Sabbatical and Jubilee in Your Congregation

Year of JubileeThe Key to the Next Generation of Your Congregation

[See all articles in this series HERE.]

In the 25th chapter of the Old Testament book of Leviticus the concept of a sabbatical year and a year of jubilee are presented. Without going into deep biblical interpretation, let me simply overview the concept.

For six years the land is farmed. During the seventh year it is not. It is a year of sabbatical. For seven sets of seven years the land is farmed and a sabbatical taken.  The 50th year is a year of jubilee. It is like starting over.

This is the basic concept. Biblical scholars and theologians can educate and entertain us with much more in-depth understandings of what Leviticus 25 says.

My purpose here is to draw from this brief overview what I believe is an excellent comparison to the pattern of the life cycle of congregations. It is a pattern congregations need to understand and follow. The amazing thing is that it seems to fit what might be close to an ideal pattern for congregations.

Continue reading "Sabbatical and Jubilee in Your Congregation" »

Insight 295: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Developing Staff as a Team

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform have a staff that has been developed as a team. They seek the overall fulfillment of God’s vision as more important than their program, ministry, or activity. They see the process of disciplemaking as a higher value than the success of their area of staff leadership, while at the same time the two are not mutually exclusive.

They support one another in prayer, with words, and in the actions they take. They understand triangulation and do not intentionally create triangles of relationships that seek to make a fellow/sister staff person a victim, but a hero.

Insight 294: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Ministering with People by Name or It Is Not Missional

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform know the people with whom they are ministering by name and needs rather than number. They seek to personally connect with people and to get to know them in-depth. They see every person as a person of worth created in the image of God to live and to love.

They understand being missional in nature, reaching out beyond themselves is not a project to fulfill, or a program to make successful. It is about a holistic ministry to and a depth of care for people by name and personality. All people are persons of worth, and should be valued as individuals and not numbers.

Insight 293: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Redefining What is Impossible

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform redefine what is impossible. While realistic and not just wildly fantasizing, they are not bounded by only what they can see. Their sight becomes what God can see in them. They are well aware that the only true way to redefine the impossible is to realize that only God can redefine the impossible in them.

They are willing to brainstorm the impossible rather than shutting down the conversation. They are willing to pray for the impossible. They are willing to recognize the capacity to lead the impossible in various people connected with their congregation.

The Ranks of Ex-Pastors Grow as Some Join ‘Nones’ and ‘Dones’ []

Walking Up RoadLast week on the Thursday Dialogue of the FaithSoaring Churches Learning Community, we were privileged to have a conversation with Greg Atkinson of Baptist News Global picked up on that dialogue and posted today this story: The Ranks of Ex--Pastors Grow as some Join ‘Nones’ and ‘Dones’

Between the notoriously long hours, the unrealistic expectations and the severe stress on health and family, church ministry often becomes too much for many — in fact most — ministers to handle.

For some it results in being fired, quitting or trudging through a miserable life.

“Some pastors are just absolutely crushed,” said Greg Atkinson, executive director of, an online resource for clergy experiencing the spiritual, mental and physical symptoms of burnout while in, or out, of ministry. is aimed at ministers experiencing a variety of stressed-out situations. It offers tools to prevent burnout and to bring about its end. It clients are former pastors and those about to abandon their callings.

Continue reading HERE.

Insight 292: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Listening to the Still Small Voice of God

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform listen for the “still small voice” of God [1 Kings 19:12 KJV] to discern their next steps in the vision fulfillment for their fellowship. Congregations seeking a short-term fix that fits their agenda and preferred future do not hear God’s “still small voice”. It may take an earthquake, a strong wind, or a fire to get their attention.

Congregations seeking to transform are sensitive to the “sound of a gentle blowing”. [1 Kings 19:12 NASB] They are always seeking to discern how God is speaking, and what God might be imparting to the congregation.

Insight 291: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Declaring Mission and Casting Vision

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform have a pastor and staff willing to declare mission and cast vision. Mission is the eternal, never changing, generic, and spiritual understanding of the long-term focus of the congregation in the spirit of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

Vision is the empowering, ten years of less, specific, and spiritual understanding of the mid-term transition and change strategy of a congregation in the direction of God’s call upon them.

Great pastor and staff leadership is wise enough to know they can declare a statement of mission, but must cast and then craft a visionary leadership movement.

Insight 290: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Compelling Pastoral Leadership

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform have compelling pastoral leadership. It is obvious the pastor is not the key to transition and change in congregations, but a pastor is one of at least five keys. The others are lay leadership that is compelling, a vision that is empowering, resources to make the transitions and changes, and God’s timing that makes this the right season for transition and change.

If any of the five keys are missing then the transformation process will not succeed. It can be said that without compelling pastoral leadership the congregation cannot move forward and sustain that movement.

Insight 289: Become a FaithSoaring Church By A Clear Focus on Assimilation

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform have a clear focus on assimilation. They have a team of people whose responsibility it is to help each guest, each new attendee, and each new member to fully assimilate into the life and ministry of the congregation. They realize that with guests they have three days to make that connection, with regular attendees they have three weeks, and with new members they have three months.

They get to know people personally, and what they are looking for about church so that the focus is on the person, household and/or family, and not on the congregation.

Insight 288: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Having Selective Deafness

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform practice the art of selective deafness. This is the pattern of not listening to people who tell them that what they are trying to do is impossible. They believe the impossible is possible if they focus on God’s empowering vision for their congregation. Their definition of the impossible is not about unrealistic fantasies, but things that are beyond their current grasp and direct sight.

This attitude gives these congregations the inspiration and confidence to try things that others will not try. That does not mean that everything they try will be successful. But, many are successful.

Focus Must Be on Behavior, Not Age, in Shaping Relevant Ministry []

Tom BandyFrom time-to-time Baptist News Global picks up on the Thursday Dialogue of the FaithSoaring Churches Learning Community. Last week when Tom Bandy was our guest resource person and focused on his newest book--Spiritual Leadership:Why Leaders Lead and Who Seekers Follow--they posted an article entitled Focus Must Be on Behavior, Not Age, in Shaping Relevant Ministry. Click HERE to read this story.

Here is an excerpt: 

While the variety of information about social groups has grown much more complicated in Spiritual Leadershiprecent years, it is available to church leaders and congregations.

“The good news is you can research this” in order to reposition or reconfigure a church “to reach people you have never reached before,” Bandy said.

Digital comparisons can be made between the groups around, and inside, a congregation, he said.

Those who take that challenge will learn about the behaviors and attitudes unique to different lifestyle segments, Bandy said. Demographers to date have identified 71 such groups, compared to 40 that were known a decade ago.