Today’s polarized climate often frustrates leaders in their efforts to bring about meaningful and lasting change within their congregations and communities. Opposition can rise quickly and unexpectedly even to seemingly benign initiatives and programs. 

So how do we help lead change in this environment?

In today’s Weekly, we hear first from Luke Bretherton, a professor at Duke Divinity School, about what he’s learning from his new podcast in which he talks to community organizers about their strategy and tactics. We also hear from New City Church in Minnesota and how a congregation that grows together then protests together. We’ll also head to South Carolina to learn from New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church and its pastor about their ministry of rehabbing hate even in — perhaps, especially in — polarized times. 

Leading change in our congregations and our communities is our focus this week. Welcome to the Weekly! 


Bringing about faithful change in a polarized world

Bringing about faithful change in a polarized world

Duke Divinity professor Luke Bretherton interviews community organizers in a podcast that both explains and models the democratizing power of organizing in marginalized communities. In this Q&A, he talks about the aims of the podcast and why the church should take part in community organizing.


A church that grows together protests together

The Rev. Tyler Sit says God gave New City Church in Minneapolis three years to prepare for the uprising that erupted after the police killing of George Floyd. Yet, no matter how much time they had, they were unprepared for what their community would be like in the wake of his death.


Rehabbing hate, a pastor's lifelong ministry of protest and hope

Rehabbing hate, a minister’s lifelong ministry of protest and hope

“God gave me a spirit to stand against the world and to stand up for the worst of us, the least of us. I love to find meaning in the suffering. I work better, I act better, I hope better,” says the Rev. David Kennedy of New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church. Read about his fight for justice and transformation.


From the Alban Library

Leadership in Congregations

edited by Richard Bass

Leadership in Congregations

This 2006 book in Alban’s “Harvesting the Learnings” series gathers the collected wisdom of over 10 years of Alban research and reflection on what it means to be a leader in a congregation, how our perceptions of leadership are changing, and exciting new directions for leadership in the future.

With pieces by such diverse church leaders as Graham Standish, Diana Butler Bass, Jeffrey Jones, Donna Schaper, Gil Rendle, Ann Svennungsen, Mark Lau Branson and many others, this volume gathers in one place a variety of essays that approach the leadership task and challenge with insight, depth, humor and imagination.

Based in research and experience, this volume makes available the best of Alban’s learning on how the leaders of congregations can go about this important work. 


Before you go…

In this moment, when so many organizations and congregations are finding it necessary but difficult to change, we need faithful and effective leaders to help guide those processes. It isn’t easy — it’s never easy — but it is meaningful work. I’m grateful for the inspiring examples in this Weekly of people who are committed to that work in the world, even in the face of opposition and polarization.

Until next week, peace to you!

Nathan Kirkpatrick

Managing Director, Alban at Duke Divinity

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