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Fear and Loathing in the Pastor’s Study: Can Authorized Ministers Learn Innovative, Risk-Taking, and Entrepreneurial Leadership Skills?

In 2009, Barna Group researchers conducted a survey-based study of “the state of mainline Protestant churches” in the United States. After extensive data-crunching, they concluded that “mainline churches have weathered the past decade better than many people feared they would, but serious challenges [threaten] continued stability. The quality of leadership—especially regarding vision, creativity, strategic thinking, and…

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What Do Clergy Need for Positive Mental Health?

The biggest open secret in the church today is that clergy struggle with mental health, even when they often seem well to most parishioners. Articles in recent years from the New York Times to the Huffington Post have reported on this very issue. Throughout the United Church of Christ (my beloved denomination), Committees on Ministry…

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Churches of Multi-Generations: Blessings in Disguise

There are very few places in our culture where multiple generations have the opportunity to be in active relationship with each other. Church, I would argue, is the blaring exception. This past Sunday in church we celebrated an infant baptism along with the four generations of her visiting family. We sent prayers with a young…

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“The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be”

“The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be.” So said legendary baseball catcher Yogi Berra in the 1970’s. Anyone who has ministered in mainline churches in the United States in the last 30 or so years can sympathize. Denominational churches’ futures seem bleak. The United Church of Christ was born in mid-20th Century ecumenical excitement–In 1957, birth…

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Consider Talking About Healthy Congregational/Pastoral Boundaries

This week’s post is written by Rev. Stephen Boyd, Minister for Chaplains and Ministers in Specialized Settings in the Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (MESA) Team within the UCC’s national setting.  In these past weeks many of us on the MESA Team have attended Conference Annual Gatherings throughout the denomination. It has been wonderful to connect with colleagues,…

Extravagant Welcome Revisited

This week I am at a loss for words. It seems anything I might say to you, my friends and my colleagues in ministry, would be simply not enough. To say that our nation is at a critical juncture would be an understatement. Given all that has happened and considering all the lives lost in…