Three weeks ago this morning my plane from Liberia by way of Ghana touched down in New York. My adventure had come to a close and on the very long overnight flight I once again got used to things like toilets that flush, drinks with ice and in-flight movies (by the way, The Butler is […]

Camphor Mission, Church Finance, Church Leadership

March 17, 2014

Bringing Things Into Focus

If you’re a regular reader of this space you know that missions are important to me.  In fact, if I could only have the church do one thing, I would skip worship, Sunday School and (gasp!) even committee meetings and just do missions.  But clearly missions would be more difficult without the other things. How […]

Church Finance, Church Leadership, Stewardship

February 3, 2014

Wanted: something big, hairy and audacious

It was reported to be the largest gathering of world leaders in history.  The funeral services for Nelson Mandela were held in a cold rain in a soccer stadium, but a hundred thousand or so people still came out to celebrate his life and mourn his loss. His contributions went beyond partisan politics and redefined […]

Church Leadership

December 16, 2013

Nelson Mandela and Methodist Missions

I had a great consultation last week with a pastor who had an interesting dilemma, one that many wish they were in.  The church was about to receive a significant bequest from a member and he was looking for some guidance before meeting with the family to discuss its best use in ministry. I, of […]

Church Finance, Church Leadership, Endowments, Stewardship

December 9, 2013

Investing Found Money

An estimated $16 billion dollars was embezzled worldwide by those in charge of churches and religious organizations in the year 2000. That’s according to Janet Jamieson, a member of the accounting faculty at the University of Dubuque and an expert on finances in local United Methodist churches. She’s also married to Phil Jamieson, an elder […]

Church Finance, Church Leadership

October 7, 2013

Trust your neighbor but cut the cards

Did you notice that this year at Annual Conference we lost 37-4?  No, that’s not the score of the competition between the Bishop’s Cabinet and the Youth.  That was the retirement/ordination score.  We retired 37 elders this summer and ordained just 4 new ones who were under age 35.  To be fair, we also ordained […]

Church Leadership

August 5, 2013

Losing 37-4

  Everyone talks about leaving a better planet for the children.  Why nobody tries to leave better children to the planet? That’s one of my favorite quotes, and as a parent of two above average teenagers, it is one that I have taken to heart for the last 16 years. We do an awful lot […]

Church Finance, Church Leadership, Stewardship

June 10, 2013

Raising up them kids

Gordon Gee, the bowtie wearing President of The Ohio State University, has announced his pending retirement. Too bad. Don’t get me wrong, Dr. Gee has a brutal schedule and if he’d rather spend his days playing golf and sipping a lemonade in a rocking chair on his front porch, I don’t blame him.  But this […]

Church Finance, Church Leadership

June 5, 2013

A Lesson From Bricker Hall

I just finished doing two Consecration Sunday programs. I finished the first one and they reported an average increase of 25% in their pledges. I figured there was no way I could ever beat that. But the next week the second church reported an average increase of 26% in the pledges received. So what’s the […]

Church Finance, Church Leadership

May 14, 2013

How to increase your giving 25% the easy way

I spend a lot of time listening to people who are smarter than I am. Perhaps because there are so many of them out there! Marcus Buckingham is a pretty smart guy and a management guru. One of his basics is that we need to do a self-assessment and figure out what our strengths are […]

Church Finance, Church Leadership, Stewardship

April 22, 2013

Getting stronger by focusing on strength