10 episodes

Leading Ideas Talks brings to the table cutting-edge leaders on subjects you care about — navigating change, reaching younger people, financing your ministry, communicating effectively — to help you be the leader God is calling you to be.

Leading Ideas Talks Lewis Center for Church Leadership

    • Christianity

Leading Ideas Talks brings to the table cutting-edge leaders on subjects you care about — navigating change, reaching younger people, financing your ministry, communicating effectively — to help you be the leader God is calling you to be.

    Episode 48: “Congregational Renewal Begins with Breakthrough Prayer” by Sue Nilson Kibbey

    Episode 48: “Congregational Renewal Begins with Breakthrough Prayer” by Sue Nilson Kibbey

    Looking for ways to re-energize you congregation? In this episode we speak with church renewal expert Sue Nilson Kibbey about the central role of breakthrough prayer in helping a congregation shift the focus of its gaze up and out, rather than down and in.

    Transcript
    Announcer: Leading Ideas Talks is brought to you by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Subscribe free to our weekly newsletter at churchleadership.com/leadingideas.
    Leading Ideas Talks is also brought to you by Discovering God’s Future for Your Church. This turn-key video tool kit helps your congregation discern and implement God’s vision for your church’s next faithful steps. Discovering God’s Future for Your Church is available on download and DVD at churchleadership.com/shop.

    Looking for ways to re-energize you congregation? In this episode we speak with church renewal expert Sue Nilson Kibbey about the central role of breakthrough prayer in helping a congregation shift the focus of its gaze up and out, rather than down and in.
    Ann Michel: I’m Ann Michel, associate director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership and I’m the editor of Leading Ideas e-newsletter. I’m so pleased today to be the host of this episode of Leading Ideas Talks podcast, speaking today with Sue Nilson Kibbey. Sue is the director of the Missional Church Consultation Initiative for the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. She served many years at Ginghamsburg UMC in Tipp City, Ohio, which is one of the great turnaround churches of our times. She’s worked with more than 70 congregations to help them achieve more fruitful ministry. And Sue is also the author of several books, most recently Ultimate Reliance. So, Sue, welcome. It’s good to be talking to you today.
    Sue Nilson Kibbey: Well thank you so much. It’s an honor.
    Ann Michel: I want to turn right away to the central premise of your most recent book, Ultimate Reliance, and that is that congregational prayer needs to be at the heart of congregational renewal. So, I just wanted to give you an opportunity speak to that.
    Sue Nilson Kibbey: Well, when we began the Missional Church Consultation Initiative, or MCCI as we call it for short, it was the most challenging appointment as a United Methodist clergy that I had every received thus far. And it still continues to be today. And the challenge of our bishop in West Ohio at that time, or his dream was, that we would create a coaching, training, resourcing initiative to help good churches, with clergy who wanted to lead their churches forward, with laity who wanted to see their churches move forward, but who were stuck or maybe starting decline. That this would be a resourcing initiative that would be the wind beneath their wings to help them move forward into their next season of fruitfulness. And so, the challenge and the invitation of the bishop was to create a training, coaching, resourcing initiative that would accomplish this. And as I began praying and thinking through all my own experience leading churches, my own season as a trainer of other churches, now needing to bring it together into this intensive kind of experience for ten to twelve church every year at that time in the West Ohio Conference. I realized that any revitalization initiative must begin with prayer. Prayer for God to do the new thing. For God to breakthrough with new hopes, dreams, and possibilities. And that we would all surrender ourselves both personally and as a congregation to what it is that God has next. You know, Oswald Chambers, who is the one behind what is probably the most popular daily devotional of our generation, My Utmost for His Highest, made this point. He said just as our physical bodies need physical food to stay healthy, strong, vibrant, and energetic, and without out food our bodies can become weak

    • 33 min
    Episode 47: “The New Face of Missional Ministry” featuring Tom Berlin

    Episode 47: “The New Face of Missional Ministry” featuring Tom Berlin

    How can a congregation be more effective in developing a missional presence? In this episode we speak with Tom Berlin, lead pastor at Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Virginia, about how being adaptive can help churches live into a more fruitful missional sensibility.

    Transcript
    Announcer: Leading Ideas Talks is brought to you by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Subscribe free to our weekly newsletter at churchleadership.com/leadingideas.
    Leading Ideas Talks is also brought to you by the Taking Church to the Community Video Tool Kit. Explore strategies your congregation can use to reach beyond its walls with worship, community events, ministries, and service. Taking Church to the Community is available on download and DVD at churchleadership.com/shop.

    How can a congregation be more effective in developing a missional presence? In this episode we speak with Tom Berlin, lead pastor at Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Virginia, about how being adaptive can help churches live into a more fruitful missional sensibility.
    Doug Powe: Welcome to Leading Ideas Talks, a podcast featuring thought leaders and innovative practitioners. I am Douglas Powe, the director of the Lewis Center and your host for this talk. Joining me is the lead pastor of Floris United Methodist Church, the Reverend Tom Berlin. Tom is the author of several books. His most recent is Reckless Love: Jesus’ Call to Love our Neighbor. Our focus for this conversation is being a missional congregation. Tom, thank you for taking time to join us today.
    Tom Berlin: Great to be here. Thank you.
    Doug Powe: Tom, many of our listeners are familiar with Floris, but not all of them. Can you share a brief description of the congregation and the satellites that you currently are running?
    Tom Berlin: Certainly. Floris United Methodist Church is located in Herndon, Virginia. We are in Western Fairfax county. We’re about five minutes from Dulles Airport. That tends to be the way that most people can place us. So, we are in a suburb of Washington, DC. It’s a suburban area and it is a high-tech corridor. It is a place where the government and contractors that work with the US government, some of those operations since 9/11, have moved out into our area. So a lot of our population here in the community works for the US government, especially the defense and intelligence community. But also, high-tech jobs as well. We also have a very vibrant immigrant community here. So it’s a diverse area. Right around the church we have a high concentration of people from South Asia. People from India and Pakistan. The church was founded in 1861. So, we are one of the oldest congregations in our community and one of the oldest non-profits in our community. We have been here longer than most people. But of course, over time the church has changed. We’re in our third location. This congregation has moved three times. All of those moves have been within about a quarter of a mile from the original location. Each time the church has moved, it’s been to a larger location. And then, about five years ago, six years ago, we made a decision that our evangelism and our design for reaching more people was no longer going to be buying more land or building bigger buildings. That our desire would be to send people out into the community. And to do so, we sent clergy and laity first into Reston, Virginia, into an elementary school that’s within probably eight miles of where our church is located. And then we realized about a year ago that a lot of our members had moved out to Loudoun County, which is, think of an airport, how large a major airport is. And that creates a really interesting dynamic in our church because we have what is called a 180-degree development. We’d back up to the airport, so there’s no populatio

    • 42 min
    Episode 46: “How Can Churches Thrive in a Time of Cultural and Institutional Change?” featuring David McAllister-Wilson

    Episode 46: “How Can Churches Thrive in a Time of Cultural and Institutional Change?” featuring David McAllister-Wilson

    How can churches and church-related organizations thrive in a time of rapid cultural change and deteriorating institutional structures? In this episode we speak with David McAllister-Wilson, President of Wesley Theological Seminary, about new models of church, new ways of preparing people for ministry, and the importance of a renewed vision that engages nontraditional leaders.

    Transcript
    Announcer: Leading Ideas Talks is brought to you by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Subscribe free to our weekly newsletter at churchleadership.com/leadingideas.
    Leading Ideas Talks is also brought to you by is brought to you by Discovering God’s Future for Your Church. This turn-key video tool kit helps your congregation discern and implement God’s vision for your church’s next faithful steps. Discovering God’s Future for Your Church is available on download and DVD at  churchleadership.com/shop.

    How can churches and church-related organizations thrive in a time of rapid cultural change and deteriorating institutional structures? In this episode we speak with David McAllister-Wilson, President of Wesley Theological Seminary, about new models of church, new ways of preparing people for ministry, and the importance of a renewed vision that engages nontraditional leaders.
    Doug Powe: Welcome to Leading Ideas Talks, a podcast featuring thought leaders and innovative practitioners. I’m Douglas Powe, the director of the Lewis Center and your host for this talk. Joining me is the Rev. Dr. David McAllister Wilson, the President of Wesley Theological Seminary. He is the author of A New Church and A New Seminary and our focus for this podcast is guiding institutions during times of struggle. David, welcome to Leading Ideas Talks.  We’re glad to have you here today.
    David McAllister Wilson: Thank you Doug, good to be here.
    Doug Powe: Let’s begin with talking about challenges that institutions face in the 21st Century. What do you think will be different about institutional life for congregations as we move forward in the 21st Century?
    David McAllister Wilson: Well, in some ways I would say that nothing will be different. For over 2000 years now, there’ve been some ways in which Christians and would-be Christians gather. And we’re always going to see those elements.  So, wherever I go in the world, and all the different kinds of worship I experience, I see that people need to gather.  They sing. We study the ancient texts.  There’s viable study in worship. And we take communion together and have the Lord’s Prayer. So, in some ways, nothing will be different institutionally. But of course, things are having to change a lot, especially here in the United States. And there are some things that aren’t working anymore. I think if we look in the 21st Century what we’re going to find is an increased diversity of churches. The medium-size church of the 50’s is not going to go away. There will still be that kind of experience. The megachurch, which has been so much a phenomenon in the last 25 years, that won’t go away. And, the new church starts won’t go away. There’ll be many different kinds of churches coexisting together, perhaps more than ever before. But I think the biggest change that all of them are going to go through, is a change from being essentially a member-services organization to being one of an association of people seeking meaning and trying to be disciples of Jesus Christ. What that means, inside, is that we can’t assume a baseline of knowledge and experience. So, a lot more insight has to do with the basic work of forming people as disciples. What it means for the outside is a different relationship between the inside and outside. And I’m going to use the word mission. When I was growing up in Southern California, when we said mission, we me

    • 32 min
    Episode 45: “Holiness and American Culture” featuring Cheryl Sanders

    Episode 45: “Holiness and American Culture” featuring Cheryl Sanders

    How have the holiness and Pentecostal movements influenced American culture? In this episode we speak with Cheryl Sanders about why these movements grew so rapidly, how they influenced our culture, and the challenges they face in our modern world.

    Transcript
    Announcer: Leading Ideas Talks is brought to you by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Subscribe free to our weekly newsletter at churchleadership.com/leadingideas.
    Leading Ideas Talks is also brought to you by is brought to you by Discovering God’s Future for Your Church. This turn-key video tool kit helps your congregation discern and implement God’s vision for your church’s next faithful steps. Discovering God’s Future for Your Church is available on download and DVD at  churchleadership.com/shop.

    How have the holiness and Pentecostal movements influenced American culture? In this episode we speak with Cheryl Sanders about why these movements grew so rapidly, how they influenced our culture, and the challenges they face in our modern world.
    Doug Powe: Welcome to Leading Ideas Talks, a podcast featuring thought leaders and innovative practitioners. I’m Douglas Powe, the Director of the Lewis Center and your host for this talk. Joining me is the Rev. Dr. Cheryl Sanders, Professor of Christian Ethics at Howard Divinity School and Pastor of Third Street Church of God in Washington, DC. Our focus for this podcast is learning how the Holiness-Pentecostal movement is shaping the United States’ Religious Culture. Cheryl is the author of several books, including Ministry at the Margins, Living the Intersection, and Saints in Exile, just to name a few. Thank you for joining us on our podcast today Cheryl, we’re glad to have you here and I would like to welcome you.
    Cheryl Sanders: Well thanks for inviting me, I’ve been looking forward to this conversation.
    Doug Powe: Great! I want to begin, because many of our listeners really don’t know a lot about the Holiness and the Pentecostal movement. Can you give us a little bit of history? I know we could take the whole podcast if you gave us the whole history. But can you just help them become more familiar when we use that term and that terminology.
    Cheryl Sanders: The Holiness and Pentecostal tend to be linked with a hyphen. But the Holiness movement historically precedes Pentecostalism. And there are two dates, two years, that are landmarks. One is 1858, which is the time that the Holiness movement is launched in the United States. It’s associated with Phoebe Palmer in New York. And really, it was more like a Bible study, prayer, almost a revival kind of movement. But it emerged out of mainline denominations, especially Methodists, Methodist teaching. But, as the Holiness movement spread from its urban beginnings, throughout the country, even into rural areas, in the South and the Midwest, it really was an ecumenical movement. And, in some cases, people were expelled or excluded from their denominations because of following Holiness teachings. The basic teaching that marked the movement is some sort of Doctrine of Sanctification. Most Christians believe in some notion of sin and salvation, redemption. But there’s a second blessing, or sometimes it’s a third blessing, that the Holiness peoples spoke about — living a holy life. And you add to that John Wesley’s emphasis on the social holiness — and it wasn’t just personal piety, but it was also in the Holiness Movement a deep commitment to social justice. And that history really gets obscured and lost from the 19th Century. Salvation Army, for instance, which comes out of England, but Salvation Army, for many people, they think of it as a charity. But it’s a widely known charity. Everyone knows Salvation Army. Not a lot of people know it as a church. But it’s a holiness church, and it’s

    • 36 min
    Episode 44: “What’s Happening with Money and Congregations?” featuring David King

    Episode 44: “What’s Happening with Money and Congregations?” featuring David King

    What are the latest trends in how churches receive, manage, and use funds? And what do they mean for your congregation? In this episode we speak with David King, director of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, about new research on the economic practices of churches.

    Transcript
    Announcer: Leading Ideas Talks is brought to you by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Subscribe free to our weekly newsletter at churchleadership.com/leadingideas.
    Leading Ideas Talks is also brought to you by Protect, Sustain, Grow: Best Practices for Handling Your Church’s Money. Whether it’s your first time dealing with church finances or you’ve been handling them for years, this video tool kit will help you provide financial integrity and sustainability for your church, as well as expand your church’s income. Learn more and watch an introductory video at at churchleadership.com/shop.

    What are the latest trends in how churches receive, manage, and use funds? And what do they mean for your congregation? In this episode we speak with David King, director of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, about new research on the economic practices of churches.
    Ann Michel: I’m Ann Michel. I’m the Associate Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. I’m the editor of Leading Ideas e-newsletter and I’m pleased to be the host of this episode of Leading Ideas Talks podcast. I’m talking today with David King who directs the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving and he’s also an Assistant Professor of Philanthropic Studies at IUPUI in Indianapolis, Indiana. And David has served as the lead researcher on a just-released national study on the economic practices of congregations. The study looks broadly across different religious traditions in the U.S. at how congregations receive, manage, and use funds. This study really breaks a lot of new ground. It’s jam-packed full of helpful insights, I think, for issues related to stewardship and finances in congregations. So, I’m so grateful, David, that you’re taking some time to talk with us today.
    David King: Thanks Ann, it’s great to be with you.
    Ann Michel: Yeah, so your study is the largest, most comprehensive, most representative study of money in congregations that’s been undertaken in over a generation. So, I wanted to begin by asking you, “what surprised you?” But I realized that was such a big question that it might take all our time. So, I think I might ask instead, was there one particular thing that you found that was most surprising to you in this work?
    David King: Yeah, that is a dangerous question, Ann. But I really appreciate it. I’d say one thing that struck me was the fact that congregations maybe are doing a bit better than we often times might think from just watching the news or talking about the rise of the “nones” and the growing disaffiliation. But one thing that struck me was that, often times, we are aligning participation and attendance along with giving practices. That’s how we’ve often been taught think about vitality and congregations. And the two are not always going along the same. So, we saw growth. More congregations were growing in regular participation than were declining. It was about equal. But actually, a larger number of congregations were growing as far as the amount that they received in the last year than in participation. So, finances don’t always track with how many people you have engaged in your congregation. So maybe we need to dig in further to see, in our congregations that may not be growing in participation at the same level, what does that mean about how we can begin to think about the variety of ways that resources come into our congregation and then are sent back out into the work that congregations are called to do?
    Ann Michel: Yeah, I was very struck by you

    • 33 min
    Episode 43: “Resurrecting Youth Ministry” featuring Jen Bradbury

    Episode 43: “Resurrecting Youth Ministry” featuring Jen Bradbury

    Are you longing to connect with youth in relevant and faithful ways? In this episode we speak with Jen Bradbury about fresh approaches to youth ministry and how to conduct youth mission trips with integrity and purpose.

    Transcript
    Announcer: Leading Ideas Talks is brought to you by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Subscribe free to our weekly newsletter at churchleadership.com/leadingideas.
    Leading Ideas Talks is also brought to you by the Doing Good Well Video Tool Kit. Explore the fruitfulness of mission efforts and learn practical strategies to help ensure your church’s mission hits the mark. Doing Good Well is available on download and DVD at churchleadership.com/doinggoodwell.

    Are you longing to connect with youth in relevant and faithful ways? In this episode we speak with Jen Bradbury about fresh approaches to youth ministry and how to conduct youth mission trips with integrity and purpose.
    Ann Michel: I’m Ann Michel, Associate Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary and I’m pleased to be hosting this episode of Leading Ideas Talks. I’m talking today with Jen Bradbury, who I have come to know by reading her latest book, A Mission That Matters: How to Do Short-Term Mission Trips Without Long-Term Harm. Jen is a career youth worker in the Chicago area and she’s written widely on the subject of youth ministry. So, to kick things off, Jen, I wondered if you could say a bit more to introduce yourself to me and our listeners and tell us a bit about your ministry and your work.
    Jen Bradbury: Absolutely, thanks for having me on the show today, Ann, I really appreciate that. So, like Ann said, my name is Jen Bradbury and I have been in youth ministry for the last 18 years at four different congregations in the Chicago suburbs. I kind of got into youth ministry accidentally. But I have absolutely loved it. It uses all of my gifts. I think it’s such an important ministry of the church. And because I think the youth are the leaders of now, not tomorrow, but now. And so pouring into and discipling and investing in them is super important and something that I think every church needs to focus on, whether or not you have a paid youth worker. So I have largely been in mainline congregations. So I’ve spent the bulk of my career in the ELCA at three of the four churches that I’ve served. And then was also, for five years, at a multi-site, multi-ethnic non-denominational congregation. So I’ve been around for a while in a variety of different settings.
    Ann Michel: Yeah, I’m really happy to hear your enthusiasm for youth ministry because, I think as I look around the church, broadly, youth ministry really is a tremendous need and concern. There are so many churches that no longer have enough families or youth to sustain a viable youth group or, in a lot of churches where they still do have a youth group, their approach to youth ministry hasn’t changed very much from the way people were doing youth ministry many decades ago when I was in high school — they got the kids together in the church basement on Sunday afternoon or Sunday evening. And so, where do you see new hope and new possibilities for how churches can be in ministry with youth?
    Jen Bradbury: Oh, what a great question, Ann! So I see a ton of hope and possibilities for youth ministry ranging from the idea that I don’t think youth ministries have to be big in order to be effective.  I think you need to have adults who care deeply about youth and who love God and want to follow Jesus and are willing to invest in teens in creative ways. And so, I don’t think that’s necessarily coming together in playing an hour of games and then talking about scripture for 15 minutes. I think it can be much more of a small group format where scripture and discipleship

    • 35 min

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