Posts By: N. Graham Standish

Hopeful Church

The smallest things Can make the biggest difference by N. Graham Standish    “He never follows through,” the church member complained. “What do you mean?” I asked. “He’ll call and say he’s going to drop by the hospital, or check up on us later, or send us something, but he never does. I think that’s… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Can we be missional if we have dirty bathrooms? Our mission is only as good as our church community by N. Graham Standish   Over the past few months I’ve been working with a pastor enrolled in a missional church certificate program intended to transform his church. He’s frustrated. He loves learning new ideas for… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Don’t Just Inform … Form Are we stuck in informational churches? by N. Graham Standish    “Yes! This is what’s missing in the church. This is what I’ve been seeking.” It was my first year of doctoral studies in spirituality. I was immersed in the spiritual classics course, a three-semester deep dive into the writings of Christian… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Stop telling them what you believe… Tell them why you believe by N. Graham Standish  I was knee-deep into listening on the phone to a potential church visitor when I had a sudden insight: We keep telling people WHAT we believe. What we really need to do is tell them WHY we believe. The man… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Sabotaging with hope by N. Graham Standish   “Tim, will you please stop sabotaging this meeting with hope?!” I couldn’t stifle my guffaw as a clergy client shared his recent finance committee experience. Incredibly, it’s what a committee member yelled at him before walking out of the meeting. Tim has been leading his church through revitalization… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Transforming worship from third person to first person Do we care what people are experiencing in worship?  by N. Graham Standish      What’s the most taboo topic in ministry, that one topic that neither pastors nor members like to talk about? Transforming worship. Failing to transform our worship is the main cause for our decline…. Read more »

Hopeful Church

Are we leading with our whole brains? Overcoming half-brained leadership by N. Graham Standish  Is your leadership whole-brained or merely half-brained? Even more, is the mainline church decline really a matter of our being a bit too half-brained? Back when I was in high school there was a book that was the rage for a… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Are We Undone by Our Expectations? by N. Graham Standish  Years ago I worked with a deeply frustrated pastor. We’ll call him Wes. He couldn’t get his church to engage in almost any meaningful ministry or mission. A dinner to support a missionary? Too few signed up. Being more involved in the local food cupboard?… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Does our leadership heal . . . or inflict pain? by N. Graham Standish  I recently talked with a frustrated and disappointed pastor who was in tremendous pain over her struggling church. As I listened to her story, I suddenly had an insight: Perhaps everyone who comes to church is in pain. Perhaps everyone who… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Building on a Blessed Community Recognizing the Church’s True Center by Graham Standish Years ago I read a quote by the Quaker mystic, Thomas Kelly, that changed my ministry: “Yet ever within that Society, and ever within the Christian church, has existed the Holy Fellowship, the Blessed Community, an ekklesiola in ekklesia, a little church… Read more »