Entries by cindi

Is there ANY good news?

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director At the turn of the century it was predicted that people in the city of New York would literally be drowning in manure due to the number of horses on the streets. (Yes, the late 1800s.) The birth of the automobile saved us from this fate. The threat was […]

Behind the Smile

by Rozella Haydée White, LEAD Consultant and author of Love Big: The Power of Revolutionary Relationships to Heal the World I’ve been thinking a lot lately about accepting the parts of ourselves that we wish weren’t so… Leadership is hard. So many of us know this to be true. Some of the best leaders are […]

What’s the Next Step?

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director This is a discipleship question. Just had a visitor at church…what’s next? How is our congregation making meaningful connections with our guests so they feel invited into partnership? What are the ways we can build relationships with people who are brave enough to show up, without ignoring them or […]

Beat the “Building Blues”

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director I hear these laments everywhere I go: We are trapped by deferred maintenance. The last building campaign fell short, so the debt is killing us. We can raise money for the building but not for ministry. We want to build but we’re not sure why. We are raising money […]

The Shift from Slump to Fantastic

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director There is this moment between doing nothing and doing something to pay attention to. That moment when every part of you (or maybe just me) feels like it’s going to be rough to ramp up, to get a spark of energy that drives the future. The question is, what […]

Fall is Still the Beginning of My Year

by Jinny Sutherland Breedlove, LEAD Strategic Projects This past May, the youngest of my four children graduated from high school. After 24 years of having a child in our public school system, I’m no longer beholden to that calendar. However, I still can’t help but think of this as the beginning of the year. January […]

#LEADReads

by David Hansen, LEAD Strategic Projects LEAD is excited to announce #LEADReads   A project to help leaders like you in your quest to continue to grow. Think of it like a book club for awesome ministry leaders. I remember when LEAD was launching, Peggy Hahn, Chris Hicks, and Vonda Drees went around the Gulf […]

Please

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director Please, we beg you: skip the well-read sermon. If you get to speak in front of people, face to face, each week, and they are showing up, AND you are reading the sermon, STOP. They deserve more. Memorizing the sermon is probably not getting us there either. I love […]

Why Watching the Dog Doesn’t Work

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director When Dewayne and I got married, I discovered that his dog was a remarkable predictor of his behavior. I was new to this household and the lab offered me a guide to navigating what felt like a foreign culture to me. His behavior and expectations provided me with a […]

Responding to Neighborhood Needs with Camp Hope

by Jessica Noonan, LEAD Director of Operations  St. James Lutheran Church/Santiago Apóstol in Houston, Texas is passionate about the neighborhood where they are planted. They have developed strong partnerships with their neighbors and have a clear understanding of the needs that the community itself has identified. How did this happen? First, they listened. What did […]

Spiritual Practice. Just that.

This summer, LEAD is inviting you to truly appreciate all of God’s gifts through the spiritual practice of intention. A spiritual practice is just that. Practice. The more it is practiced, the deeper and more fulfilling it feels. We are delighted that so many people are practicing being aware and living with God through LEAD’s intentions […]

Big Bang of Pentecost

Out of a small, locked nucleus of a room– God! Light Sound a Force Field of energy Cannot be contained Cannot be exclusive Cannot be stopped And the cosmos is never the same again.   May God fill our locked nucleus-hearts Till they explode open With love that Cannot be contained Cannot be exclusive Cannot […]

With

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director The Dalai Lama tells us that “The ultimate source of happiness is within us.” (The Book of Joy) My Hindu neighbor tells me that “True consciousness is waking up to God within us.” My Christian mantra is “The Lord be with you.” And the response is “And also with […]

What Is Wrong with the Church

Originally published at digitalpastor.org by Pastor David L Hansen, LEAD Director of Communication and Innovation We’ve all seen the numbers. Across our country, church attendance is in decline. Liberal churches and progressive churches, traditional churches and contemporary churches, liturgical churches and praise and worship churches. It is affecting everyone. Which begs the question: What is […]

Each One Ask One

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director Ask yourself this question: who invited you into leadership? Better yet, ask yourself this: who are you inviting into leadership? Each one of us need to invite ONE other person into professional ministry. Or be an over-achiever and extend the invitation to more than one. The ELCA is having […]

KonMari@church?

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director Does the space you worship God in each week reflect God’s joy to all that gather? Do the nursery, restrooms, classrooms, and hallways reflect God’s joy to all that pass through them? Does the church office reflect God’s joy to all that serve and are served daily in those […]

Christ Is Risen!

CHRIST IS RISEN! Not as a broken victim. Not as an angry avenger. But in Jesus’ third way: with dignity, compassion and love. Let’s set an intention to walk in Jesus’ third way: with dignity for all compassion for all and love for all. And we ask God to help us. Amen by Lynn Willis, […]

Yoga anyone?

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director It is noisy in my head. When I worship, I am struggling to silence the noise. When I pray, I interrupt myself with thoughts that keep bubbling up. I know one of my flaws is endless thinking that leaves me with less space for being. I want to grow […]

Lenten Leadership

by David Hansen, LEAD Director of Communication & Innovation  Lent began with Ash Wednesday – a worship service that is built around a comprehensive confession and act of repentance. As leaders, we too often forget the importance of this central act of our faith. Confessing our errors. Asking for forgiveness. And then repenting – changing the […]

Listening

by Dan Kuckuck, Pastor at St. Stephen Lutheran, Urbandale, IA and a LEAD Consultant Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.  — Parker […]

Money is NOT the Problem

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director Fear of funding ministry is a blackhole for leaders as they move from awareness to concern to panic. I am constantly confronted by people on this downward path who are over-focused on this lag metric as a priority for their work in the church. Shifting the conversation to God’s […]

A Leadership Opportunity for Youth

by Jinny Sutherland Breedlove, Camp Hope consultant How are you growing student leaders? For many churches, the answer is: “We aren’t. It’s not that we don’t want to, we just don’t know how.” Building a leadership pipeline can be a critical first step. A leadership pipeline is an intentional way of developing leaders. It involves […]

Who’s Welcome at Your Leadership Table?

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director This is not a rhetorical question. Who do you see as leaders and future leaders of your ministry? LGBTQIA people are pushed out when a church body votes to limit their leadership.  We are also pushing people out if there is an affirming vote without changing expectations to make room […]

Your Church: A Seminary?

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director People are learning something at your church. It may be intentional or accidental, or a bit of both, but people are learning: How to act at church. How people at your church engage the larger world. How people at your church pray, study scripture and worship. How people at your […]

What’s trending?

by Lynn Willis, LEAD Spiritual Director Tiny houses, minimalism, and even Marie Kondo’s bestselling book and TV show about tidying up! It seems like more and more of us are craving some simplicity in our lives. Some of us are rejecting any difficult concepts in an effort to simplify. Scientific complexities, difficult transitions, and even […]

Who has a key to your church?

By Jessica Noonan, Director of Operations – LEAD “Who has a key to your church?” I asked, and the whole youth and family ministry team laughed. The question I should have asked is, “Who doesn’t have a key to your church?” They laughed because it’s common knowledge in their congregation that everyone has 24-7 access […]

Bibliotheca-What’s on Your List?

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director What are you reading? This is a real question. You can share your lists in the comments at the bottom of the post on the website/blog or on Facebook. I really want to know! I read 66 books last year (that’s not counting articles or videos). Some were better than […]

Intensive Learning – Building New Habits

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD-Executive Director LEAD is offering a series of intensive learning opportunities this year. We are taking all we have learned in the past six years and putting it out there so you can access it from the comfort of your own phone, computer or tablet. Why? Because habits are difficult to transform […]

Inviting

by David Hansen, LEAD Director of Communication & Innovation Many congregations are “welcoming.” In fact, more often than not, congregations go out of their way to describe how “friendly” they are. I suspect that if we were to ask, 90% of US congregations would describe themselves as more friendly than the average congregation. The thing about […]

Foundations of a Leader’s Influence

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD-Executive Director Take a few deep breaths. Inhaling the Holy Spirit blowing through our lives can remind us of three things that are foundational: We are already loved and good enough. We can love ourselves. (Read this one over and over. Influence starts here.) We can love the people we lead. (Gulp. […]

For Your Church Too

by Peggy Hahn, Executive Director, LEAD Before you make your final end of the year gifts, read this. “When I first came to this congregation, I knew there was a lot of opportunity, but I didn’t know where to start. The LEAD Journey has given us a vision for the future, skills to achieve that […]

Calling all Leaders!

by Peggy Hahn, Executive Director – LEAD Calling all leaders to join us in our vision for 2019! LEAD has received a $10,000 challenge grant from our amazing Board of Directors because they believe that through the power of the Holy Spirit, leaders grow churches! LEAD has been working directly with 80+ congregations across the […]

Thanksgiving Blessing 2018

Come to the table, We are thankful for new faces and new smiles. Come to the feast, We are thankful for new foods and new ways. Come to the conversation, We are thankful to learn from your wisdom. Come to peace, We are thankful for the stories of the paths you have walked. We are […]

Vote

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director, and Kristen Krueger, PhD, LEAD Consultant I stood in line for two hours to vote today as early voting opened. The very act of voting is one way to advocate for your faith as we stand in solidarity with those who have fought for this right. The trajectory of […]

A New Voice for Grandparents

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD-Executive Director I don’t know what is more beautiful – holding your new grandbaby or watching your children become parents. The sweetness of a new little life and the over-tired commitment of young parents in love with their baby are some of the best things life has to offer. With new parents […]

What is Church Growth?

by Pastor David Hansen, Director for Innovation and Communication – LEAD Originally published at digitalpastor.org What is Church Growth? As we enter into – or begin to acknowledge – a new era in the life of the church, words like growing church get tossed around by church leaders. Or maybe you hear about congregational vitality, or […]

On a Quest: Listening to God

Serving 78 Congregations on The LEAD Journey, LEAD is still on a quest to listen to God. 6 years in, here are 6 things LEAD is learning from you: RISK Everything starts with people who are willing to take a risk. Leadership means sticking your neck out. Literally sticking your neck outside of your comfort […]

Advent Intentionally: LEAD’s 2018 Advent Resources

I intend to spend this Advent day with all the curiosity, generosity, and hope that God gave me. I intend to spend this day with God. I intend to share my joy. Welcome to LEAD’s 2018 Advent Resources – Advent Intentionally Each year during Advent and Lent, LEAD provides FREE print-ready contemplative liturgies, with readings from the Revised Common […]

When Caring Is Killing Us

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director At my doctor’s appointment this week, I notice my doctor looks worse than I do. Doc: How are you? Me: Exhausted. How are you? Doc: Exhausted. We give each other a knowing smile. But is that ok? Living exhausted will kill you. So, I push her, as she looks […]

Smelly Church

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director What is that smell? Walking into churches across the country, I am struck by three things: hospitality of the people hospitality of the building hospitality of the experience Oddly enough, all three are impacted by what I can only call: The Church Smell. You are probably used to or […]

It’s Fall! What can we learn from school?

by Erin Storm, with Sanctuary (formerly Houston Lutheran Campus Ministry) In my work in campus ministry, I discovered that LEAD and campus ministry are partners in mission, working in different realms, yet anchored by similar practices and goal. And guess what? You are too! Let me show you what I mean. On campus we are called […]

Alarming Faith

by Pastor David Hansen, Director for Innovation and Communication – LEAD Originally published at digitalpastor.org “How can I grow in faith?”  This is one of the key questions that pastors often help people to answer. How to grow deeper in relationship with God – how to have a faith that transforms our lives and makes […]

Hurricane Harvey: Reflections

by Rozella Haydée White, LEAD Consultant Disasters. Whether they are personal disasters or natural disasters, we all experience them. Personal disasters can include the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage, the diagnosis of an illnessor the loss of a job. Natural disasters may be floods, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, or more, and […]

Christian Leadership-Always a Holy Experiment

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director Just try something new. What if we stopped asking “What is the worst that could happen?” and started asking “What amazing thing might happen?” This is the leadership mindset* that opens us up to God moving through us and our world. Imagine the possibilities if we started experimenting our […]

Walking a labyrinth: a visit to the grocery store

Excerpt from Work Out Guide, by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director This is an invitation to be mindful; to experience something familiar in a new way. How many times do you think about your grocery store as a labyrinth? I don’t mean “a complicated, irregular network of passages or paths in which it is difficult […]

Camp Hope-the Power of Leading

If youth aren’t leading, they’re leaving. -Lyle Griner, National Peer Ministry Director People often ask “how can we keep youth in the church” and the answer is simple: invite them into leadership and support them along the journey. When people know they are indispensable, they stick around. They use their gifts. This is true for […]

Throw Away Your Mission Statement

Originally published at digitalpastor.org by Pastor David L Hansen, Director of Communication and Innovation – LEAD Every church I know of has a mission statement. Your church probably has a mission statement. And the first thing I think you need to do with that mission statement is throw it away. Out of Date Often mission […]

How do you measure what matters?

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director Many (most) congregations choose to count people in pews and bucks in the offering plate every week, but there are at least two big problems with these metrics: They don’t really tell you anything about how you are growing disciples and raising up Christian leaders. By the time you […]

Dear PBS

by Kristen Krueger, PhD – LEAD Consultant & Director of Student Leadership “Dear PBS, I don’t think the Cat in the Hat shows respect. Because every time Nick takes a picture, Sally says “great photo Nick!” but every time Sally takes a picture Nick says “Next time I get to take the picture.” Just because […]

Embodied Faith: The ELCA Youth Gathering

by Rozella Haydée White, Creator/Consultant with LEAD The ELCA Youth Gathering brings together over 30,000 people – youth and adults – for times of worship, learning, service, reflection, and community. This is not just an event. This is an experience that practices embodied faith. The Youth Gathering models what life would look like if we […]

In Search of Paul

By Rev. Dr. Don Carlson, host of LEAD’s In Search of Paul pilgrimage Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man, set in River City, Iowa in 1912, opens with a group of traveling salesmen riding the Rock Island Line. They agree on one thing; to be a good salesman, “You gotta know the territory!” After hosting five […]

Praying as a Family

excerpt from Faithful Metrics by Peggy Hahn It’s the people who love me and whom I love that give my life meaning. For me, sitting at the table with my parents, my children, and my grandchildren provides a window into what makes a meaningful life of faith. We often wait with hot plates of food […]

Leverage

By Peggy Hahn The tipping point is never one action. That is a myth. It is a result of persistence, the gradual effort that feels thankless at the time but ultimately adds up. One conversation at a time, one sermon each week, one leadership retreat each year, these are what shift culture over time. The […]

Hard times? Show up!

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director Everyone knows the gut-wrenching pain of a hard time. I am sure you have noticed, we are living through one in our world right now. When going to school is a life-threatening experience for students of all ages When going through a divorce When living with or accompanying terminal […]

A Summer of Intentions

Summer is a great time to truly appreciate God’s gifts to us. This summer, LEAD is offering 20 short daily reflections that are totally free for you to use and share. Each day includes a suggested focus, a Bible verse, and ideas for ways to share your experience. You can even sign up to receive […]

Pentecost Blessing

As the third Person of the Trinity blows into our hearts today, May we feel the imagination of the Creator, The compassion of the Christ, And the motivation of the Spirit. May we feel the energy of this complex Trinity God within us – always giving, always receiving. A God who cherishes diversity. And, as […]

A Word on Seasons

by Rozella White, founder of RHW Consulting, and creator, consultant with LEAD For some of us, spring has sprung. I am in a location where we are experiencing beautiful days – the mornings are cool, the days are warm, and the evenings are alive with cicadas. There is NO humidity, which for those of us […]

6 Objections to Online Ministry

  by David Hansen, Director of Communication & Innovation, LEAD I have been privileged to be able to help congregations and leaders across the country work on how they communicate. In particular, I have often taught about social media and online tools for ministry. In doing this, I have heard the same objections over and […]

What frame are you holding?

by Peggy Hahn, Executive Director – LEAD I am a leader carrying an ancient frame into a fast-changing world. The people I serve are beautiful, faithful, stuck, and stubborn. Many of them love a God who is part of a worldview from the industrial age. They cannot envision a God who is on the loose […]

Fully human. Incarnational.

by Peggy Hahn, Executive Director, LEAD The goal can’t be quality, not for people anyway. It needs to be humanity. The rough edges of caring, of improv and of connection. – Seth Godin Let excellence go. Focus on relationships. On being a human being, connected more deeply than we will ever realize to other people. […]

we are Easter people and our song is yes!

Yes to walking humbly (Palm Sunday) Yes to the earth’s gifts – water and bread and wine (Last Supper) Yes to loving one another (the new commandment) Yes to non-violence (in the garden of Gethsemane) Yes to forgiveness (on the cross) Yes to trust and even to death (Good Friday) Yes to Life and to […]

From Me to We: Shared Ministry as a way forward

  by Peggy Hahn, Executive Director, LEAD Until about the last 100 years shared ministry has always been included as an indispensable model for the Christian movement – faith communities sharing mission, pastors, buildings, and resources for the good of the whole church. Reclaiming this ancient model is more about the faith than it is […]

Work-Life Balance – It’s a Lie!

Did you know that only 20% of the US population feel like they have a healthy work-life balance? So, you’re not alone! But since when is work-life balance our life goal anyway? There is no perfect metric that can set life on a balanced course. From day to day, week to week, or year to […]

Fly Through the Crash

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director The night before I was about to launch the biggest project of my life, I got some of the best leadership advice ever from Sally Ahrens, my partner in ministry. She looked me in the eye and said with all seriousness: “No matter what happens, fly through the crash.” […]

Read More in 2018

by Peggy Hahn, Executive Director of LEAD How many books do you read in an average year? Not sure? Me either… until now because I plan to keep track for the first time ever. One of my personal goals this year is to start a book log, capturing the books I read along with a […]

This is personal

Most of us live two lives: The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Overcoming the resistance between the two is what deep, bold, consequential faith is all about. Hold that thought for a minute. First, answer this question honestly: How are you right now? Tell yourself the truth. Admittedly, there are days […]

Christmas Blessing

May God give us The strength and determination of a woman laboring to deliver new life The encouragement and wisdom of a midwife helping another to bring forth new life The care and nurture of a shepherd fiercely protecting new life The wonder and curiosity of a baby discovering the happiness and work of life […]

A Gift of the Holy Spirit

by David Hansen, Pastor at Spirit of Joy! and LEAD Director of Communication & Innovation “I believe that by my own power or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy, […]

Shaping lives-community, prayer & service

by Kristen Krueger, PhD – LEAD Consultant I was eight years old when my family moved from Denver to Houston. I vividly remember crying in the arms of Miss Lila, my Sunday school teacher at All Saints Lutheran Church on my last Sunday there. Miss Lila reassured me that I would find friends and life […]

The Power of God Moments

“I need to bless you,” interrupted my two-year-old granddaughter as we gathered for dinner this weekend. Wow. A God moment named and claimed by a baby. How does she know that God is with us? How does she know she has agency to bless us? The faith givers in her life, especially her mom and […]

Thanksgiving Prayer 2017

This year may our Thanksgiving not be small and rote. This year may our thanks giving be broad and deep. May it fill to overflowing every cell in our bodies, So that each exhaled breath may be carried by the Holy Spirit And laid gently upon all things and all persons. This year may all […]

Gratitude as Soul Care

by: Rozella Haydée White How is it with your soul? When was the last time you stopped, asked yourself this question and listened for the answer? When was the last time you reflected on the thoughts and feelings that emerged when you intentionally tuned into your soul?* Our souls have so much to share with […]

Who are the Faith Givers in Your Life?

Faith is a free gift of the Holy Spirit. People love God and they love you enough to pass it on. These are the faith givers. Maybe you had faithful parents or grandparents. Maybe you went to camp as a kid, campus ministry as a student, or had a youth minister, pastor or a caring […]

From Insider Community to Inclusive Church

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director Yes, a church is a community, but is a community a church? In an interview, this week with Pastor Mike Louia of First Lutheran Church in Ellicott City, MD, a congregation on the LEAD Journey, truth was named. Pastor Mike said: I will know we are truly being church […]

#metoo@church?

By Peggy Hahn, Executive Director of LEAD Sometimes the truth hits a little too close to home. What happens when the sanctuary isn’t a safe place? Don’t live in la-la land. Sexual assault is not just a scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. It is not a Facebook gimmick. Sexual assault is real and has […]

Selah

SELAH… A word found over 71 times in 39 of the Psalms and three times in Habakkuk 3. It is the last word of Psalms 3, 24, and 46, and in most other cases, it comes at the end of a verse (the exceptions being Psalms 55:19, 57:3, and Hab. 3:3, 9, 13). SELAH… A word not fully understood, […]

Is it hot enough for you?

by Peggy Hahn, Executive Director, LEAD As leaders, we have our hands on the thermostat when it comes to leading change in our circles of influence and managing the heat may be our number one work. The perfect temperature is right before the pot starts to boil! (That sweet spot between simmering and boiling over.) […]

Dying Church?

by Pastor David Hansen, LEAD’s Director of Communication and Innovation This blogpost was originally published on David’s blog: digitalpastor.org I am always looking for a new book to read – something that will help me to grow both in my own faith and as the pastor of a faith community. Sometimes when I ask for recommendations, […]

Joy in Stopping

by Pastor David Hansen, LEAD’s Director of Communication and Innovation The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us that “for everything there is a season …” From time to time, one of the gifts of ministry is healthy stretching. Trying new things. Achieving more than we thought possible. Exploring different ways of doing ministry together. But at […]

LEAD Intern Reflection

by Cassandra Nagle, LEAD Intern My goal as I pursue seminary is to be able to develop as a leader who understands the breadth and depth of Christian ministry. The LEAD Intern program allowed me the opportunity to interact with a church whose ministry partners and congregational leaders taught me about, guided me within, and […]

Developing a Statement of Theology

  Who We Are, What We Value, and How We Show Up in the World By Rozella H. White, LEAD Consultant This past June, LEAD held a three-day retreat that gathered staff from around the country. The LEAD staff is made up of part time, full time, contract, and volunteer staff representing five states and […]

The Year in Review – or at least the first half

Did you know that LEAD has been sending out a newsletter every week for over 4 years? It’s true! And each week, the feature article (200+ at last count) is posted to the LEAD website where you can access them any time. Here are 2017’s articles to-date. We invite you to revisit your favorites or […]

Chicken and Eggs: A Tale of Mindfulness

By Lynn Willis, Spiritual Director – LEAD A while back, I listened to Chris Markert who is a Lutheran Franciscan – a modern monastic. I asked him about his vow of poverty. What does that look like? Do you, for example, buy the 99 cents per dozen eggs so that you live on the least […]

Joy in Finding the Right Resources

by Pastor David Hansen, LEAD’s Director of Communication and Innovation Every ministry leader we know is looking. Lay or ordained, professional or volunteer, they are all looking. Looking for one resource or another to help them move to the next step in their ministry. We know how hard and how frustrating that search can be. […]