As a sense of the new year and its new beginnings still rings, I am in the midst of an ending. I am saying “farewell” to a congregation and school community that I have loved serving as an associate rector and chaplain for more than 10 years, to begin a new call. While this ending … More Good Grief and Good-Bye’s by the Rev. Jenni Ovenstone Smith, Senior Associate at St. John’s Ellicott City, MD
Often Jesus taught by answering questions. What always impresses me is that the person always knows what question to ask: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” “How many times must I forgive?” These are two classics. What would be the classic questions of a clergy or lay leader whose leader encompasses her or … More Figuring out the questions
What do you want to learn is the basic question of the Thriving in Ministry Initiative at Virginia Theological Seminary. We ask the members of the peer groups to focus on learning what will build their vocational and personal growth. Answer the question by posting a comment to this blog. What can we share with … More What do you want to learn?
This is the title of the Washington Post editorial for today, Sunday October 28. Read it. Today I will go to church and I am sure in our intercessory prayers we will pray for the latest victims of hate and the gun fueled culture of our country. What I want from my worshipping congregation is … More “We must refuse to become accustomed”
Creating and sustaining positive energy is described by futurist Bob Johansen in his book The New Leadership Literacies as an aspect of leadership that will be essential in the next 10 years. Creating and sustaining positive energy, I believe, has always been the work of spiritual leaders. We create and sustain positive energy through our engagement … More Creating and Sustaining
Leadership is about navigating change. To be more precise, one of the main elements of leadership is about navigating change. Leadership can also be about visioning change, creating change, managing change, and even cleaning up after change. The element of navigating change is however always present for the spiritual leader because someone, some situation, or … More Packing for Travel
Beginning in March 2017 David Gortner, my faculty colleague, and I began conducting interviews about Thriving in Ministry. Our questions were part of a planning grant process for the Lilly Endowment, Inc. One of the questions was what are the marks of a clergy person who is thriving and thereby supports of vitality of the … More Thriving in Ministry
Several years ago a well respected church consultant told me that he thought pastors and governing boards will always be at odds. “The system is set up that way,” he said Ever since I have been trying different ways to align a congregation’s mission, vision, resources, worries, and personalities so that the best possible working … More Are Spiritual Leaders always leaning in different directions?
Is a FB query and comments enough leadership guidance for entry into a new ministry? The FB question was very specific about transition to a new parish. The comments illustrated good experience. And, while social media gets information out quickly I was hesitant to add a comment. I could not make a quick answer to … More Is a FB post enough?
On Saturday in Washington, DC I marched with my daughter, my closet friend, and at least 500,000 others for the dignity of all people. Now ,the inner confirmation that I acted, I spoke, I marched generates within me hope for the many, many, days ahead for the work that needs to be done. The … More Aftermath