Blog Archives

Smile; Sit Properly; Don’t Ask Questions. (On being a girl in a patriarchal church)

While we sat silently on the wooden pews, Taline, three years older, motioned urgently for me to untangle my legs. “It’s disrespectful,” she whispered sternly.

Read more ›




Thoughts on Country Music & Empowerment

I’ve never been a fan of country music. I’m more of an indie-folk-pop girl. But my taste for the twang has been awakened recently because two of my friends have started a country band – and they’re good.

No one could tell me country music was worth listening to.

Read more ›




My Journey Out of Missions Work

Whenever a Christian student in our circle landed a great job, my friends and I would joke that they’d “joined the rat race.”

Supposedly, we were only joking. But the kinds of jokes we directed at other people’s lifestyle choices were telling. They reaffirmed our values – and perhaps our sources of pride –

Read more ›




Leading Organizations, Episode 4: Has the Church Become Too Rigid?

In the last post of this series on Leading Organizations, we looked at the 7 factors that contribute to highly resilient organizations – all based on a complexity approach to organizational leadership.

Different sectors seem to embrace this approach at very different times. Dee Hock, the founder of VISA,

Read more ›




Where in the World is Jesus Not Lord?

David the Shepherd-King wrote that there was no place in creation where God was not present:

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

Read more ›




The Legacy of a Friend, Now Sadly Gone

Just before Christmas I lost a friend and mentor. My heart continues to mourn, just as my head continues to be filled with her thoughts and ideas.

She left us far too suddenly.

Brenda Zimmerman Ellis was an amazing woman, as all the tributes to her have attested.

Read more ›




What it Takes to be a Transformative Leader

An excerpt from our new book: Nelson, G.V. and Dickens, P.M. Leading in Disorienting Times: Navigating Church and Organizational Change. Chalice Press – Look for it March, 2015.

Transformative leaders create the atmosphere, context, and support that enable and stimulate people to generate the needed transformational change.

Read more ›




How are Leaders Like Gardeners?

The sower, the seeds, the mustard seed in Matthew; the vine and the branches in John. Over and over, Jesus uses images and parables from the land to help others understand the Kingdom of God. Is he simply writing contextually, using agrarian language for an agrarian economy? If so, wherein lies the eternal nature of his message?

Read more ›




Why Leadership Fails

I have been thinking about leadership for a long time. For me, that involves observing, reading, teaching and researching leadership. At one point, my fascination reached such a danger point that my wife put me on book probation: Amazon had come to the house seven times in one week, and I was getting way behind.

Read more ›