Siburt Institute – Mission Revisited

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As September approaches, the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry begins its fifth year of ministry to leaders and congregations. Our executive team held its annual review day in May, and we were inspired by the development of new services and encouraging stories from people and the churches where they worship and serve. We…

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Author: Carson E. Reed Publish Date: August 26, 2016

Looking for Millennials … In All the Wrong Places

A conversation I hear repeatedly in many congregations is the lament over the loss of younger adults. Even many of the younger adults who do remain within the congregation seem to be less than fully engaged in the life of the church. The question I’m often asked is, “Why?” I don’t know that…

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Author: Carson E. Reed Publish Date: July 22, 2016

Gratitude as a Leadership Practice

I’ve been reading a new book on interpersonal communication. [1] I found it surprising that the authors, Quentin Schultze and Diane Badzinski, begin the book with a chapter on gratitude. Why gratitude? Schultze and Badzinski argue that communication emerges out of our character, and our character is forged by our attitude toward God…

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Author: Carson E. Reed Publish Date: June 24, 2016

Arrived . . . Or in Process?

Two quarts of brand new motor oil are tucked behind a pillar on my front porch for Sally. She hasn’t called to collect them—and I don’t know if she will. We had a visit last Friday at the auto parts store; she needed oil for her car and had no money. Would I…

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Author: Carson E. Reed Publish Date: May 26, 2016

Common Dysfunctions of an Elder Group

Team leadership is biblical and it creates a space for God to work communally. But team leadership can also foster all kinds of dysfunctionality! Aubrey Malphurs, in his book, Leading Leaders, offers five ways in which church leadership teams slip into patterns that are not healthy for partnering with God’s desires for a…

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Author: Carson E. Reed Publish Date: February 29, 2016

Shared Leadership

“If you want to go fast, walk alone. If you want to go far, walk together.” –African proverb Team leadership is not an easy task—but it is a biblical frame for congregations. And the theological reason is a sober one. Namely, shared leadership might actually create a space for God to slip in…

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Author: Carson E. Reed Publish Date: January 26, 2016

Preaching as Leadership

One leadership function that is often not recognized as leadership is the practice of preaching.  What usually commands attention when leaders talk about leadership are things like vision-casting, pastoral care, and identifying meaningful goals that extend the mission of the church.  But preaching, not so much! Yet every week in nearly every church,…

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Author: Carson E. Reed Publish Date: December 18, 2015

Three Circles of Leadership

To practice leadership effectively requires thoughtful imagination and the capacity to see beyond current patterns of behavior. I think that, left unexamined, leadership can quickly devolve into a reactive set of actions prompted by whatever crisis the day brings. So leaders become fixers; we fix the problems so that the trains run on time and…

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Author: Carson E. Reed Publish Date: November 18, 2015

Do As I Say

Doing and saying should line up—at least that is what common wisdom suggests!  “If you are going to talk the talk, then you should also walk the walk,” is another way of getting at the importance of aligning our speech and our actions.  Thus, as disciples of Jesus, we often press toward holding…

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Author: Carson E. Reed Publish Date: November 5, 2015

Discipleship, First and Finally

“Ministerial leadership is, first and finally, discipleship.” – Lesslie Newbigin Returning to his native England after 50 years of missionary work in India, Lesslie Newbigin was stunned to see the decline of the church in the west. So instead of settling into retirement in 1974, he launched a second career as a missionary…

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Author: Carson E. Reed Publish Date: September 22, 2015


The CHARIS website hosts conversations of and about Churches of Christ. In partnership with the ACU Library and the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry at Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX), the website is supported and led by the Center for Heritage and Renewal in Spirituality (CHARIS) at ACU. The Center’s mission is to renew Christian spirituality through engagement of Christian heritage, at Abilene Christian University and beyond. The views expressed on the CHARIS website are those of the various authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Abilene Christian University or CHARIS at ACU. Questions or comments about the CHARIS website can be directed to charis @

2017-18 CHARIS Editorial Board:
Dr. Carisse Berryhill
Dr. Jason Fikes
Karissa Herchenroeder
Mac Ice
Chai Green
Tammy Marcelain
Molly Scherer
Dr. John Weaver

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