom Rainer

You tell me

As a leader, we often have individuals present us with problems to resolve or roadblocks to remove. We may be tempted to offer ideas immediately, but there is a better approach which can elevate engagement and drive increased commitment to our organization's mission.
March 12, 2015   Kent Evans

What's in a cover?

It’s been several years since I read a panel discussion with New York literary agents in Writers Digest, but the figures they listed are still relevant. One described a million books hitting the U.S. market annually, with three-fourths of them self-published. Although print-on-demand and other technology make it much more ...
March 11, 2015   Ken Walker

New book on The Crusades: Whether playing defense or offense matters (Part 2)

In Steve Weidenkopf’s new book, The Glory of the Crusades (Catholic Answers, 2014), he says, making a distinction between defensive and offensive military campaigns is important in understanding the Middle East today.
March 10, 2015   Ronald Keener

Standing by those who are persecuted

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran lost his job in early January. The mayor fired him because Cochran had self-published a book on biblical morality and shared it with some people at work. City officials received complaints about some passages that denounced homosexuality as sinful. Evangelical Christians are experiencing increased ...
March 10, 2015   Bob Russell

How to keep your body language from betraying your thoughts

Leadership Principle #58:  The leader who consciously manages his thought life will rarely be betrayed by his body language. “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword … it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart.”  – Heb 4:12 ...
March 09, 2015   Tom Harper

3 things your congregation is doing while you think they’re worshipping

It shouldn't come as a surprise that most people in our congregations are multitaskers, even when they are at church services. This could mean that for all our well intentioned plans for inspiring, transforming, and enlivening people's spiritual lives, we might only be advancing a vain hope.   Here are 3 ...
March 06, 2015   Doug Lawrence

New book: A more accurate view of The Crusades (Part 1)

The President (of the United States) raised quite a ruckus in sacred and secular circles when he referenced the Christian Crusades in the same breathe as the Islamic terror going on in the world during his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast.
March 02, 2015   Ronald Keener

Phil Miglioratti is “bounded” by prayer at

Phil Miglioratti likely would not want me to put his name and that of E.M. Bounds in the same sentence, but, there, I did it. Both are “prayer warriors” as the term is often used: Miglioratti as host of today and Bounds as the author of published works on ...
February 26, 2015   Ronald Keener

Six keys to success after building

I find great joy in hearing the stories of churches that had successful building programs. By “successful” I do not mean just the church adequately funded and completed the project. I’m talking about what happens afterwards. I mean that the church continues to have a momentum in ministry, outward focus, ...
February 26, 2015   Thom Rainer

The Four Deadly Sins of Emerging Church Leaders

Character is doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do, no matter the cost. That is the defining mark of a Christ-centered leader. Unfortunately, character is not required to be an effective leader. Character is what makes a leader worth following—and it’s what gives people ...
February 25, 2015   Will Mancini

How to express your love for God

I recently observed an unrestrained public display of affection by a couple who had just fallen in love. They were quite demonstrative, leaning on each other, fawning over each other, and frequently kissing each other. It made some onlookers feel uncomfortable. In the same gathering I noticed a couple who had been ...
February 24, 2015   Bob Russell

“Gabe” reflects on church growth and ‘Darwin Day’

The story, from IRD’s Mark Tooley: Are church vitality and growth a mystery? And is decline inevitable? Recently I was conversing with a United Methodist friend about a church we previously attended. It’s now in difficult financial straits, property has been sold, membership is down, and the minister is leaving ...
February 19, 2015   Ronald Keener

5 assets I really admire in a “rookie” preacher

Last week I visited my former 21 year ministry hood, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church—mentioned in Christianity Today as John Ortberg's church—so, as usual, I expected first class preaching and I wasn’t disappointed, but I was a little surprised.    Twenty-eight year old Abby McHugh was the speaker, and quite impressive! ...
February 19, 2015   Doug Lawrence

What’s in your library? 33 books on transformation and change

Churches can’t say they don’t have resources for effecting change. Below are 33 books that help you do just that. All have something helpful, but I have bulleted ones that have stirred my passion for change. They are listed in no particular order.
February 16, 2015   Ronald Keener

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