Top Ten Leadership Lessons I’ve Learned (Ken Schenck)

By now most in the Seminary have heard that I am stepping down as Dean and going back to full-time teaching. I viewed becoming a Dean a calling and a ministry. It was also a great learning experience in leadership, gaining insights from the likes of Keith Drury, Wayne Schmidt, Russ Gunsalus, and colleagues like Bob Whitesel. As I was recently reflecting on some of the lessons I’ve learned, I boiled them down to 10. All these leadership lessons are transferable to pastoring. 10. There isn’t just one type of leader. Different situations call for different kinds of leaders, and individuals with different strengths can lead in different ways. 9. An effective leader leads from his or her strengths and manages weaknesses. We tend to get preoccupied with our weaknesses and waste a lot of time trying to improve them. But our time would be much more effectively used developing

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Break the Silence (Kwasi Kena)

I once lived in a condo community, which included the obligatory fees and membership in a home owners association (HOA). One day officers in the HOA sent a notice to all residents notifying us about a matter that required our vote. The first part of the notice contained the typical details one would expect to help owners vote intelligently on the matter. The last portion of the notice, however, contained an unexpected twist. It stated that “Any non-votes will be counted as ‘yes votes’ on this matter”. I couldn’t be believe it! If I did not vote, the HOA officers would consider that an affirmation of the proposed plan. Said differently, my silence was treated as if it were an action. How Would You Fill in the Blank? For several years I taught an oral communication course. In that class, we examined a communication phenomenon called “filtering and completing”. Here

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Concluding with a Cherry on Top (Dr. Luchetti)

I recently enjoyed the four-course Festa Italiana at the Olive Garden with my wife and some friends. The meal included an appetizer, unlimited soup and breadsticks, an entrée (Smoked Mozzarella Chicken for me), and a dessert. All of this was only $14.99! A steal of a deal if you ask me. I tried to convince Amy, my wife, to get the same deal but she resisted. Oh well, her loss. The Crispy Risotto Bites started the meal off with a bang. After an appetizer like that, my expectations for the entrée were high. I was not disappointed. The dining experience, up to this point, was delightful. Although my belly button was now flopping over the waste line of my jeans, I couldn’t wait to conclude with a delectable dessert. There’s always room for dessert, even when there’s not. The Festa Italiana included dessert and I didn’t want to be a

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Does Your Church Have a Sabbatical Leave Policy? (Charles Arn)

The role of pastor is extremely stressful. In effect he/she is never off duty. This long-term stress takes a toll emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Churches that want to keep their pastor for many years must provide him/her with a season of rest. I recommend that all full-time pastors and staff receive a three-month paid sabbatical every six or seven years. The Battle Wounded … Consider the following statistics[i]: 23% of pastors have been fired or pressured to resign at least once in their careers. 25% of pastors don’t know where to turn when they have a family or personal issue. 45% of pastors say that they have experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence. 56% of pastors’ spouses say that they have no close friends. 70% don’t have any close friends. 75% report severe stress causing anguish, worry, bewilderment, anger, depression, fear,

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Confessions of a Church-Hopping Pastor (Brannon Hancock)

My family’s transition to Marion, Indiana last summer afforded me an unprecedented opportunity. You see, I’m a Nazarene pastor’s kid who’s married to a Wesleyan pastor’s kid, and because God apparently has a sense of humor, my three kids are all pastor’s kids too. But all of this means that I’ve never been able to participate in one of American Christianity’s favorite pastimes: church-hopping. I love the church. I am both a teacher and a student of the church and her worship. Every time I visit a new church I learn something. So I relish every opportunity to experience the inside of a new church building, participate in a new worship service, sit under the preaching of a new pastor, and hopefully make some new friends. I’ve visited lots of churches throughout my life, but only occasionally – a Sunday here and a Sunday there – and I always had a home church

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More Than Toys, by Luigi Peñaranda

I love Christmas music. I realize a lot of the popular songs that fall under the category of “Christmas music” have nothing to do with the nativity of Jesus, but I still like them. I like listening to “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” “Santa Claus is coming to town,” “Feliz Navidad,” and “Mi burrito Sabanero.” I particularly enjoy listening to the Christmas albums by Michael Bublé, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Josh Groban. A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining Dr. Graciela Boruszko and her husband Samuel for a night of Villancicos (Latin-American Christmas Carols) at an event organized by the Division of Modern Languages at Indiana Wesleyan University. I must admit, I did not know most of the songs and, similar to what I mentioned about the genre of Christmas music, many of them were bad examples of what Christmas really means.

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Advent Reflections, by Safiyah Fosua

These familiar words signal the beginning of the Advent season. What started as a season of fasting and prayer and preparation has degenerated into a combination of a buying season and block party!  Originally it was not so. Advent’s history begins somewhere between 460 and 490 AD. It was one of two penitential seasons of the Church and lasted six weeks. The original date for the beginning of Advent was November 11. Over time, members of the church became weary of two seasons of fasting that were so close together and the season was shortened from six weeks to four. During the Medieval period, those four Sundays were used to remind the faithful of the four last things: death, judgment, heaven and hell. How would you like to have hell as the preaching theme the Sunday before Christmas? The four last things of the medieval period have been replaced with

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The Church – Hospice or Health? (Wayne Schmidt)

Over the past several months Wesley Seminary has been in the “pilot phase” of a new certificate in Church Revitalization.  Helping existing churches achieve greater health and missional vitality has been ranked as a high-priority means of “signature service” to the Church. It’s been a privilege during this developmental phase to talk with pastors, lay leaders, district and denominational officials as well as researchers.  Most of these individuals recognize that permeating North America with the good news of Jesus Christ will involve both the multiplication of new churches and sites as well as the revitalization of existing churches. Some denominations have initiated ways for churches to assess their vitality and create pathways of greater health.  One example is The Evangelical Covenant Church, which has a “Congregational Vitality” department devoted to this endeavor (www.covchurch.org/vitality/pulse).  They recognize that churches come in all sizes, ethnicities, locations and styles, but have identified four types

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The Integration Paper

Although improvements to our Seminary curriculum have inevitably resulted in some shuffling, Week 14 of each semester has often been the week where MDIV students take all the research they have done throughout the semester and written a position paper on a pastoral issue, bringing Bible, theology, and church history to bear on the topic. The task of speaking to the issues of our contexts is both amazingly simple and immensely complex. For the prophet, it is amazingly simple. God gives you a word and you share it. Amos had no theological education. He was a businessman doing some business when he got the word from God. Oh that it was always that simple! Many more of us are not prophets. We just think we are. We stand up in the pulpit or on Facebook and present our words from the Lord. But all we need to is bring in

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How to Improve Your Welcome (Charles Arn)

Some time ago my family and I moved to a new house and neighborhood, and in the process visited a number of churches in search of a new place to worship. The experience reminded me of how other newcomers must feel in visiting a church for the first time. New faces…new places …new spaces. The truth is, it’s not a particularly enjoyable experience! Here are a few simple ways you can increase the warmth of your church’s welcome; and, as a result, increase the number of first-time visitors who return…and stay. For Starters… Don’t call them “visitors.” According to Webster, a visitor is “…a person who resides temporarily; one who goes or comes to inspect; one who makes a short stay at a place for a particular purpose.” May I suggest you instead use the word guest, defined as: “a person welcomed into one’s house; a person to whom hospitality is

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