MaryAnn McKibben Dana — Church as Improv

Taking a cue from Stacy Johnson (Dallas 2012), MaryAnn begins to reimagine the gospel through the lens of improv. She traces the “rules” of improv and notes the ways in which church communities might begin to live by these rules of engagement.

MaryAnn is pastor of Idylwood Presbyterian Church in Falls Church, VA and a member of the NEXT Church Strategy Team. This keynote presentation was given at the Rochester, NY regional gathering on November 5, 2012.

Lori Raible — Wilderness (Sermon)

Using the image of wilderness, Lori reflects on the difficulties of living in community at the regional gathering in Durham on August 18, 2012.

Lori is the Associate Pastor of Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.

Sabbatical Resources

“Sabbatical” comes from Sabbath, following the Biblical command to observe the seventh day of Sabbath. A sabbatical is an opportunity to step away from the many tasks of daily ministry to rest and be renewed by God. But preparing oneself and preparing a congregation for a sabbatical is a lot of work!

Pastors Roy Howard and Mark Greiner share resources that have helped their communities.

A Brochure about the Sabbatical for the Congregation Sabbatical Brochure to view and download.

A List of Sabbatical Resources (from CHARIS Ecumenical Center), including Sources of Information, Grant Sources, Programs or Informal Arrangements, Sabbatical Retreat Information, and Study Resources. SabbaticalResources to view and download.

A Template for the Contract with a Stated Supply Pastor  for use while the pastor is on sabbatical. Stated Supply Pastor Agreement to view and download

An Article about the Pastor’s Particular Need for Sabbath by Lisa Hess (from the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program at Duke Divinity)

Social Media and Ministry

coffee and mediaFrom Tahrir Square to grandma’s pie recipe, more and more of life is happening online. MaryAnn McKibben Dana and Adam Walker Cleaveland hosted a webinar conversation about social media and ministry.

Listen here. See Adam’s slides here.

MaryAnn is pastor of Idylwood Presbyterian Church in Northern Virginia and author of Sabbath in the Suburbs. She blogs at and is Co-Chair of the NEXT Church Strategy Team.

Adam is associate pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Ashland, Oregon. He thinks and writes about technology and faith. He blogs at

The Enneagram (webinar recordings)

A webinar series, taught by Paul Rack.

Session 1: What is the Enneagram and what are the 9 types? Listen here.

Session 2: How do types interact and how do we grow within our type? Listen here.

Session 3: Spiritual Growth and Spiritual Practices within the types. Listen here.

[You can listen to the recordings by clicking above, however, the slides to which Paul refers are copyrighted and cannot be posted. You can find helpful diagrams in The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Riso & Hudson.]

A 1981 M.Div graduate of Princeton Seminary, Paul F. Rack has served as a Pastor in the PCUSA for 31 years. He has worked in small and medium-sized churches in New York, Boston, and New Jersey, and is currently in his 4th position as Interim Pastor.  Since 2000, he has been the Stated Clerk of Elizabeth Presbytery. He has published articles on ministry and polity, and blogs at, his main interests being spirituality, discipleship, and ecclesiology in emergence Christianity. Paul is authorized to lead workshops by the Enneagram Institute of Stone Ridge, NY, where he is a candidate for certification as an Enneagram Counselor. He lives in Martinsville, NJ, with his wife, Susan (also a Pastor), and has a son in college, Daniel.

Alternatives to Dismounting a Dead Horse

By Steve Eason, Pastor, Myers Park Presbyterian Church

Someone once said, “When a horse dies, it’s an excellent time to dismount!”  (Anonymous).  We (the Church) are prone to stay on our dead horses. Here is Steve’s list of alternatives to dismounting. Humor allows a tough conversation to be less dreadful. Useful in evaluation, assessing where the congregation is, or strategic planning.


By Jessica Tate

We paused in a joint meeting of ruling elders and deacons to connect with active participants in the life of our church, to say thank you to them for their leadership and involvement. We made phone calls right in the middle of the meeting. The response was overwhelmingly positive, both from the leaders making the calls and the recipients of the calls. This was a simple and effective way to strengthen connections within the congregation and to practice gratitude.