It’s a pervasive question that author, blogger, counselor, and pastor of Calvin Presbyterian in Pennsylvania, Graham Standish just keeps asking. He credits an emphasis on discernment, in various levels, with the substantial growth his congregation has seen.
In this interview Graham tells us how he created a culture of discernment at his church, and how it has led to health and growth. You’ll want to listen to this one more than once.
Watch the Full Program.
Rather Listen? Click here to download the Mp3 to your mobile device.
Calvin Presbyterian has grown from around 200 members to 500 in the dozen or so years Graham Standish has been serving. Continually asking the questions like, ‘Is this our calling?’ and ‘Is this what God wants us to do?’ is one reason things stay fresh there. Here are my notes from the interview:
Be Permission Giving
Graham says a default setting of, ‘yes, let me help you,’ is what today’s church leaders need to adopt. He says our job is equipping and inspiring, so how can we bless the ideas God is raising up in our congregations?
Help People Ask Discerning Questions
By assisting people in the great questions of purpose: why are we here? and what are we supposed to be doing?, Graham says gifts make themselves known organically and make it easier to plug people in.
Preacher From the Pews
Graham identified 6 people who, during Lent, delivered the sermon. At first they said no, but later agreed, and through the exercise learned much about their own journeys and how to relate their lives to God. Would this work in your congregation?
About Graham Standish
Graham has been pastor of Calvin Presbyterian Church in Zelienople, Pennsylvania since January of 1996, which has more than doubled in size, and garnered national attention in several studies, including one by Diana Butler-Bass, who included Calvin Church in her groundbreaking book, Christianity for the Rest of Us. He is the author of six books including : In God’s Presence: Encountering, Experiencing, and Embracing the Holy in Worship (2010), and Humble Leadership (2007). He is an adjunct professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is a teacher, retreat leader, spiritual director, and has a background in individual, marital, and family therapy. Graham holds degrees from Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is also husband to Diane and the father of twin girls.
Books Graham Recommends
Made to Stick – Chip and Dan Heath
Switch – Chip and Dan Heath
Drive – Daniel Pink
Sponsors I Mentioned
Are you headed to the Wild Goose festival? Thousands of campers are headed to the beautiful hills of North Carolina June 21-24. Wild Goose is a festival at the intersection of justice, spirituality, and art. Some of this year’s guests are Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, and Shane Claiborne. ChurchNext is a proud sponsor – find out more at wildgoosefestival.org
Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest Episcopal Seminary in the U.S., forming men and women for leadership in the church. In addition to the MDiv, Anglican Studies and DMin degrees are their Masters of Arts degrees with a fous on Theological Studies, Christian Formation, Religion & Culture, and Biblical Interpretation. Check them out at vts.edu.