Posts Tagged ‘change’

Worship Bulletin

Paulo Brabo

Over the past three weeks, I have been a visitor to three different churches, and at each, I was struck by what their worship bulletin (program) told me about the congregation and its overall ministry.

Here are some questions to consider as you review your bulletin:

  • Does your bulletin look historic or modern?– Visiting a traditional and historic church, it was no surprise that their bulletin looked out of date. It looked like the church had not updated their bulletin design since the 1980’s. In contrast one church’s bulletin had a more recent design, with colors, that conveyed a sense of life in the church.
  • Does your bulletin have pictures and colors?– similar question, but a good one to consider as we increasingly live in a world defined by visual images.
  • Is your bulletin easy to read?-This is more than just the size of your font. Hopefully the layout and flow of your bulletin is easy to read by visitors who will not be familiar with the rituals of your worship.
  • Does your bulletin welcome visitors?- Certainly a welcome note is helpful, but does it help give instructions for people who are unfamiliar with when to stand, sit, sing, take communion, pray out loud, etc?
  • Is more than half of your bulletin about the news of the church?- Some news and announcements can be good, but often (more…)

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Pew Research Quiz Logo

Pew Research Quiz Logo

There is a lot of conversation in the business world about how to connect with Generation Y, aka the ‘Millennial Generation,’ as they grow and transition from youth into adulthood.

If you are not familiar with the Highlights of this group, here are a few:

  1. Currently largest generation in the USA (yes bigger than Boomers)
  2. More ethnically and racial diverse than most of USA population
  3. Less religious than most of USA population
  4. More educated than most of USA population
  5. Highly technology integrated and multi-taskers (more…)

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I am just returning back to work after a week of vacation, and while I was away, I read an article that discussed how, “There is a lack of accountability within philanthropy because the people who provide the resources aren’t sufficiently well-connected to the beneficiaries they are supposed to be funding. ”

In short, the article said that technology can:

  1. Help bridge the gap between donors who provide the money to sustain a mission and those who receive the service as a benefit. (more…)

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When you listen to the national news the biggest stories have been the economy and the lack of jobs for Americans. Some headlines list that the national unemployment rate is 8.2%, while others talk about the stock market and sales numbers.

Rev. George MacLeod

As I was listening to a similar report this past weekend, I stopped to reflect about how local churches can offer assistance or help to people who are struggling to find work. In my thoughts, I remembered reading a story about a pastor in Scotland who was named George MacLeod.

Rev. MacLeod was best known for founding the Iona Community in Scotland, but before this time, he was  a pastor at the Old Govan Parish Church in Glasgow.  He served there during the 1930’s (Great Depression), as the Glasgow ship building industry started to decline, and he was struck by the amount of poverty around him.

As a pastor, he decided that it was time for his church to make a difference in his community, and with other church and civic leaders,   Rev. MacLeod developed several work programs. (more…)

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In the past 5 years, I have heard hundreds of church leaders talk about “the need to change,” but rarely do they offer a process or method to institute change.  Rather, to be serious about shifting an organization, leaders need to help their church take action by creating solutions and steps to achieve change.

Poster of the word Change


Last year I attended a social organizing meeting here in Indianapolis, that was sponsored by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.  The goal of the meeting was to encourage local neighborhood leaders to enact change in their community, and specifically to help plant more trees in neighborhoods.

In the presentation, I was struck as the leader talked about leading an organization, or a community, to enact change through a 3 step process.

The first step, she said, was that you had to Challenge the status quo, by identifying the problem and showing stats or information that leads people to share the same perspective. In a church, this may be the need to update the worship style, renovate the nursery, or create new programing or small groups.

Second, leaders then need to address the Culture of the organization, which creates the problem and/or prevents change from occurring. In a church, this may be the need to change the leadership structure, identify other leaders, or create ways to develop future church leaders and how decisions are made.

Third, leaders need to build consensus and achieve Commitment from the organization to support the change that is taking place.  In a church, this may be the commitment of members to support a new ministry, even though it may take months or a year to fully develop.


Change is certainly hard in any situation, but I think the speaker was right to identify the need to also address the culture of an organization and receive a commitment from members. Otherwise, it is easy to find prevent change, lay blame, or revert back to former practices.

Change happens everyday, and it is great that more and more churches are beginning to identify the need to adapt.  I hope this frame of reference is helpful, and if you are a church leader, I encourage you to step back from the single issue you are trying to change, in order to see the larger steps that you need to take.  By Challenging, addressing Culture, and creating Commitment, you will help your church to really move beyond talking about change.

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