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…

The Politician-ization of Authorized Ministry: Some Lenten Thoughts about Dying Churches, Congregational Resurrections, and Pastoral Leadership

In case you haven’t noticed, tremendous changes are taking place in the American church. A number of pastors, scholars, and leaders, both within and outside our denomination, have issued dire warnings about the future of the Mainline church and of the United Church of Christ. For instance, In his book Transforming Congregational Culture, pastor Anthony…

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…

The Christmas Fund: Serving Those Who Serve

This week’s post is written by Rev. Dr. Jonathan Lee, Philanthropy Officer for the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance with the Pension Boards UCC. His article provides some statistical highlights about the UCC’s Christmas Fund, especially in terms of impact. Enjoy!   Since 1893, the United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance (UCBMA) has provided support to…

Fitness Reviews: Trusting our Ecclesiastical Processes

A fitness review is a disciplinary action that results when information surfaces that calls into question an authorized minister’s continued fitness for ministry in and on behalf of the United Church of Christ. An association Committee on Ministry (or, in some places, a conference-wide Fitness Review Board) receives the concern, votes to begin a review,…