FTE Blog


Freedom to Flunk

I started in the preaching ministry at the age of 15. Fifteen is a strange age. At least it was for me. I was just old enough to have my own ideas about this and that. And I was just young enough to be very certain about my ideas. But I was also just “green” enough to believe that what I had to say might be useful to God in a preaching moment. I preached my first sermon on a chilly spring day in April 1992 in Chicago, IL. This was the pulpit in which a master preacher got up each Sunday to “break the bread of life.” However on this Sunday, this people and this preacher let the young people “run the service.” And they let me preach the morning message….

That church was a grace-filled space in which I had the freedom to flunk. With that freedom I was provided the space to identify, explore, and reflect on my sense of call to ministry…

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By: Matthew Wesley Williams January 07, 2011


Leadership Capacities Every Young Pastor Must Learn

For the last few years, I have been working with young pastors on leadership formation issues through Project Rising Sun, a pastoral leadership academy. Based on my work with these leaders, I have distilled seven key leadership capacities young pastors need to develop in order to thrive in ministry.

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By: Stephen Lewis September 14, 2010


Single-Leader-Centered vs Group-Centered Leadership

Consider these two statements on leadership:

“Strong people don’t need strong leaders.”

“Leadership never ascends from the pew to the pulpit. It always descends from the pulpit to the pew.”

The first quote is a famous line from Ms. Ella Baker, whose masterful work in organizing and leadership development helped to launch and stabilize the early work of many of the most significant civil rights organizations of the 20th century: NAACP, SCLC, SNCC and MFDP. The second quote is a lesser known line from a better known figure: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ...

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By: Matthew Wesley Williams July 20, 2010


Cultivating Quality Leadership for a Sustainable Church

The ability as a church to gather together and serve the community in creative ways depends on leadership. It depends on an intergenerational conversation that captures the imagination of gifted young leaders among us who feel called to serve the church. For North Carolina churches and communities—for the entire church—quality leadership is the foundation for vital and sustainable Christian institutions. It’s about thriving, not just surviving.

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By: Stephen Lewis December 02, 2009


Ask a Millennial Why They Stay

If you’re in any church circle I’m sure you’ve heard a conversation about the exodus of Millennials from the church and discussed how to prevent it and reverse the damage already done. Countless books have been written and ink spilled trying to articulate the realities of why the “church” isn’t working for my generation.

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By: Rob Lee

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