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Author Jeff Woods

Are Clergy Professionals

Is a clergyperson a professional? The answer to that depends upon who is talking and the criteria used to decide. Approaching the question from the angle of “standards” yields an affirmative response. Most clergy strive for very high standards in both performance issues and logistical issues. Over the last several centuries, the tasks of clergy […] Read More

Shared Ministry

While sipping coffee at the local coffee shop one morning, a fellow patron asked, “What do you do?” I explained that I was an executive minister for a middle judicatory and that I served as a resource person to various congregations throughout Ohio. I told the inquirer how I would often visit congregations conducting workshops […] Read More

The American Baptist Churches, U.S.A., are currently involved in a project called, “Seek It–Finding God’s Way for a New Day” for the purpose of developing an over-arching vision for the denomination. The tool being used to accomplish this task is known as “Appreciative Inquiry.” Appreciative Inquiry is a process that seeks to uncover the best […] Read More

Very few roles allow someone to operate solely as a leader or a manager. Most job descriptions include aspects of both leadership and management. Leaders direct the inputs of an organization while managers direct the outputs. Very few roles, however, deal with one or the other. Virtually all supervisors and coordinators are called upon to […] Read More

Are you more of a leader or a manager? In reality, anyone who is responsible for getting things done in organizations must employ both leadership and management tasks in order to maintain effectiveness. Are you more of a leader or a manager? In reality, anyone who is responsible for getting things done in organizations must […] Read More

Establishing criteria for leadership appears to be a growing trend in many congregations. The obvious theory behind this movement is that leaders should model the behavior expected of others within the organization. Modeling continues to be one of the most powerful, and most neglected, forms of church leadership. In leadership seminars that I conduct, I […] Read More

Executive Coaching

Over the years, many different methods of attaining personal growth have surfaced, such as counseling, consulting, training, teaching, apprenticeships, seminars, therapy and mentoring. These methods have proven effective in varying degrees, but all are helpful for certain people, evidenced by that fact that they still are promoted and utilized by people today. The latest method […] Read More

There’s a popular children’s Vacation Bible School song called “Deep and Wide.” To make singing it more fun, a brief “hmnnn” can substituted for either the word “deep” or “wide” at the appropriate point in the song. Applying that analogy to the last decade of congregational emphases, the “hmnnn” was more often substituted for deep […] Read More

At-risk clergy

Is your pastor at risk of burnout? Over the last few years, I have participated in the Pulpit and Pew Project, funded by the Lilly Foundation and administered through Duke University. This group was formed to study the status of pastoral leadership in America and to recommend best practices for ministry. Recently, the group received […] Read More

Dynamics of Leadership

No one leads all of the time. Throughout the course of a day, nearly everyone has moments of leading and moments of following. In this column, I identity what separates leaders from followers by identifying three items available only to leaders. First of all, leaders have a different perspective than followers. Leaders are the ones […] Read More