Effective Leadership

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How to Playfully Remember God’s Story

Invite your congregation to experience Scripture
How to Playfully Remember God’s Story

In this series, I’ve considered the importance of playing with Scripture and the significance of public Scripture reading as a time for communal remembrance of God’s actions in history. Now in this final segment, I’ll provide some practical ways to heighten the communal experience of hearing Scripture in worship.

First, if Scripture is usually read by ...

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Playing with Scripture Helps Us Remember

God’s people must never forget what God has done
Playing with Scripture Helps Us Remember

We don’t need examples of how we are forgetful people. I’m reminded of my forgetfulness every time I go to the basement and stand there because I’ve forgotten what I wanted to get. On occasion I’ve met people with impeccable memories, who remember things like what I was wearing the first time we met. This astonishes me. I am good at remembering which ...

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Playing with Scripture

Make the Bible come alive to transform worship
Playing with Scripture

“Play!” a theatre director once instructed me. “That’s why it’s called a play!” I can’t remember in which play I was told to play, but I was given freedom to play, and for me that was enough. I don’t know about you, but I love playing.

In Jaco Hamman’s book Becoming a Pastor: Forming Self and Soul for Ministry, he ...

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How to Pray for Your Congregation

To support your people in prayer, focus on who God is
How to Pray for Your Congregation

When I helped my husband plant a church 30 years ago, I wanted to bathe the effort, and especially the people, in prayer. I felt that unless God was intimately involved in each person’s life, little we did would matter.

In the early days of our church, we were only about a dozen or so families, so it was fairly easy to pray specifically for each of them. I would ...

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Using Your Head, Igniting Your Heart

Teaching others to love God’s Word
Using Your Head, Igniting Your Heart

I love the Bible. I find it instructive and authoritative for my life. I find comfort and correction and challenge in the pages of God’s Word. I have a Bible on my phone, on my desk, and on my bedside table, and you probably do too. Years of seminary and ministry have taught me that I cannot lead or love very well without spending time with God through his Word.

I ...

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No Substitute for Scripture

The downside of inviting new Christians to church
No Substitute for Scripture

Your neighbor who has long avoided you is now eager to know what it means to follow Christ. She can no longer tolerate her life of pain. She’s admired your life from a distance and she wants to ask Jesus to come into her heart. You lead her through the sinner’s prayer—and together you both rejoice as she will embark on a whole new journey. What happens ...

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The Church that Cliques

There is nothing godly about groups that exclude others
The Church that Cliques

My husband and I were visiting a church while out of town. Upon arrival we noticed very quickly we were not greeted with friendly faces. After making it inside, an elder introduced us and helped us find children's church then walked us into the sanctuary. During the meet and greet, my husband and I were greeted by the person in front of us, we turned to the person behind ...

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Alone in Marriage

How church leaders can support spiritually single women
Alone in Marriage

Married, spiritually single women may be the most underserved segment of the church, primarily because many church leaders don’t understand how best to support them. As a woman whose husband doesn’t share her faith, I’ve learned that church leaders play a pivotal role in the lives of spiritually single women—for good or for bad.

Here is an honest, ...

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Unprepared for the Unchurched

When we’re not ready, new believers slip through the cracks
Unprepared for the Unchurched

It’s true…I have been called naive.

Several years ago when my purse was stolen in broad daylight, we found out the police officer wrote in her report that my husband and I seemed very naive. And you know what? She was right. My husband and I were naive to the invasiveness of that experience. We were unsuspecting people!

What I never expected to discover ...

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All Things to All People?

We can’t keep everyone happy, and it’s torture to try
All Things to All People?

For several years now, I’ve participated in a private Facebook group for women in theology and biblical studies. The group started with some of my friends from graduate school and now has more than 450 members—professors, grad students, seminarians, and pastors. We ask pedagogical questions like “What readings should I assign in my intro theology class?” ...

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Ideas for Women's MinistryDoes the Bible Really Say I Can’t Teach Men?How to Playfully Remember God’s StoryPlaying with Scripture Helps Us Remember