Reviving the Congregation

Reviving the Congregation: Pastoral Leadership in a Changing Context

Michael W. Foss
Copyright Date: 2014
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  • Book Info
    Reviving the Congregation
    Book Description:

    Pastoral leadership has always been challenging, but clergy and parish leaders today face unprecedented challenges, many of which simply didn’t exist a generation ago. The questions of ministry and leadership in the church today range broadly across the financial and the managerial, the spiritual and the interpersonal. In such a time, a wise mentor who can articulate a way forward for others is an immeasurable help. In Reviving the Congregation, Michael W. Foss, best-selling author of Power Surge, steps forward as that mentor. Bringing decades of experience in congregational life and leadership and a winsome style to the work, Foss offers a compelling introduction to the new context in which we lead, and the personal and congregational strategies that will offer a way forward. Reviving the Congregation is rooted in Foss’s own experience, but it is open to all through questions for reflection, space for notes and journaling, and an extended bibliography for further reading.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-8971-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. 1 Collision of Perspectives
    (pp. 1-14)

    The twenty-first century is an era of paradox for the local congregation. On the one hand, most homes in the United States have Bibles and revere them as the word of God. On the other hand, most adults in this country do not read the Bible. Most of them form their understanding of what the church believes through either the exaggerated exposés of the media or through limited personal experience. The spiritual hunger of our time is, I believe, great—but few adults identify the local congregation as a place where that hunger can be met in a spirit of...

  4. 2 The Pastor’s Soul: Leaning on Grace
    (pp. 15-52)

    Faith that is put into practice is a living faith. The life of discipleship begins in the mind and heart of the leader, and then becomes the foundation upon which ministry is built. In this chapter, I will identify and demonstrate the practices of discipleship. This is not a complete explication of the many ways they can be practiced. Rather, I invite the reader into the inner journey of the soul. This is the invitation of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. This is also the “inside-out” leadership that will stand the test of time.

    I hope the reader will see...

  5. 3 The Pastor’s Vision
    (pp. 53-66)

    The pastor’s inner foundation, discussed in the previous chapter, becomes the platform for effective ministry with the people of God. Faithful and fruitful ministry in the twenty-first century will call for vision, mission, and culture formation within the congregation. The vision is the destination, the end toward which a ministry is directed. The strategy for achieving that vision is the people in mission. Such a dynamic process will require respectful listening as well as clear articulation. A clear vision will inspire energy and effort in those who choose to follow. The result will be that the vision will become greater...

  6. 4 The Church’s Environment
    (pp. 67-78)

    How people outside the church see the church will shape their idea of what that congregation is like. If the physical appearance of the buildings is worn and the inside cluttered, those who come to that church will make judgments about the congregation—for example, that the congregation is in decline or unable to pay the bills necessary to make the property attractive. These assumptions may not be accurate at all, but the perception is the reality for people outside the church. We need to look with “outside eyes” at how we present ourselves to the community at large, so...

  7. 5 The Ministry of the People
    (pp. 79-92)

    The priesthood of all believers is more than a theological idea. Opening the church to new ideas and ministries within the identifiable vision and mission of the congregation enlivens the church.

    In this chapter, I invite the reader to envision and then work toward a congregation that is permission-giving in ministry, not permission-withholding.

    Appropriate and healthy boundaries can be established and exercised in a permission-giving ministry. These are made clear through specific expectations and a system of accountability.

    We read in the Letter to the Ephesians, “The gifts [Christ] gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists,...

  8. 6 Three Keys to Effective Ministry
    (pp. 93-104)

    Leadership is, admittedly, hard work. That work can be sustained as leaders focus on building and sustaining three things: enthusiasm, focus, and momentum. These are first sequential, and subsequently circular. Enthusiasm is the energy to make useful change and build on the best of the past. Focus directs that energy so that it can be maximized to accomplish so much more than the scattered energy of various efforts can. Momentum is the result of these two at work within a congregation. Momentum will, in turn, feed the enthusiasm and reinforce the focus of the ministry. I hope this chapter will...

  9. 7 Culture Change: The Value of Persistence
    (pp. 105-122)

    Congregations can be noisy organizations. The noise can come from unavoidable conflict and disagreement, which is experienced as resistance. Resistance is an unavoidable by-product of leadership. If pastors and leaders understand it this way, they will be better equipped to both handle and address it. Besides resistance, there is another source of noise in the congregation: lack of clear values. Every institution has core values. These values may not be clearly stated, but they are implemented in making the significant decisions and in the common interactions of the member/disciples of each church. Identifying the core values at work within a...

  10. List of Works Cited
    (pp. 123-123)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 124-124)