Here’s a collection of interesting, thought-provoking articles from around the web from recent weeks. For more links, check out our Flipboard magazines: Leadership Network Today, Leadership Network Deep Trends, and Ideas to Implementation to Impact, where we curate the best in innovative ideas for church leaders.
1. Growing Young (Christianity Today) Empathy is sitting on the curb of a young person’s life, celebrating their dreams, and grieving over their despair. Instead of judging young adults today as “lazy” or “entitled,” these churches recognize that young people face particular challenges on their paths toward identity, belonging, and purpose, and they journey with them.
2. San Antonio became a national leader in mental health care by working together as a community (The Boston Globe) When Bohanan relapsed a few years later, she remembered her case manager’s dedication. It drove her back to treatment and, ultimately, into a peer support job with the Center for Health Care Services. Now she helps people just like her. When she needs to hunt people down, she knows just where to look — and what to say.
3. What Effective Discipleship Cultures Have (and How You Can Have It, Too) (Leadership Network) Every church has a discipleship culture. Some of them are healthy and life-giving, others are lethargic and possibly toxic. Churches on both ends of the discipleship culture spectrum may look similar on the outside. They will likely do some of the same things and use common language. But their impact in the lives of people is noticeably different.
4. A Lean Ministry is a Smart Ministry (Dan Reiland) Time compression has squeezed out the ability for people to do more. They are already maxed out in their daily lives. I’m not suggesting the solution is to dumb-down the vision of your church. Not at all, but merely to lean out the approach. Less is more.
5. Church Planting and Commuting in the Mega-Regions (Christianity Today) What happens when you plot four million commutes on a map? No, this is not a bad joke. The answer is not exhaust clouds, headaches, or road rage. What you actually get is a different picture of the mega-regions—a cluster of interconnected cities.
6. How a Small Baptist Church Grew One of America’s Largest Student Ministries (The Gospel Coalition) The campus ministry’s strongest asset—and their distinctive feature—is their close tie to the local church.
7. The Top 10 Characteristics of the Average Unchurched Family (Pastors.com) Many years ago when our church began revitalization, we prayed and asked God whom he was calling us to reach. The answer we felt God impressing upon us then was to focus on unchurched families. So we created strategies and programs designed to reach out to these families. God showed up and we began making inroads to reach these families, but then something unexpected happened. They changed. In fact, while we were busy perfecting the plans and programs we had used to reach the average unchurched family, the entire culture shifted.
8. It has risen: Is this the key to growing Protestant churches? (Maclean’s) We aim to speak in the language of the listeners, not to make them learn the language of the messenger.
9. 4 Factors to Interpret an Increase in Giving (Dan Reiland) If you only know why your attendance is decreasing, you are always reacting and playing catch up to a problem, rather than seizing the power of momentum. It’s the same with the giving in your church.
10. How a new generation is changing evangelical Christianity (The Conversation Articles) My research focus is on vibrant religious congregations. I am seeing the emergence of a new generation of evangelicals that has a very different view of what it means to be a “Jesus follower.”