Tag Archives: Leadership

Forward Today: Leadership for today’s church

Dear friends in Christ,

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I am writing this from Kanuga, an Episcopal conference center in western North Carolina. It’s a beautiful place in a lovely part of the country. But I’m not just here to enjoy nature!

As you receive this, I am just about to head back home to Cincinnati. I’ve spent three days at a conference that gathers clergy who are seeking to lead the Episcopal church in bold ways in this missionary era of the church.

Back in the 1950s or so, churches thrived because it was the “thing to do” for many Americans. But that did not encourage us to consider our calling from Jesus Christ to make disciples. It was easy to have a full church, so it might have been tempting to take for granted why we were gathered.

Now we are firmly in the post-Christendom era. Fewer people go to church out of obligation. Especially when younger people show up in a church, it’s unlikely to be because they will gain social standing by attending church. They have come because they are seeking Jesus.

As challenging as this era is, it is a blessing. It is a blessing because we need to consider carefully the ways we are carrying out the mission that Christ has given us. We can’t assume that society will educate people in the faith; our churches must form Christians. Sometimes it’s tough to be a clergy leader in this era, and so I’m grateful for time with clergy colleagues who are doing this work.

Over the last three days, I heard stories of great success, with real growth in depth and number. And I heard the pain of contending with a culture that sometimes makes it tough to be a Christian. But we’ve been reminded that we’re in this together. More important: Jesus has promised to abide with us all. We’re never alone.

So if you are ordained and reading this, take heart! There are others who share your triumphs and struggles. If you are a lay person reading this, pray for your clergy. They need your prayer.

The wonderful news is that God loves us in our thriving and in our failing. And we don’t have to save the church. Jesus promised that nothing would prevail over the church, so it will endure until his coming in glory. Thanks be to God.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn's signature

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

More from our ministry:

Consider the challenges facing congregations today: Signs of Life

From Grow Christians: St Mark, Sharing Love with the Unknown

Listen for God’s invitation in scripture: A Generous Beckoning

Celebrate Easter every day of the season at 50Days.org

What is Revive?

Revive is a series of small group sessions that equips lay leaders to grow as spiritual leaders. Typically, lay leaders meet with a ministry leader for an opening and closing retreat and three six-week sessions to explore their spiritual lives, deepen their relationship with God and become proficient as spiritual leaders.

In a safe, non-judgmental setting, filled with warm humour, they learn a lot about themselves and others, and connect more deeply with God.

Revive is offered as a form of thanks to lay leaders who give so much to their church. Church ministry often involves important concerns for budgets, property, and people. But these concerns distract lay leaders from spiritually growing in a relationship with Christ.

Through Revive, lay leaders become confident with prayer and scripture, and they learn to see their ministry as a vocation. They also learn practical skills that are invaluable for their tasks and activities within the congregation.

What is the structure of the sessions?
Each Revive session typically runs for two hours and includes:

  • an icebreaker
  • a presentation (using the Revive video series, or presented by facilitator)
  • a discussion
  • an exercise
  • a take-home practice


The six-week sessions (referred to as Module 1, 2 and 3 in Revive materials) are usually held in the fall, winter and spring to avoid the busy church seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter.

Here is a sample schedule for a typical full year with Revive, though you can customize to your needs:

  • Week 1 (mid-August): Letter invitation sent out. Registration begins
  • Week 8 (early October): Registration ends, Opening Retreat is held
  • Week 9 (early October): Module 1, Communicating with God, begins
  • Week 14 (mid-November): Module 1 ends
  • Week 23 (mid-January): Module 2, Engaging in Scripture, begins
  • Week 28 (early March): Module 2, ends
  • Week 35 (mid-April): Module 3, Called for Ministry, begins
  • Week 41 (late May): Module 3, ends
  • Week 42 (early June): Closing Retreat.


Purchasing Revive Materials
When you purchase Revive (here), you get everything you need to run the program, including the facilitator and participant guides, and access to 30 short video presentations. Everything you need can be downloaded and printed as needed. The full program costs $299 (USD).

To save time at the copy machine, we do offer pre-printed participant guides for an additional charge.

Ministry leaders invite as many as 12 lay leaders to participate in Revive. Together, clergy, pastoral ministers and lay people deepen and grow in their faith as followers of Christ. It is the journey of a lifetime as you revive!


Read more guest posts from Revive here.