Lovett H. Weems Jr.
Lovett H. Weems Jr. is distinguished professor of church leadership and director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Fruitful leadership in an established church requires learning the congregation's story. God's vision will emerge partly out of that history, and leaders must be able to connect the new vision to past visions.
Many people assume that there has been a steady decline in worship attendance for all the mainline denominations since the mid-1960s—the era when most of them began to see their memberships decline. But trends in attendance have actually followed their own patterns.