Posts Categorized: discernment

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 »

The Church for Today

Are you ready for hybrid online/in-person worship? The next phase your church needs to consider  by Richard Hong  Sunday morning has become a stressful time for so many pastors who never imagined that their job would involve being an AV tech. “Hallelujah!” is the cry when the internet connection stays up and Zoom properly connects to… 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

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

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 »

Hopeful Church

  Church leadership bedrocks Are we leading out of expectations or principles? by N. Graham Standish   I’ve been working with a pastor for a number of years, helping him invigorate a somewhat stagnant church. We’ve talked about a lot in the process, and the results of our conversations are showing signs of breathing new… Read more »

Hopeful Church

Leading Like Water, not Like Lava:  Is our church leadership fluid or frozen?  by N. Graham Standish   For a number of years I’ve been advising people to “lead more like water and less like lava.” Whenever I do people often look at me as dogs do when they hear a funny noise — ears… Read more »