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March 2017
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Forget Millennials. Embrace Perennials!

Perennial People[Picture from Gina Pell's post at Medium.com]

How often do you hear people in your congregation say one of more of the following things?

We’ve just got to reach some young adult families with children. I walk down the preschool hall every week and I’m embarrassed with how few children I see.

We do not seem to be able to connect with the Millennials, and we must find a way.

I am in a panic. We lost our youth minister again. We better find someone quick, or we will lose all the teenagers and their parents, and will face starting over again.

We are declining in membership and attendance. We have to reach younger people or we will close.

My children and grandchildren just left our church to pursue a more contemporary church with more exciting ministry for children and youth.

This group known as Millennials do not seem to be interested in congregations with the quality of music and preaching we have. They want more of a rock concert with no rules and no discipline.

Congregations are obsessed with the birth generation known as Millennials, and are not quite sure how to connect with them. I wonder, however, if they truly understand Millennials, have poor stereotypes about them, and actually need to look at a different target group of people who may be right in their midst.

To read the full article,  Download Forget Millennials Embrace Perennials


Captured By Vision Insight 064 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 064: Effective visionary leadership is supported by empowering management that is captured by God’s empowering vision for the congregation.

Management can be empowering and not controlling. For many congregations that is an unfamiliar concept. They primarily experience management as controlling.

It is a thing of great beauty when management people, administrative committees, or governance groups are captured by the vision of the congregation, and see the great contribution they can make to empowering fulfillment of that vision.

Unfortunately, management leaders in too many congregations see it as their responsibility to control rather than empower the congregation. In its most radical form this control can be demonic. Where management people may be partially right is when visionary leadership engages in sloppy management practices.

God’s empowering vision seeks to empower congregations to be all they can be in the midst of God’s Kingdom. Satan seeks to control congregations and keep them from doing well and being people of Good News.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it.


Captured By Vision Insight 063 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 063: Vision fulfillment is about empowerment over control, relationships over programs, and hope over heritage.

Empowerment, relationships, and hope are the currency of vision. Control, complicated administration and decision-making, over programming, and too high a view of the congregation’s heritage is the currency of management. Congregations are often over managed by controlling leaders, and under led by fuzzy visionary leadership.

Too often a management approach seeks to move a congregation merely from negative to neutral. Management is concerned about fixing what is wrong rather than discovering and soaring with what is right and good.

The classic—and overused—statement true of management in many congregations is, “We’ve never done it that way before.” The heritage culture has infected many congregations. God’s empowering vision is about hope that builds on the heritage rather than the hope that heritage will one day return the congregation to dominance.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it.


Yes, Virginia, We Need Baptist Associations

300 Years of AssociationsOr, Other Forms of Local Denominational Organizations

My denominational tradition—Baptist—and specifically my denominational tribe of heritage—Southern Baptists—has three dimensions of denominational structure. They are known as associations, state (or regional) conventions, and national agencies and institutions.

Associations are the local entity which I categorize generically as dynamic spiritual and fellowship organisms. State conventions and the national expressions are organizations.

In historic order associations came first. The initial association of Baptists in my tradition was the Philadelphia Baptist Association established in 1707. The first association in the South that was ultimately part of my tribe was the Charleston (SC) Baptist Association established in 1751.

The first state convention in my tribe was the South Carolina Baptist Convention established in 1821. Finally, the Southern Baptist Convention came into existence in 1845. These two entities did not replace local associations, but carried forward the work of Southern Baptists from a different dimension and with somewhat different foci.

With the transformation of denominations in the past 40 years, it is a legitimate question to raise as to whether all three entities of my tribe’s denominational structure are still essential and needed. It is certainly a question discussed in formal and informal settings, and acted on by congregations in an autonomous denominational movement such as Southern Baptists.

With significant transition and changes in how congregations and individuals financially support the three dimensions of denominational life among Southern Baptists, one observation can be made without fear of successful contradiction. Southern Baptists are unwilling to financially support all three dimensions of denominational life unless they see added value expressed by each for the fulfillment of the mission of God.

If three dimensions of denominational life are not sustainable, and one needs to disappear, which one is that?

To read the full article, Download Yes Virginia We Need Baptist Associations


Captured By Vision Insight 062 to Empower Your Congregation

Captured By Vision Final Cover  01.17.17Vision Insight 062: Management is only fully happy when it is driving the congregational vehicle. When not driving, it is trying to drive.

Management has an overwhelming desire to be in charge. Management believes congregations need more of what it can offer. Management feels leaders are not accountable, and are not leading.

Even if a congregation is being well led, management people still feel leaders are not paying attention to all the right things. They continue to urge greater efficiencies, and they are partially right. But they are not sufficiently right that their concerns should always be addressed as a priority.

In the patterns of congregational life developed over generations, there are times when management must lead because there is no vision, or there are insufficient leaders to empower the vision. When this happens the driving actions of management are meant to be temporary to provide a respite for visionary leaders to renew their strength and soar with faith like eagles. (See Isaiah 40:28-31.)

But management does not want to give up the driver’s seat to a new, emerging sense of God’s empowering vision for the congregation. So, they may oppose the emerging vision, saying it is risky and out of character for the congregation.

The book of 101 insight--Captured By Vision--is now live on Amazon.com. Click HERE to see and purchase it.