ChapterNext Launches “Congregational Wellness Survey”

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in Best Practices, Miscellanies, Success Stories | 0 comments

ChapterNext has developed a “Congregational Wellness Survey” to measure a congregation’s perception of its health. By measuring the vital systems of a congregation – including but not limited to worship, nurture, and  witness –  this tool allows the people in the pews to share their thoughts about the effectiveness of their congregation’s ministry. ChapterNext founder Sam Hamstra, Jr. and his associate Vanu Kantayya developed the “Congregational Wellness Survey” survey and have begun using it in the pastor search process.  The survey has...

Read More

Did we worship the Lord or just sing a few songs?

Posted by on Jul 17, 2013 in Miscellanies | 0 comments

Have you ever left a service and asked, “Did we worship the Lord or just sing a few songs? It’s a simple question, one built on a simple understanding of worship: to intentionally and directly declare God’s worth. In other words, we worship the Lord when we pray words like “You are great or good or faithful or loving or wonderful or (fill in the blank). The key words here are “You Are.” This may seem like a moot point to some but we realize its significance when we apply it to another love relationship: that between a husband and wife. If I were to describe the wonderful qualities...

Read More

The Prophet In Our Midst

Posted by on Jul 8, 2013 in Miscellanies | 2 comments

I was disappointed and confused after suffering an injury that not only splintered my back but shattered a dream that seemed to be the Lord’s will for my life. As a result, I wrestled with God’s will and questioned His sovereignty. But duty called and it was time to go to work. I would continue my conversation with God at a later time – or so I thought. Grabbing my crutches and my backpack, I hobbled to my classroom on the university campus where I teach. As I approached my classroom building, crutching as fast as I could, I noticed a man approaching me. He looked young enough...

Read More

Coincidence? I hope so.

Posted by on Jun 22, 2013 in Miscellanies | 0 comments

Coincidence?  I hope so. We now witness a countless number of predominantly white young professionals moving to and planting roots in urban areas.  We also witness a record number of church plants by Protestant, white, young professionals in urban areas. At the same time, we witness the movement of many upwardly mobile African Americans to the suburbs of those same urban areas and, ironically, record levels of poverty in the suburbs where hard times have hit people of all races.   In summary, “a great inversion is taking place as urban centers spring back to life and suburbs become the...

Read More

Strategies for Planning Multicultural Worship Services

Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 in Miscellanies | 0 comments

As a community seeking to embrace God’s mission of a church with representatives from every tribe and nation, how do we go about planning a worship service or liturgy which affirms our Triune God’s gift of diversity. As a pastor who once planted an intentionally multiethnic congregation and now as the Affiliate Professor of Worship and Church History at Northern Seminary, I have had the privilege of asking that question in a variety of settings with many individuals. Here are some tried and true strategies learned in the process. As is often the case with strategies for ministry, each one...

Read More

Pastors: Power Made Perfect In Weakness

Posted by on Jun 10, 2013 in Miscellanies | 0 comments

In just about every age Christ’s ministers have their crises – unpredictable in advance, devastating when the strike. Let me sweep swiftly through seven areas that specify today’s crisis of the ordained ministry. 1.    Criticism. In our immigrant congregations the pastor was the expert in all areas from pulpit to politics. In mid-twentieth century the pastoral ministry was a respected profession, like medicine and law. Today our people are critical – critical of us as pastors and people, theologians and preachers, activists and administrators. Who needs all this flak? 2.   ...

Read More