Network Blog

  • Fuzzy boundaries

    Apr 04, 2016 | Pastoral Excellence Network

    By Dan Hotchkiss | In too many congregations, leaders actually believe that partnership works best when boundaries of authority are fuzzy. Terms like shared leadership have become popular in recent decades, for reasons some of which, that are understandable and sound. Traditional modes of congregational life, where men dominated women, clergy dominated laity, and wealthy people dominated everybody, have fallen out of sync with the egalitarian principles, not only of congregations but also of society at large.

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  • The graces and gifts of young new clergy

    Mar 04, 2016 | Pastoral Excellence Network

    By Kim Gage Ryan | Young pastors bring their enthusiasm, savvy and entrepreneurial creativity into congregational ministries. For 15 years, Bethany Fellows has been supporting the growth of young pastors from seminary to sustained congregational ministry. Along the way, we’ve learned important reciprocal lessons about the development of spiritual leaders.

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  • Mordecai the mentor: A reflection on Esther 2:7-11

    Feb 25, 2016 | Pastoral Excellence Network

    By Erica Witaker | When you think of mentors in the bible your mind does not automatically go to Mordecai. He’s probably not your top five or top ten pick, but then again most good mentors are never well-known.

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  • Pulling over, stopping, making a U-turn: ministry at mid-career

    Feb 09, 2016 | Pastoral Excellence Network

    By Lawrence Peers | Ministry does not come with a GPS. Sometimes we are far down a path before we realize that we are off course and need to redirect our energies. Sometimes we come to a screeching stop. Sometimes we get reminders from congregants, colleagues or the Spirit that we need to make a U-turn. Sometimes it feels like we are on course.

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  • When affirmation isn’t enough

    Jan 05, 2016 | Pastoral Excellence Network

    One can preach a lousy sermon and still receive the kindest greeting at the door. “Good sermon, Pastor.” I know this line and the warm feeling that accompanies it from firsthand experience. I have preached my own fair share of sub par sermons in 30 years of ministry, and each time there have been a handful of lovely and affirming parishioners uttering these friendly words afterward.

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