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Why We're Publishing "Piloting Church"

PUBLISHED: by Brad Lyons

Odds are, you’re in a congregation that could use a little… something. What that something is, you may not have figured out yet. And you may not be able to figure it out on your own, and that’s OK. When you’re enmeshed in congregational life, it can be hard to figure out what needs freshening up or outright remodeling. A new mission directive? Tweaking worship? A different staff configuration? Disbanding the way-too-many committees and starting over?

Piloting Church: Helping Your Congregation Take FlightRegardless of the change needed, that change starts with congregational leaders thinking differently. It doesn’t matter if it’s the veteran leadership team or a new squad of emerging leaders, thinking in new ways, organizationally, is the first step.

A decade ago, Chalice Press published the Unbinding the Gospel  series, one of the most successful congregational revitalization resources available. Martha Grace Reese’s books, paired with her leadership and network of trainers, had a big impact on 20,000 congregations in 49 denominations. With Unbinding as our congregational calling card, Chalice has been hunting for more resources that would help churches the way Unbindingdid.

For years I’ve heard about the Center for Progressive Renewal and its current leader, Cameron Trimble. CPR has helped hundreds of congregations over the past decade to discern how to think in new ways and get unstuck. When I asked Cameron about her interest in writing a book to support CPR’s work, we set a date to brainstorm the possibilities. A few hours in front of a whiteboard led to Piloting Church , launching March 19.

What I didn’t know when I approached Cameron about the project is that she is also a licensed pilot. I’ve always loved aviation, and Cameron proposed a book that compared congregational leadership development and piloting. The section headers alone – Decide You Want to Fly, Your Flight Crew, Preflight Checklist, among others – told me this was going to be a fun read.

And if you’re not a fan of flying, that’s perfectly OK. The book does not require actual field experience at 30,000 feet. What Piloting Church does do is train you to see your congregation and your own unique skill set in a new light. You’ll improve your understanding of organizational systems, your congregation’s pressure points and trouble spots, and long-term visioning. You’ll have a better understanding of the role you will play in helping your congregation soar.

Cameron knows her stuff, whether its leadership development or piloting. Our hope is that Piloting Church will serve as the departure gate for congregations of all sizes and creeds that want to do things differently. Safe travels and happy landings!

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