Top Ten “Leading Ideas” Articles of 2014


logo-lewis center
What Leading Ideas subjects are trending this year? We have assembled this list to give you another opportunity to glean insight and inspiration from the authors and articles most popular with our 15,000-plus subscribers.
Small congregations sometimes assume that any significant community ministry is beyond their reach. But author and consultant Joy Skjegstad outlines how small congregations can develop community ministries that make an impact by playing to their strengths. Read more.
After attending a lackluster Sunday morning Mass during a family beach vacation, Father Michael White recounts the ways the service communicated to visitors that they did not belong and failed to serve its primary objective of conveying the living Word of God. Read more.
Focusing too much on the liturgical correctness of colors and songs used during Advent is irrelevant, says Pastor Keith Anderson, and it detracts from the importance of announcing Advent as a time of invitation to waiting, longing, love, and incarnation.Read more.
One of the greatest challenges to the church today is its lack of connection to community, says Pastor Joe Daniels. Vital churches focus outward, engaging their communities — not only to serve — but to build relationships and make disciples. Read more.
Lewis Center Director Lovett H. Weems, Jr. explains why it is so very difficult, yet so necessary, for churches to move beyond programs and practices that no longer connect to current needs and objectives. Read more.
Noting that the first two minutes are critically important, Brian Bauknight asks why our worship services can’t start with a joyful, enthusiastic, and genuinely appreciative opening — the way “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon does. Read more.
Worship is no longer as strong a mechanism for engaging new people as it once was, according to authors Doug Powe and Jasmine Smothers. Ministries such as missions, small groups, and child-care programs are becoming vital places of welcome and connection. Read more.
On Ash Wednesday, Pastor Yvi Martin offered imposition of ashes in a local coffee house. She describes how this was a meaningful way for her church members to begin Lent and a witness that reached many others. Read more.
Faith Communities Today issued a study of congregations that have succeeded in attracting significant numbers of young adults. Their research suggests some “dos” and “don’ts” for congregations seeking to engage young adults. Read more.
What should pastors do about their social media relationships when moving from one church to the next? Pastor Thomas James and Lewis Center Director Lovett H. Weems, Jr., offer advice on managing social media relationships in appropriate and sensitive ways during pastoral transitions. Read more.
The Lewis Center for Church Leadership is located in Washington, DC at Wesley Theological Seminary. The Director is Dr. Lovett Weems. SUBSCRIBE to Leading Ideas

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at


  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.