Letter from F. Douglas Powe. Jr. 

My new book is “The Adept Church: Navigating Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” Coincidentally, I feel like this subtitle speaks to our current situation of dealing with the ramifications related to the coronavirus. On the one hand, congregations are working hard to continue being missional. On the other hand, congregations are struggling with how to do formation when not physically present with others. There are other navigational challenges, as well, like trying to be compassionate while still meeting financial obligations and other responsibilities.

In my book, I intend to help congregations who are feeling stuck or trapped to make better decisions for moving forward. When congregations feel overwhelmed the tendency is to make decisions based upon scarcity resulting in congregations being inwardly focused. I am suggesting that by making decisions that are adept - nimble, strategic and missionally focused - congregations can navigate more successfully.

My prayer is all congregations will learn to be adept as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 challenge. It cannot be business as usual. We must listen for how God is calling us forward to make a difference in the lives of others. This means adjusting our mission by discerning God’s call for right now. While being adept starts with discerning God’s call, it also requires staying focused on our neighbors (not ourselves) and a willingness to take appropriate risk. These are challenging times, but adept congregations can navigate successfully if they stay focused on God’s work of transformation.

It is my hope that you want to be an adept congregation. My book is a good place to start so that you can be prepared for navigating in these challenging times.


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F. Douglas Powe, Jr.

F. Douglas Powe, Jr. is an ordained elder in the Baltimore/Washington Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. He is the Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership and professor of evangelism and of urban ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary. Powe is committed to helping urban congregations and congregations in transitional areas to flourish through community partnering. His research interest are church revitalization, urban theology and Methodist theology.  He holds an MDiv from Candler School of Theology and a PhD in systematic theology from Emory University.