Category Archives: Uncategorized

Reforming the language of church leadership

I have become very sensitive to how the language of church leadership can reinforce a clergy-centric understanding of ministry in both subtle and not so subtle ways.  Feminist theology has helped reveal how language affects our theological world view and … Continue reading

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Lay Staff Salaries: The Elephant in the Room

For many congregations, there’s a simple dollars-and-cents logic to the shift toward more lay staffing.  One pastor responding to my research survey put it this bluntly:  “Lay staff is cheaper than ordained staff.” For the “price” of one clergy person … Continue reading

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Laity are the People of God

I once heard a highly regarded clergy leader refer to a particular individual as “an M.Div. who is just a layperson.”  Even worse, I often hear laypersons describe themselves this way.  The regrettable tendency to qualify the word layperson with … Continue reading

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Called and Committed

As part of my research on lay professionals in United Methodist churches, I analyzed survey responses from more than 750 church staffers.  The survey posed the question:  “What motivated you to accept a church staff position?”  The desire to serve God was the top-ranked … Continue reading

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Rethinking the myths of church staffing

My research on staffing patterns in United Methodist Churches casts new light on some commonly held myths about church staffing. MYTH ONE:  Most lay staff work in administrative and support roles.  In the churches studied, 35 to 39 percent of … Continue reading

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An invisible army of 40,000-plus church workers

Over the past two years, I have been researching lay staffing patterns in United Methodist Churches.  I have studied in depth the staff configuration of about 400 churches and surveyed hundreds of lay staffers and clergy.  (See the Methodology and … Continue reading

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Why Focus on Lay Ministry Practitioners?

I am a United Methodist layperson.   For the past eighteen years, I have dedicated myself to ministry full-time – what some people call professional ministry in that it is my chosen occupation and my life’s work.   Like other laypersons with … Continue reading

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