THE TOP TEN ALBAN WEEKLY ARTICLES OF 2009 (SO FAR)
Number 1: The Power of Feelings by William M. Kondrath
William Kondrath paints an illustration of the power of feelings and the tendency of most groups to ignore feelings and focus on intellectual or cognitive explanations for nearly everything. Once his congregation explored their feelings, they were transformed into a tighter community that worked together more effectively.
Number 2: Funeral Evangelism by Gary and Kim Shockley
Read what happens when pastor Gary Shockley and his wife Kim approach the community around their congregation in an unusual way. By opening their church to funerals, they found that people came for all manner of things.
Number 3: Ways to Pray in a Board Meeting by Charles M. Olsen
Are the prayers in your church board meeting perfunctory, book-end prayers? Charles M. Olsen takes readers through eight different ways to bring prayer into your board meeting and create a “meetings are worship” atmosphere.
Number 4: Worship Is Mission by Craig A. Satterlee
Frustrated that he was failing at what he had been called to do by his new congregation—“help our church to grow”—pastor Craig A. Satterlee realized he had to give away all he thought he knew about successful pastors and growing churches and trust God to work through the things the church does in worship.
Number 5: Ministry in Hard Times by Dan Hotchkiss
Many people like to think religion is countercyclical—that people cling to it when other sources of support fail. Dan Hotchkiss argues that while religion may be countercyclical, organized religion may not be. In this article, he lays out ways for congregations to approach their budgets in times of decline.
Number 6: Maundy Thursday by Craig A. Satterlee
While pastoring a failing congregation, Craig A. Satterlee learned what true active participation means. Through their struggles, he and his congregation went from needing to understand worship in order to participate in it to needing to participate in worship in order to understand it.
Number 7: Plans, Prayers, and Possibilities by N. Graham Standish
Feeling responsible to lead his church through a time of transition in which the old ways no longer made sense and the new ways were not yet clear, Graham Standish embraced a kind of leadership that is able to anticipate the future while simultaneously discerning God’s path for getting there.
Number 8: Who Locked the Gates? by Gary Shockley
Does your congregation welcome newcomers? You may think so, but Gary Shockley shows several ways in which church members inadvertantly make “unaffiliated” people feel unwelcome. He encourages pastors to stop being gatekeepers and to become bridge-builders instead.
Number 9: A Place that Offers Life by Daniel P. Smith and Mary K. Sellon
When a congregation is declining, is it the pastor’s job to fix it? Daniel Smith and Mary Sellon argue that congregational health is a function of how people in the congregation relate to one another, to God, and to their community, and not the sole responsibility of the pastor.
Number 10: Green Eyeshades and Rose-Colored Glasses by Dan Hotchkiss
“It can’t be done” versus “Anything is possible.” Aaron versus Moses. Green eyeshades versus rose-colored glasses. In this article, Dan Hotchkiss reveals how to recognize which camp you’re in while also understanding the other side and working together to find a solution to budgetary problems.
TOP FOUR BOOKS OF 2009
God’s Tapestry: Understanding and Celebrating Differences
by William M. Kondrath
Theologically and ecologically, differences foster life and growth, but discord within denominations and congregations frequently has to do with the inability of individuals and groups to deeply understand and value differences. In God’s Tapestry, Kondrath shows us how to embrace our true multiculturalism. He demonstrates a threefold process for becoming multicultural: recognizing our differences; understanding those differences and their significance and consequences; and valuing and celebrating those differences .
Imagining Church: Seeing Hope in a World of Change
by Gary and Kim Shockley
Drawing on their more than thirty years of pastoral and church consulting experience, the Shockleys illustrate the power of imagination using personal stories born of their own quest to be faithful in ministry. They also show readers that imagining church is a shared experience among God’s people. When we imagine the church–form a mental image of what we believe the church is and ought to be–we are co-creators with the Master Designer, Chief Architect, and Greatest Creator, and can help others imagine church. They remind leaders, “If you can’t see it, neither will anyone else .”
Transforming Church Boards into Communities of Spritual Leaders
by Charles M. Olsen
Olsen presents a bold vision of leadership-one that offers church board work as an integral part of congregational leaders’ faith experience and development. Board or council members’ faith is engaged and informs the way they conduct the church’s business. Discover inspiring, practical ways your board can make its meetings become opportunities for deepening faith, developing leadership, and ultimately renewing your church.
When God Speaks through Worship: Stories Congregations Live By
by Craig A. Satterlee
When God Speaks through Worship: Stories Congregations Live By is a collection of stories of congregational worship in which God’s ongoing presence, speech, and activity are apparent. These stories of proclaiming the gospel, teaching the faith, praying, singing, baptizing, blessing, and sharing bread and wine in Jesus’s name share the purpose of these activities in worship, yet still challenge the reader to explore the motives behind them.