Four people are sitting around a table with one man at the head of the table who is not facing the camera.

10 Metrics Instead of Butts and Bucks

Many of the metrics we use to define success in our congregations were made for another time and context. Track these 10 instead of butts and bucks.
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WHAT'S NEW

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The world is changing. 

Stay up to date on the latest research, resources, and reflections exploring how to cultivate Christian faith in the 21st century. 

EDITOR'S PICKS

The Power of the 'Don't Know' Mindset

The Power of the ‘Don’t Know’ Mindset

Find out why MicroGrants CEO Don Samuels says the willingness to "not know" is the first requirement in transforming the world.
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gold wrapped christmas present

Christmas Was Not Always Like This (Part Three: Christmas and Gift-Giving)

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How did gift-giving become synonymous with Christmas? Read the final chapter of our three-part series on the history of Christmas.
red holiday candles with lights

Christmas Was Not Always Like This (Part Two: Christmas in Early America)

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Not everyone celebrated Christmas in America's early colonies. Learn more about how Christmas became established in America in part two of our three-part series on the history of Christmas.
Christmas village

Christmas Was Not Always Like This (Part One: The Beginnings of Christmas)

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The story of how Christmas has been celebrated in Christian history contains surprises for most of us. Read the first of our three-part series on the history of Christmas.
cider and cocoa

Stewarding Congregational Wellness

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While our instinct for stewarding wellness tends to be for individuals, it should also apply to the congregation as a whole. Learn how to gauge your congregation's health and the actions you can take to improve it.
paintbrushes

How to Host an Intergenerational Art Event at Your Church

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This breakthrough practice is for anyone in your neighborhood to come together and share an experience around art.
faithful innovation training for church leaders

Learning to Listen – See Faithful Innovation in Action

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Training from Luther Seminary introduced faithful innovation concepts to two Wisconsin churches. Watch their story and learn more.
thank you card

The Ancient Art of Thanking

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Robert Hay, Jr. looks at the underestimated value of giving thanks to your church members, and how an old-fashioned hand-written note can build a stronger, more authentic relationship.
Mary Hess speaking at podium700x327 feature img3

Watch Mary Hess’ Boston College Presentation: “Finding Faith in the Maelstrom – Storytelling as a Source of Hope”

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"We know who we are in relation to God in large measure by the stories we share."
bible amidst plants and flowers

Lessons in Innovation from the Old Testament

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Cameron Howard points to the Old Testament as a valuable resource for understanding times of change and the need for innovation.
pumpkins in a pail

Cultivating God’s Expansive Generosity (Part Two)

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How do you turn generosity from a thought into a behavior? In part two of his look at generosity as discipleship, Larry Strenge examines the second and third shifts in mindset he feels are needed.
Philip, Ethiopian Eunuch, You and Me (Part Two)

Philip, Ethiopian Eunuch, You and Me (Part Two)

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Read part two of Rev. Dr. Stephanie Spellers inspirational, insightful, and winding journey of faith.
spilled apple basket

Cultivating God’s Expansive Generosity (Part One)

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In part one of a two-part series, Pastor Larry Strenge shares the first of three mindset shifts he sees as being necessary for cultivating generosity.
little league baseball game

How to Make Going to a Baseball Game a Meaningful Spiritual Practice

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This breakthrough practice helps you build community, show support for your neighbors, and experience God’s presence in daily life.
Philip, Ethiopian Eunuch, You and Me (Part One)

Philip, Ethiopian Eunuch, You and Me (Part One)

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For the Ethiopian eunuch, the Holy Spirit sent Philip. For Reverend Canon Dr. Stephanie Spellers, it was Lutherans. Learn more about her inspiring journey to Christianity.
house and piggy bank

Forgive Us Our Debt (Part Two)

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Does Good Debt = Good People? Read part two of Katherine Shaner's look at the difference God's grace can make in the way we think about our money and our debts.
storytelling

People Want to Tell Their Stories

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James Hazelwood, author of "Everyday Spirituality," reflects on the amazing response he received when he asked people to share their stories of spirituality.
mountainside cross

Immigration and Christianity: Walls, Exiles, and Migration

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Immigration is a top-of-mind issue in the U.S. and around the globe. What effect does it have on our faith lives? And in what ways are immigration issues addressed in the Bible? Learn more.
coffee cup and tax forms

Forgive Us Our Debt (Part One)

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Do our theologies suggest that balance sheets can never be the mark of our virtue, or even our value, within God’s economy?
Spiritual stories

How to Listen to Spiritual Stories from People Outside Your Congregation

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This breakthrough practice helps you deepen relationships with your neighbors by listening to their spiritual stories.
lightbulb in hand

Innovation: From Buzzword to Renewal

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As innovation becomes a buzzword, it’s easy for church leaders to reduce it to a trend. But how might it play a powerful role in renewal?

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Craft an Effective Sermon by Friday Ebook
Learn Lisa Cressman's five-day practice for "praying" an effective sermon into being.
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flowers over psalms

Understanding the Shifts in Stewardship

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Over the past twenty years or so, the stewardship landscape has shifted significantly.
How to Discern God's Presence from a Lawn Chair

How to Discern God’s Presence from a Lawn Chair

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This breakthrough practice helps you discern where the Holy Spirit is at work in your neighborhood--just by sitting and observing.
church congregation at worship

New Research on the Economic Practices of Congregations

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A new Study on Congregations' Economic Practices is being called "the largest and most comprehensive nationally representative study on money and congregations in over a generation." 
bible on table with vase

Becoming Aware of Our Abundance

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Bishop Erik Gronberg reflects on what he’s learned about stewardship health, given his lens as bishop in Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana.
How to Lead Dwelling in the Word with Michael Binder

How to Lead ‘Dwelling in the Word’

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An ancient spiritual practice that helps locate where God is active.
downward graph economic trend

Leading When the Economy Falters

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Every congregation is impacted by the ebbs and flows of the economy that surrounds it. Particularly when things change relatively fast, how do we respond?
How to Create a Neighborhood Prayer Station

How to Create a Neighborhood Prayer Station

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Try creating a neighborhood prayer station as a simple and effective way of connecting with your community.
man giving bread

The Gift of Generosity

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One of the sure markers of a steward is generosity. Not crazy,
Man jumping headfirst into tropical lagoon

10 ways to make your sermon more memorable

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"Doing something" with new information helps people remember better. Discover 10 ways to preach more memorable sermons by inviting action and staying confident in the gospel.
country church under the stars

Will the ELCA be Gone in 30 Years?

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New projections forecast just 16,000 in worship across the entire ELCA by 2041. Why is this happening and what can be done?
congregation prayer service

Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders

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For the last decade, The Lilly Endowment has been offering grants to
dollar bill pie chart

Personal Finance and the Church (Part 2)

Many of us may have been convinced by Pastor Greg Meyer’s convictions
Personal Finance and the Church (Part 1)

Personal Finance and the Church (Part 1)

In the church, we have long assumed that personal finance is a
giving hands

Defining the ‘Faith’ in Faith-Based Organizations

In his new book, God’s Internationalists: World Vision and the Age of
What's Really Causing Church Decline...and What We Can Do About It

What’s Really Causing Church Decline…and What We Can Do About It

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How can we renew the church's identity and help in join God's work in the 21st century?

RESEARCH

RESOURCES