Church Innovations’ Partners Post

February 24, 2010

When do congregations learn new habits?

When do congregations learn new habits?


Congregations learn new habits only when they have to – just like the rest of us.

When our backs are to the wall

When we’re in danger

When we get bad news

When we want to be helpful but don’t know how

When we realize we’ve lost something important


YES? NO? What do you think?

Peace to your house.


February 19, 2010

How do we learn our habits?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ptellison @ 1:42 pm

I have been wondering how we learn our habits. 

Like — how did I learn how to sneak snacks and then think I didn’t have to be accountable for them?  It’s a very well-ingrained habit that I don’t seem likely to unlearn.

Kennon Callahan, the great church growth and effectiveness consultant, always says that you never unlearn a habit. You simply nee to acquire new habits, better ones.  He would ask, “Where did you learn to do that?” and then “How might you learn to do something else instead?”

Our congregations have habits, too, habits learned from individual leaders and even from families who have led in the past…habits like avoiding conflict rather than getting to the bottom of it, habits like keeping our faith personal and private and never speaking of it lest it unduly influence someone else – like our children and grandchildren (almost a direct quote from Thomas Jefferson’s grandson about what he knew of Jefferson’s religious “affections”). 

How do congregations learn their habits, and, of even greater interest to me, how do they acquire new ones? Better ones?

Tell me what you think!  Peace. Pat


February 5, 2010

Silent No More

It’s usually a bad idea to let a blog go silent for a week or more. I have done that, and I’m sorry.  Next Wednesday I will be back at home in the saddle and far more regular in my posting.  But today I am sitting in Drammen, Norway, waiting for a train, and I wanted to make this post.

 Yesterday I had the privilege of sitting with about 65 Norwegian pastors and their Deans, learning about the challenges of their ministry and what many of them long for. I must simply say that being permitted to dwell in the Word of God with them and be taught by them is an amazing part of my work. 

When we travel to a faraway place, this trip to make a presentation of our research methods and their theological grounding at an international conference, consult with a research project, and speak with some groups of pastors and lay leaders, we as visitors must be taken care of in many ways – housed, fed, and safely transported from one place to another. We are utterly dependent on our hosts’ hospitality. On this trip especially we have reasons to thank our good hosts for their generous support. 

So if I have been silent on the blog, it is mostly because I have been using my energy to be grateful for everything I am receiving during this trip.  I have a week to go, and God willing I will be back online soon.   Peace. Pat

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