Podcast

Podcast

Your congregation is important and we know that leading and serving in congregations is hard work. Join staff from the Center for Congregations as they interview thought leaders and experts to encourage, inspire and help you find the right information and resources to address your congregation's needs. Center for Congregations staff will share what they're learning through our work with congregations. Speakers, authors and congregational practitioners will share their stories and best practices to help your congregation thrive.
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LATEST EPISODE — S4:E20 Cultivating the Edges: Belonging and Racial Equity in White Congregations

Rev. Dr. Seth Richardson of Gravity Leadership joins the podcast this week to discuss the cultural challenges white congregations face when they get serious about racial equity. The conversation centers on a specific case study of a Texas congregation and how they navigated a shift towards racial equity and what these lessons mean for any congregation wishing to become more equitable. 

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COMING SOON — S4:E21 The Next Faithful Step: Discernment in Congregational Life

Episode Release Date: Wednesday, November 30

Understanding how to determine your next faithful step is critically important in congregational life. Center for Congregations president Tim Shapiro and Rev. Stephen Lewis join the podcast this week to discuss the importance of discernment and mutual nature of discernment for both the individual and the community. Our conversation also leads to reflecting on the wisdom of Howard Thurman and the importance of intergenerational discernment.
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Season 4

S4:E19 Keeping it Beta: Innovation and Congregations

Congregations are a treasure of rich traditions: cultural, communal, historical and theological. But how do you keep tradition from turning into stagnation? This week we welcome Rev. Dr. Gabby Cudjoe Wilkes, who recently finished her doctoral work related to innovation, as she shares her insight into keeping things fresh in your congregation.

S4:E18 Clergy Are People Too 

In this episode of the Center for Congregations podcast, Marty Sawyers of the Full Strength Network and John Opalewski of Converge Coaching share their experience and insight on the challenges clergy leaders face every day. This episode will help non-clergy members of a congregation learn more about the pressures of being clergy, how to better support their leadership, and the impact of clergy stress on the congregation as a whole.

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S4:E17 Be the Bridge: Spanning Cultural Gaps 

As people of faith, we are often called to be cultural brokers within our communities by identifying gaps that exist, asking the right questions, and harnessing the power of humility and self-awareness. In this episode of the Center for Congregations podcast, board certified chaplain and doctoral candidate, Alexandra Zareth shares her experience and discusses practical examples of how to bridge cultural gaps within your congregation each and every day. 

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S4:E16 Invisible People: Multiculturalism in Your Community 

Your community is likely more multicultural than you may realize. In this episode of the Center for Congregations podcast, we speak with Sandy Garcia of Amistad Cristiana Presbyterina about the multicultural nature of congregations and communities including the lives and experiences of members of the Latinx community as well as the changing perceptions of multicultural ministry. 

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S4:E15 Suffering in Silence: Addressing Mental Health

Mental health issues exist in each congregation and it can be difficult as a congregational leader to know how to support those struggling within your congregation. In this episode we talk with Pastor Ken Hilliard about the wealth of resources available and people who can support those with mental health issues. Pastor Hilliard also shares about the genesis of Building a Stronger Family, a social services organization in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and its work to bring hope to those without it. 

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S4:E14 Are You Seeing What I'm Seeing? 

Congregations often experience some kind of diversity within congregational life. Whether that be ethnic, cultural, generational or other kind of diversity. Wilisha Scaife believes in approaching diversity in ministry with learning to listen, learn and love. The phrase is simple, but requires effort and intentionality to make an impact. In this episode, Wilisha unpacks what this means while podcast hosts Ben Tapper and Matt Burke share how the Center for Congregations implements this in its work. 

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S4:E13 More than a Classroom: Reimagining Faith Formation and Discipleship 

At the heart of every congregation is the desire to pass on the beliefs and practices of its tradition. This can be called lots of things: catechism, faith formation, discipleship, etc. In this interview, John Roberto discusses how this passing on of faith can be distilled into seven parts that, when addressed in your congregation's context, can help form the faith of everyone.

Podcast hosts Ben Tapper and Matt Burke also share how this topic shows up in congregations with which the Center for Congregations works and what faith formation has looked like for them.

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S4 E12: Stories > Stances 

This episode provides the narratives of three members of the LGBTQ+ community focused on their lives in congregations. These stories highlight the highs and lows of their experiences in faith communities. We offer these narratives in the hope that it will provide wisdom and guidance to your congregation as you navigate this complex issue. 

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S4 E11: Beyond Feisty and Divisive Caring for LGBTQ Youth

Congregations are often faced with questions and concerns about LGBTQ+ issues. Regardless of theological stance, it's important to know how to care for youth that may identify as LGBTQ+ and their families as they navigate this complex situation. Mark Oestreicher, youth worker and co-founder of The Youth Cartel, shares his wisdom and personal experience.

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S4 E10: Possibility Lessons from Jazz 

Dr. Kirk Byron Jones joins the podcast to discuss what we can learn from jazz about beauty, creativity, and liberation. Kirk Byron Jones is a graduate of Loyola University and Andover Newton Theological School, and holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Emory University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Drew University.

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S4 E9: What's Right with Congregations 

Former Center for Congregations staff members Nancy DeMott and Doug Hanner join the podcast to share past congregational stories and why it is important to learn from others' successes. 

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S4 E8: When Digital Ministry is not Plug-and-Play

Rev. Dr. Rosario Picardo, co-author of Fresh Expressions in a Digital Age, discusses the role of digital ministry in congregational life. 

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S4 E7: Remembering Our History in Order to Heal

Rev. Sue Park-Hur, co-director of ReconciliAsian and Denominational Minister for Mennonite Church USA talks about the challenges facing the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community including discussing the model-minority myth, the rise of hate crimes against the AAPI community and the 30th anniversary of the LA Riots of 1992.

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S4 E6: Navigating Grief and Lamentation 

Chaplain Jon Swanson joins the Center for Congregations' podcast to discuss what it means to explore the ways we manage loss and disappointment. Jon Swanson is a writer and organizational consultant and serves as a chaplain for Parkview Health in Fort Wayne, Ind.

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S4 E5: Moving Forward — Anti-racism in Congregational Life 

Podcast hosts Kelly Minas and Ben Tapper talk with theology professor, church anti-racism leader, and social change practitioner Drew G.I. Hart of Messiah University about the scope of antiracism work in congregations since the racial unrest of 2020.

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S4 E4: Pandemic and Purpose 

Podcast hosts Matt Burke and Shellie Riggs Jordan explore the changing nature of congregational life with Pastor Rob Dyer of Ministry Architects. Rob encourages congregations to explore the question behind the question. 

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S4 B3 The Review — Facing Death-Learning from Kate Bowler 

Podcast hosts Ben Tapper and Abby Miller reflect on several podcast interviews with Kate Bowler and explore what it means to face the gravity of life with grace and joy. 

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S4 E3 Is Race the Real Problem? 

Racial division is a current topic in many areas of life, but is race the real issue here? Rev. Wallace Butts joins podcast hosts Ben Tapper and Matt Burke about the Listen, Learn and Live (L3) Initiative in which he lays out a way for people in our society to live more peaceably together. Find more resources on The CRG. 
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S4 E2: Providing Touch in a Touchless Time

Deidre (Dee Dee) Gray and Adrian Warren join podcast hosts Ben Tapper and Matt Burke to talk about how congregations can improve their digital presence. 

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S4 B2: The Review — Can I Get Your Number? Unpacking the Enneagram

Podcast hosts Abby Miller and Ben Tapper discuss The Paths Between Us and talk through the reasons they find the Enneagram both useful and fascinating.

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S4 B1: The Review — Learning from Mars Hill 

In this fun bonus episode, podcast host Ben Tapper and Center for Congregations staff member Abby Miller discuss the podcast The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill and explore what we can learn from it. 

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S4 E1: 3 Big Questions 

Kara Powell from Fuller Youth Institute joins podcast hosts Ben Tapper and Matt Burke to discuss the new book: 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager.

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Season 3: Episode 1 - 11

Season 2: Episodes 1 - 12 

Season 1: Episodes 1 - 8

 

 

 

 

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