Posts By: N. Graham Standish

Hopeful Church

Is healing at the core of our congregations? by N. Graham Standish As a seminary student I heard a constant refrain from our professors: Jesus came to preach and teach. It was the pretext underlying our whole seminary education as they trained us to preach and teach. It made sense to me. Isn’t that what… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Finding meaning in times of crisis by N. Graham Standish Throughout the coronavirus pandemic I’ve been thinking a lot about Victor Frankl. It’s like he’s the answer to everything pastors especially are struggling with right now. I don’t know if you know who he is, or remember who he was, but he wrote a seminal… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Pastoring in viral times Are we harried or hopeful? by N. Graham Standish I met by video with a pastor the other day who told me how exhausted and overwhelmed ministering during this virus crisis has been. He’s struggled with figuring out what to do with worship and how to deal with new technologies of… Read more »

Hopeful Church

  How do we deal with dissenters? by N. Graham Standish The session was in the midst of a future-changing discussion. Our “Future of Worship” task force had given them their final proposal after spending 15 months discerning how to adapt our worship to a changing world. They had studied different kinds of worship and… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Spiritual experiences in church A ‘no’ or a ‘yes’?   by N. Graham Standish For years, when leading retreats and seminars on spiritually transforming congregations, I’ve often asked a revealing question: How would we react to someone who told us on a Sunday morning, “Hey, I want to share an amazing experience I had the… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Are we too religious to be spiritual? By N. Graham Standish  I’m a little bit obsessed with the phrase “spiritual but not religious.” I have been ever since I first said it about myself when I was in college: “Nah … I don’t go to church. I’m spiritual but not religious.” I still said this… Read more »

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 »