Blog

Are You Practicing Hot-Tub Leadership?

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

Have you heard the story about the hot tub? Mary was part of a male/female leadership team meeting for long-range ministry planning. Their meeting place was a motel conference center. After the evening meal, the men went to relax in the hot tub and invited the women to join them. The women politely declined and the groups went their separate ways. Imagine the women’s surprise the next morning when the men described the decisions made in the hot tub. Turns out that the guys’ casual…

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Practice Others-Promoting

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

It was twenty-five years ago but it seems like yesterday. I walked away from the meeting feeling humiliated and ashamed. What began as a casual meeting with my supervisor turned into a moment of embarrassment. Sitting calmly in a restaurant, Tim looked at me and said, “I’ve never met another staff who was so self-promoting.” Ouch! I was too bewildered and hurt to follow-up on the conversation. Within several months, Tim floated out of my life because of some organizational changes. There’s no doubt that…

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Welcome the Contrarian in Your Midst

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

I bet you have one in your life — the sometimes annoying contrarian. There’s probably a contrarian sibling, friend, or church member among your relationships. These men and women“poke the bear” — asking us uncomfortable questions, challenging our assumptions, or proposing new solutions. Contrarians think and say things in ways that are “contrary” to the current norm. We’ve all experienced the impact of a contrarian. In fact, some of us may be contrarians (I raise my hand to this!). Let’s be honest. Contrarians are a…

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I Was So Much Younger Then…

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

I admit it. His slightly discordant harmonica playing and cigarette-scarred voice is an acquired taste. But, I’m still a fan. Some of Bob Dylan’s songs contain pieces of gold. Here’s one example from My Back Pages. Good and bad, I define these terms Quite clear, no doubt, somehow Ah, but I was so much older then I’m younger than that now. I find myself identifying with these lyrics. When I was younger, things appeared so black and white. I was on a quest for biblical…

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Simplicity Rules!

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

The older I get the more I value simplicity. Maybe its because my attention span is shorter and my patience runs thinner. This leads to a confession. I’m embarrassed to admit that over the years, I’ve devised a lot of complicated ministry strategies, solutions, and programs that yielded little or no returns. Complexity seldom pays off. The folksinger Woody Guthrie is quoted as saying: “Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make things simple.” I’m learning the value of simplicity. In…

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Confessions of a Vision Junkie

By Bill Mowry September 24, 2019

I have a confession to make. I’m a vision junkie. My fascination with vision is probably because I’m an idealist at heart. Before becoming a Christ-follower, my idealism led me to join arms with the 1960s peace movement and its related streams of poverty eradication and racism. Surely we could change the world! When I discovered Jesus in college, I found the ultimate vision and Visionary. I was a quick convert to the vision of “world-conquering disciples” (a great 1960s slogan!).  At twenty years old,…

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Culture Building Memo #10: When is a church like a garden center?

By Bill Mowry March 19, 2018

My wife and I love “yardening.” Our property has limited direct sun so we have difficulty growing a vegatable garden but we can grow flowers and shrubs. This makes us avid yardeners. Did you know that gardening, and yardening, is American’s #1 hobby? In Columbus, Ohio these enthusiasts crowd garden centers and nurseries around May 15. This is the magic frost date — it’s nearly impossible for plants to be touched by frost after this date in Ohio. In my local garden center, there’s a…

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Culture Building Memo #9: Farm the farm that’s given to you

By Bill Mowry January 15, 2018

“We just can’t compete!”was the lament of Steve and Jack. They pastor a mid-size church that sits in the shadow of two prominent mega-churches with nationally known pastors. “How can we compete with a circus at Halloween or a Madrigal Dinner at Christmas? We can’t sponsor those kinds of activities!” This complaint fueled some quality discussions on how to be content in the identify that God has for their church. I learned something new about the secret of contentment in an unlikely source. One of…

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Culture Building Memo #8: It’s all about relationships

By Bill Mowry November 20, 2017

When Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992, he posted a simple sign over the doorway to his political “war room” (his campaign headquarters). He knew he couldn’t defeat the incumbent President, George Bush, on his foreign policy plans but he believed that Bush was vulnerable on the economy. What did the sign say? Every time Clinton and his campaign workers walked into the room, they were met by this challenge, “It’s the economy stupid!” They had a simple vision for victory, focus on the…

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Culture Building Memo #7: Don’t lose the principles for the particulars

By Bill Mowry November 7, 2017

Pastors James and Chad eagerly started building a Great Commission culture in their church last summer. We moved forward with real progress but soon a “bump” interrupted our plan. James was becoming a dad in December and would take a leave of absence for six weeks. Chad would lead the church in his absence . . . but then God intervened. During James’ absence, Chad felt led by God to pursue pastoring a church in the inner city. Come February, James was back at the…

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