Whether you’re a preacher or a parishioner, receiving and giving sound feedback is important. Otherwise, how can any presenter or homilist improve? Many of our lay and clergy leaders are not sure how to gather helpful comments on their Sunday messages, their content, style and presence. To consider some ideas for critiquing read this article called, 5 Pro Tips On How To Get Amazing Sermon Feedback by Carey Nieuwhof



    A wise parishioner told me early in my ministry that Jesus said to feed his sheep. He didn’t say count them. It’s the first full week of the summer season and schools will soon be dismissed until fall. Cottages and campgrounds are open and Sunday worship attendance fluctuates. How can we savour the realities of this season with peace, as well as embrace the opportunities of summer visitors? Read this article from Faith and Leadership written by Laura Stern, entitled The church in summer -- the whistling, fluid body of Christ.



    Anglicans tend to find it difficult to talk about their faith to someone they know and love well. It seems that much more challenging to share the story of their spiritual walk with someone they don’t know. We want to be respectful, use the most effective words and do this authentically.  An article by Doug Powe, from the Lewis Centre for Church Leadership entitled, 6 Keys to Sharing the Gospel in a Pluralistic Culture, provides some key principles to doing this.


    Has anyone ever accused you of having an attitude? Well, truth be told, we all have them – good, bad and indifferent (and many shades in between). And there are complexities to attitudes - what they are based on and how they are nurtured. A healthy, realistic attitude is a good thing to have in a congregation. Read the article Encouraging Attitude Change in the Congregation, written by Dr. Peter Coutts for Alban at Duke University School.


    People have more leisure time during the summer season. Some are on vacation, or have fewer meetings and business-oriented activities to do. There’s time to read and to engage in fun community events. Some people find that the quieter summertime is quite lonely. A small group may be just the prescription for the down-time blahs.  Small gatherings of people for conversation, Bible study, prayer and fellowship don’t have to be held inside either. Take advantage of the fine weather and gather at a local park, an outdoor café, a beach, or on someone’s back deck. Read a couple of short articles for some summer small group ideas.


5 Ways Small Groups Can Handle Summer: Practical ideas beyond the meet or don’t meet debate by

Amy Jackson


6 Tips on How to Organize Your Own Summer Bible Study by Margaret Feinberg.



    Consider the first time guests you have to your parish on a Sunday morning. Some of them are new residents. Others may be visitors or tourists. Still others may have driven by your church and finally decided to come in. Many times our newcomers have been invited by congregation members. Research shows that worship guests are more likely to return if they have a relationship with an existing parishioner or are developing a friendship with them.


Here is an interesting article that outlines some important lessons about helping our congregation members do more inviting. 5 Reasons People Aren’t Inviting Friends To Your Church, written by Dan Reiland, The Pastor's Coach – Developing Church Leaders.



    Business or relationship? It is a real blessing to have so many community people using our church spaces. Whether it is the local Brownie group, Alcoholics Anonymous, Tae Kwon Do class or a family renting the hall for a baby shower, these are all opportunities to build relationships for mission. Read the Lewis Centre for Church Leadership article, “From Parking Lot to Pew: Turning Building Users into Worshipers” by Kay Kotan and Phil Schroeder.


    People manage their time differently today. We live in a 24/7 world whereby we can do just about anything just about any hour. For example, gone are the days of having to visit a store front bank during limited banking hours. Now we can bank, shop, order food, pay bills, watch movies, etc., at any hour. Unfortunately, that is not the case with most church worship. For many congregations our only service time is Sunday morning.How can we reimagine worship the other days and times of the week?


From Lewis Centre for Church Leadership, read “Moving Beyond Church in A Box,” by Carey Nieuwhof.


    Vital congregations have a variety of leaders who enthusiastically support missional ministry. There are so many opportunities in Churchland to serve and to make a difference in God’s Kingdom today, and every church needs more leaders. That is easier said than done. Here’s an article with a few key principles on how lay and clergy leaders can share ministry.  “4 Easy Steps To Healthy Delegation,” is written by Ron Edmondson


    What’s the difference between an ‘attractional church’ and a ‘missional church’? This is related to what former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams called “mixed economy” church – a variety of forms of traditional/inherited church alongside new congregations, called Fresh Expressions of church. Attractional congregations are our hub centres of worship, leadership, etc. For years newcomers were attracted and joined these faith communities, but they are not coming like they used to.


New missional congregations are the spaces and places outside of ‘regular’ church where new people can explore Christianity in their own context and in different ways. Research shows this is where Anglican church growth is occurring. Here’s a thought-provoking blog written by Ken Carter, the United Methodist Bishop appointed to the Florida Episcopal Area, related to attractional church and the end of home-field advantage.



    Your church website is the new front door. How many of us check websites for movie times, restaurant menus and for driving directions? More and more people are going online to explore congregations before they ever drive by your church. A website (or lack thereof) offers a first impression to potential newcomers. Read this article from Wycliffe College’s Institute of Evangelism (Ontario) by Joanna la Fleurcalled, “Your church website . . . through the eyes of a first-time visitor.”



    Here is an Easter season story of renewal and hope from a real-life Canadian, Anglican example of a congregation engaged in vitality and missional ministry. From the Institute of Evangelism, Wycliffe College Toronto’s newsletter, read Rev. Gerald Westcott’s story called A School of Love in South River, Newfoundland.


    Mission: There are no quick and simple solutions to doing this well. Genuine missional engagement involves the cultivation of authentic, organic, and consistent relationships that lead to intentional discipleship. It takes time and considerable effort, but the joy of seeing someone grow in their relationship with Christ is one of the greatest rewards in life. Read this article from Lewis Centre for Church Leadership by Junius B. Dotson, called “Missional Engagement: It’s All About Relationships.”


     Disciples make disciples. That is how each of us discovered faith. Someone introduced us to the God who loves us. How can we practically do this in a time when the topic of religion is a sensitive one? Read the Lewis Centre of Church Leadership article, “7 Steps for Making Disciples Through Relational Mentoring,” written by Ken Carter and Audrey Warren.


     Easter Sunday usually means welcoming new or infrequent guests to our worship. Take advantage of this opportunity by stepping up the hospitality and relationship-building within your congregation. Here are a couple articles with some simple tips.


Carolyn Moomaw Chilton is the Assistant for Evangelism and Stewardship at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia. Read her article, “9 Ways to Welcome Church Visitors on Easter.”


Also see, “10 Ways to Provide A Welcoming Environment for Your Guests this Easter,” by Juan Sanchez.


Many of our parishioners are avid Christian book readers. Here are a couple of good ideas about what to do with these faith-based titles. It’s a great way to share and to encourage Christian education in the church and wider community.

Ronnie Willerer, from Building Faith: a ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary, wrote this brief article called, “The Congregation That Reads Together: A book basket Enhances Adult Education.”

First Presbyterian Church parishioners picked up on the idea of Little Free Libraries. They now offer good reads and serve their community of Birmingham, MI. Here’s their website that explains what they did.


    When we read the New Testament we see that the formation and growth of disciples happens best in small groups. Jesus created small groups - Peter, James, and John, the 12 Apostles, and even his friendship group, Lazarus, Mary and Martha. The early church grew because of the authentic faith and gracious loving care within small groups.


Learn how to start up your own small group gathering when you read this Alban at Duke Divinity School article called, Inviting People into Small Groups.


   It’s not too late to embrace a Lenten spiritual discipline. Maybe your routine is getting a little stale or you want to try something fresh to help you dive deeper in your faith and relationship with God. Here are a few out-of-the-box ideas.

From our Anglican friends at Virginia Theological Seminary, read Carolyn Moomaw Chilton’s article, “This Lent Add Instead of Subtract

From Anglican Pastor and professor and priest, Rev. Winfield Bevins, “Fasting for Lent”

From and author, by Laura Gentry  “Three ways to add something for Lent.”



   Lenten spiritual practices of self-examination, giving up/taking up, are a great idea for congregations. Seasonal disciplines during Lent are an opportunity for churches to take an honest look at themselves, to undertake an inventory of what’s working and what’s not, then reset (re-orient) for vitality.  


Read the article, “A New Start in Lent,” written by Doug Powe, from the Lewis Centre for Church Leadership.


Be sure to check out the Related Resources at the bottom of the page too.


   St. Patrick’s Day is March 17. This is a day our secular society has embraced in a variety of ways, whether it be wearing green, decorating and consuming Shamrock-coloured beer. As a saint with ancient roots in Ireland, how can our congregations engage in celebrating and honouring this colourful Christian figure? Are there fun, educational and missional opportunities to explore with the wider community? Here are a variety of links to help with planning: 

For All the Saints - Missionary Bishop in Ireland, 461 — Memorial, page 110

Building Faith – Virginia Theological Seminary (Anglican) – St. Patrick, Building Faith the Celtic Way, Craft

Ministry to Children – St. Patrick’s Day Ideas

Faith and Worship (Methodist) - The Influence of the Celtic Church

Patrick of Ireland - Society of Archbishop Justus

United Methodist Church – Discipleship Ministries – St. Patrick’s Page  - St. Patrick’s background info

ST PATRICK: THE MISSIONAL LEADER - An interesting article by Jonathon K Dodson


Ready. Set. Go! A new round of Council meetings begins as parishes wrap up annual meetings.  There are a few fresh faces around the table and much potential in the agenda for the year ahead.  You have ministry dreams and require a few good men, women and youth. Read these articles about how to encourage greater congregational participation. 

4 Ways to Engage Busy People by Doug Powe

10 Strategies for Recruiting Church Workers by Chuck Lawless


   LENT begins Feb. 14. Whether you are part of a worship planning team, ACW, Men’s Breakfast, a small group leader or hosting a community all-ages event, here are some fresh ideas to consider. Amongst the links are instructions for things like:

Pancake Supper printable placemats (explains the Christian meaning of Shrove Tuesday = missional)

Living Well Through Lent 2018: Loving With All Your Heart, Soul, Strength, and Mind, A Living Compass Seasonal Resource – A scripture study/devotional available. Review a free SAMPLE of the first week.

Available at a very reasonable price (downloadable) from Amazon

#LiveLent 2018 – a daily devotional from The Church of England

Psalms Colouring Posters & Pages (from Illustrated Childrens Ministry)

Anglicans Online | Resources for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter

Lent, Holy Week & Easter Resources - Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada worship website


   Church councils and committees provide essential oversight and planning for the faith community. The role on these leadership teams is more important than ever! Opportunities for exploring new ways to connect people to faith, genuine Christian community and loving service have never been more needed in our communities. As we strive to be more missional in our congregations, we sense a fresh calling to approach ministry in exciting ways – using our unique gifts and interests to reach the world God loves. Read this article by The Rev. Canon Alissa Newton, from St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Kent, WA., about the vocation of serving on Parish Council and similar church bodies. “Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world's deep need.”


   Annual meeting time is here again. This is one of the most exciting times in history to be serving in church leadership. There are so many important decisions to be made about doing missional ministry and being wise stewards of all that our generous God has gifted to us. How can we make a difference in growing the Kingdom this year? Read this inspiring article written by Donald V. Romanik, president of the Episcopal Church Foundation, that outlines the joys of being on a Parish or Church Council, or what he calls “vestry”. (Be sure to share this link with your parishioner friends!)



   Lent arrives early this year, in just 5 weeks! Here’s a great link from Building Faith (A Ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary) to some resources to help you plan Lenten activities that will engage parishioners and hopefully, new people in things of faith. There’s something for all ages. Gather a few people and start planning now. This could be the best Lent ever!





   A new year, a fresh start!  How will things be different for you and your congregation this year? Chart a course for the way ahead by naming some of your hopes and dreams for 2018. Here are some ideas for your short list in this blogpost by Dr. James Emery White (


It’s called, “New Year's Resolutions for You and Your Church.”

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