Here are some things I’m seeing and some comments on books I’ve read all of which point up some leadership tips.

Tip One

I continue to see churches that add an indigenous service to their Sunday schedule and in two or three years it is the largest church. I just got an email from Bedford Church in Nova Scotia where I had been several years ago. As a result of the consultation, they did a new service and it is now the biggest. I’ve had several similar emails the last few months. If your church still has only traditional worship out of the hymnal, you should pray about this one.

Leadership Tip: This usually comes about as the result of a pastor who begins talking about reaching new people for Christ, asking older people if they would like their grandchildren in church and that this new service, geared toward them, might do the trick. In other words, start talking about it.

Tip Two

The trend toward mainline church planting continues. More and more people among mainline churches are talking about church planting and actually beginning to do it. A book by Compton, “Rekindling the Mainline” is actually a good book. Compton is a UMC leader in North Carolina. In spite of the UMC bent, the book is good for any group.

Leadership Tip: What is needed is pastors and churches who plant churches rather than denominations. Also, it helps to keep in mind that most churches that plant churches grow as a result and those churches around the new church plant often find new forms of life as a result of the new plant near them.

Tip Three

I just consulted with Community UMC in Vincennes, IN. Three small churches who merged in 1992 and did it right -sold their property, bought new property, and took a new name. Now they are one of the largest churches in their Conference and are a teaching church for churches thinking about merger. This was one of the finest churches I’ve seen in a good while.

Leadership Tip: Mergers happen, not because of a pastor, as much as a group of key lay people who see the handwriting on the wall and who long to see their church reach the community for Christ. So for a pastor, the key is the raise the dissatisfaction level with key lay people who have a heart for evangelism and what to see people won to Christ.

A couple of books I’ve just read are:

“Making Sense Out of the Church” by Spencer Burke – Track 2 and 3

A really good book, but you have to like reading emails. The book is a combination of emails received on and Spencer’s comments and dialogue, which are excellent. Spencer does a good job of debunking the hero leadership myth that is so prominent with many writers in their 50’s and 60’s. He also takes a stab at the dishonesty of many of the things most churches do today and call it worship. As a result of reading the book, I came up with a book I want to write called “Learning to Walk Again.” Thanks Spencer for a great book.

”The Church in the Emerging Culture” – Track 2 -3

A really good group of people are collected in this book but it failed to grab me other than Leonard sweets opening. That is worth the price of the book. McLaren and McManus are in it along with three others.