handstouching

What Counts, Church?

This week’s post is written by the Rev. Dr. Patrick G. Duggan, Executive Director of the United Church of Christ Church Building & Loan Fund. Since 1995, Rev. Dr. Duggan has also served as senior pastor of the Congregational Church of South Hempstead in South Hempstead, New York. Recently I read the journal from a…

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Better Ministry Evaluation

As the Minister for Ministers in Local Churches for the Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (MESA) ministry team, I regularly receive requests from congregations who want to evaluate their ministers. Some are thrilled with their pastor’s leadership and want to encourage her (and maybe ensure she stays longer!). Some are angry with their pastor’s leadership…

numbers

When Numbers Get Messy

I’m not a “numbers” person by nature. It takes a lot of energy for me to engage in statistical analysis, and it almost always involves taking my stats textbooks from the bookshelf and pouring over step-by-step instructions on performing certain statistical tests. In many ways, though, numbers seem easy –– they are fixed, tangible things,…

Sludge (2)

Faith and Flint

Flint, Michigan is a hard scrabble town. It has been for a while. Like many of its sister Rust Belt cities, it’s the kind of place where as soon as one problem is solved, another arises. In the 1980s, it was the departure of car manufacturing by GM and Cadillac from a town that was…