Phil Wood / With over 30 years of ministry experience, Phil Wood pastors Fellowship Church of Carol Stream and is the director of Urban Youth Ministry, an outreach to at-risk youth in the Chicago area.

Cure For the Common Church Book Review

Cure for the Common Church: God’s Plan to Restore Church Health. Bob Whitesel. Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2012. 175 pages. Operating off the premise that the common church is sick and in need of healing, Professor Bob Whitesel offers practical advice for restoring church health in Cure for the Common ...
July 15, 2014   Phil Wood

Boy Scout Troops and the openly gay: Should the church flee or fight?

Protestants, by nature, tend to be runners. Especially American Protestants. Ever since both the Reformation and the Pilgrims' journey to the new world, our pattern is either to fight then flee or flee to avoid the fight. The common denominator is the flee component. Are Christians who operate off deeply ...
February 12, 2014   Phil Wood

Keeping the church building program a stepping stone and not a stumbling block

Pastor Mike was the launch pastor of an exploding congregation. What began as an unorganized study grew to over 1,000 under his leadership. During the same time, a large plot was purchased and the church embarked upon a multi-million dollar building program. By the tenth anniversary the church family was ...
February 05, 2014   Phil Wood

Turning critics into friends and allowing friends to be critics

Jack was a hometown hero. He was the P.K. of a well-loved P., he hurled his team to a public league championship, and he was genuinely a nice guy. After college, he joined the staff of one of the hottest churches around and proved to be a producer. When he ...
January 14, 2014   Phil Wood

Due process: Six core components for resolving church conflict

“The way I test myself,” explained the pastor-turned-life-coach, “is how I feel deep inside when I see one of them. If I want to walk up and say ‘hello,’ I know I am healed. But if I want to run and hide, I know there is more work to be ...
December 10, 2013   Phil Wood

Compassion fatigue and why apparent ingratitude may be part of the healing process

Impermanent photos: The bane of Polaroid has become the boon of Snapchat. Even if they quickly fade, however, few people appreciate pictures taken at their lowest moment or want to be reminded of ugly scenes from their past. Unfortunately, genuine ministry can sometimes get pretty dirty and ugly. As your ...
November 19, 2013   Phil Wood

Leadership development and the protection of those under your care

In the sports world, it’s called the SI cover jinx or the Madden curse. Utilizing actual empirical evidence, there is a documented trail of stars who stumbled after being prominently featured. In the ecclesiastical King James version world it is called, “Lay hands on no man suddenly.” In plain terms, ...
November 12, 2013   Phil Wood

Exploring the laws that determine your church's impact

About a year or so into our church plant, a building relocation necessitated a Sunday morning commute. To get to worship I traversed several suburbs, passing a number of other churches along the way. One church, in particular, became my weekly bellwether. They had an earlier service and I learned ...
October 31, 2013   Phil Wood

Finding a strategy for pleasing both saint and seeker

Sitting across the booth at the Steak and Shake was a broken man. As a bright young church planter, he launched with over 200 committed people, a full staff, and the guarantee of a year’s salary. The sending church, barely 10 miles away, had broad shoulders and a generous heart. ...
October 22, 2013   Phil Wood

"The great pew debate": Factors in choosing sanctuary seating

Deemed important enough to be in today’s front section of the Wall Street Journal, author Jennifer Levitz dubs it “The Great Pew Debate.” I would suggest, however, that it is only the great debate when churches are asking the wrong questions. For too many local churches, it is as important ...
October 08, 2013   Phil Wood

How do you receive sheep that wander over from other folds?

Looking more like a concoction prepared for your enemy, the starting packet of “Friendship Bread” is a zip lock bag full of a gooey, science-project-like substance. A cross between bacterial growth and fungi, the baggie is the yeast starter for sourdough bread and is passed around churches with the dynamics ...
October 01, 2013   Phil Wood

Knowing where to draw the line when establishing youth group priorities

 “If you don’t like it, just come home!” my dear Momma said, as I walked out the tarmac to the plane. That was probably the last thing this scared, about-to-be-college-freshman needed to hear. Though I’m sure that all my dear mother wanted was to spare me from being unhappy, the ...
September 24, 2013   Phil Wood

Using direct mail to launch or build your congregation

Like humans, on the same day one church is dying there is another congregation giving birth. The principle of natural life-cycles holds true for people, businesses, and churches. No one cheats death and sometimes delaying it is not always very pretty.No matter how many advances in medicine are being made, ...
September 19, 2013   Phil Wood

One tool for freshening your preaching and simplifying your planning

For years, our church’s worship leaders lamented that they could do a better job of planning the service if I could give them the sermon text and theme further in advance. My typical response was, “What does it matter? You sing the same five worship songs no matter how much ...
September 17, 2013   Phil Wood

Ministerial lessons learned from the trenches of 9/11

Nearly anyone, 20 and older, can remember vivid details of that fateful day in September, 2001. Nearly any minister that was serving back then remembers feeling out of his league. There is a current generation of pastors who knew decades of sunny days. During much of their ministry, growth was ...
September 10, 2013   Phil Wood

Why the missional ministry must be attractional

In the 1850’s, Dwight L. Moody was a young man who found success in business. In one year he made over $5,000 and felt the only Chicago merchant that he could not best was Marshall Field.His achievements came from old fashioned hard work. Rather than waiting inside the store for ...
September 03, 2013   Phil Wood

Keeping the pulpit from speaking louder than the sermon

As my brother was busy gazing at his bride-to-be and trying to remember his one line, I -- as the best man -- had plenty of time to examine the accoutrements around the altar. The church was of Eastern European tradition and just as the language was foreign, the sanctuary ...
August 15, 2013   Phil Wood

What best business practices indicate about the direction of the church

There was a time that culture followed the church. It has been several centuries, but as a patron of the arts, the music introduced on Sunday would dominate the top 40 chart in society. Today, however, the church stays just a few steps behind, often mimicking instead of initiating.The same ...
August 01, 2013   Phil Wood

Location, Location, Location: Choosing where to do church to have the greatest impact

Hiking along the Appalachian Trail, picturesque views of little villages and hamlets scattered in the valleys below become almost commonplace. From the vista of the summit, church buildings and steeples not only draw your attention as a main focal point, but often appear as the geographical center and heart of ...
July 09, 2013   Phil Wood

Implementing change without creating unnecessary pain

Can you imagine a radio station that randomly alternated between a jazz number, a country and western ballad, and heavy metal, followed by opera? According to Rick Warren, no one would keep listening.Churches and pastors can sometimes look and sound like a schizophrenic radio station, not exactly sure of either ...
July 02, 2013   Phil Wood

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