Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Attending Leadership Institute at Church of the Resurrection

Last week two folks from Chain of Lakes Church and I attended the Leadership Institute in Kansas City that was put on by United Methodist Church of the Resurrection (COR). COR is the largest Methodist congregation in the United States. The church started in 1990 and today has approximately 14,000 members.

This is the fourth time I’ve attended Leadership Institute, and the first time I’ve brought people from the church I serve. At Leadership Institute COR literally opens up their church for outsiders to observe. Through large group presentations and workshops led by people at the church, we participants can learn almost anything we want to know about how COR does church.

I brought back too many ideas to share in a short blog, but let me share a few. In a workshop called, “CATCH: Attracting and Connecting Visitors” (and who doesn’t want to attract and connect visitors??) the leader encouraged every church to be clear about three questions. The questions are 1) Why do people need Jesus Christ; 2) Why do people need the church; 3) Why do people need this particular church. These are simple questions, but how a congregation answers these questions will help determine the character of the church’s ministry.

I was especially touched by a video that was shared by Sue Nilson Kibby who works at Ginghamsburg Methodist Church in Ohio. She had a video crew ask people the dreams for their lives. After the person shared their dreams, the person was asked what specific step he or she is taking to live out their dreams. Everyone interviewed answered the question by basically saying “nothing.” How sad it was to see people living with unfulfilled dreams. Seeing that video re-ignited my desire to help people to fulfill their dreams in their life. I’m going to share a sermon series later this month called, “Fulfilling God’s dreams.”

Steve Hawn from Hallmark gave a talk on the strategic decisions that Hallmark has made to change its company. Their research has revealed that people now spend an average of 18 hours a week on the Internet compared to three hours a week a few years ago. He said that this time has to come from other activities that people previously did. Their research showed that people spend less time in retail stores and less time in church.

Though this is disturbing, Hallmark is taking this change of environment to change its strategy. One of the objectives at Hallmark is “staying relevant in a changing world.” Three important steps towards change that he mentioned are 1) Establish a sense of urgency; 2) Rally people around the vision; 3) Create short-term wins. These steps are taken from John Kotter’s book “Leading Change.”

At the end of the conference we were encouraged to write on a sticky note three ideas that we want to implement in our local congregations. The above picture has the sticky notes that one group shared. My three ideas are:
1) Deepen community among young adults at Chain of Lakes
2) Give our Christmas Eve offering to an outside organization
3) Call people servants instead of volunteers.
We’ll see how the Spirit works at Chain of Lakes with these ideas!

Next year I’m hoping that we take a group of ten to Leadership Institute. I highly recommend the conference.

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