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The Appriser

A monthly publication for enterprise leaders

February 2013 - Antifragile and the 29ers. Building resilience into an enterprise is important when facing unanticipated difficulty.

Breathe Free! Mark L. Vincent reflects on people who did not want to take their leadership development further

Digitally analog.  There remains some benefit to analog behaviors.

Entrepreneurship is Not a Bed of Lillies, or is it?Actually, lillies make for a great entrepreneurship metaphor.

Faith in the workplace: a place remains for virtue.Leaders of organizations do well to think through appropriate uses of faith in the workplace.

August 2011 - Fighting Disease, Not Death: Finding a way through lifelong struggle

Gaining Perspective– Philip Bergey reflects on the gifts of coaching.

June 2013 - Gary Moore, a voice to consider. A promotion of sound economic thinking. Before one raises the alarm about debt, it is good to also know the assets.

November 2011 - Good Governance: Reflections after 20 years of governance work

November 2013 - Humble Inquiry. Mark L. Vincent reviews Edgar Schein's latest book. 

Is your organization in danger of losing its tongue? More perspective on repristinization.

January 2014 - I've looked at $ from both sides now. Income AND Expense  (This one is important enough that we published it in Depth Perception too!)

A Leadership Theory of Everything. Is it possible for a leader to have an operating theory that covers every contingency?

Legacy trumps history.Legacy and history face different directions. Guess which way a steward leader

July 2013 - Lifelong Executive Development: a Cost Comparison - Mark L. Vincent compares the cost of traditional executive development activity with peer-based consulting teams.

September 2013 - Live Free Under Time's Constraints: 3 ways to travel well through time.faces.

July 2011 - Looking for Tomorrow's Leaders

October 2011 - Loop de Loop de Loop: learning that leads to wisdom in your organization

January 2013 - On the uses of difficulty. Difficulty precedes personal breakthroughs and organizational innovation. We need some but not too much.

April 2013 - Organizational Development:  Executive Leadership Does Not Repeat! Reflecting on changes at J.C. Penney.

May 2013 - Presiding Over Decline. Organizational Leaders have three options when faced with a declining marketplace.

Profit Environment's Secret Sauce. Randal Dick interviews Andrew Olsen on the science behind Profit Environment

Profit Environment case studies: the window is open. Randal Dick makes an introduction.

February 2014 - Something about the sales funnel - Work at the third level of relationship and watch the funnel fill itself.

Succession Thoughts. a construct for leaders about the how and when of leadership succession

Team:  dysfunctional or influential? Philip C. Bergey provides excellent perspective on teamwork.

March 2013 - 10 corrective questions. Provoking questions for leadership team reflection.

This thread is worth grabbing: learning from other types of organizations. Businesses and nonprofits can learn from each other.

September 2011 - Too big to fail vs. failed to be big

Depth Perception

Our bi-monthly essay for nonprofit and ministry leaders.

Again with those percentages. Congregations can bettermanage finances if they work with percentages for distribution of funds. It's a tried and true method.

Baseline Questions. Disciplining the reactions of self.

Basics in Generosity. Stewardship principles all the faith traditions can affirm.

Becoming Even More Charitable. Taxes on charitable contributions should not prevent us from becoming more charitable.

Begrudging Largesse.

The Big Three:  Remaining Focused on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. David Bell provides perspective in an age of bailouts and recession.

Blow Vuvuzela! Blow! Mark L. Vincent's vuvuzela gets kidnapped and he is forced to reflect on his view of the ownership of possessions.

Boom Come the Boomers.

Boredom does not breed style.

Both Sides of the Ledger, and More! Insight on executives who think to the whole of the organization, rather than their exclusive part. 

The Budget as Dangerous Management Tool.

Bullish on Socially Responsible Investing. Values-basedinvesting keeps growing.

Changes in the wind.

Changes since 9/11.

Changing Times. A recessionary economy brings opportunity to some, hardship for others, and a changing economic lifestyle for everyone.

A Chasm between faith and responsibility. We think there is a bridge across this chasm!

Chimp stewardship.

A Christian Business? Businesses that assign themselves the Christian label will find their consumers have high expectations of customer service.

Communications Dr. Downs style.

Competent leadership. Competency does not replace a commitment to mission.

Competition. Communication reduces competition within working groups. Smaller working groups tend to have more opportunity for communication. 

The Congregational Economy. The congregation's economy is more than its budget.

Conversation with Amy and Jocelyn.

Chronologically challenged.

Communion needs community.

Consume to create.

Contemporary Christianity.

Creation: the moral meaning of money.

Creation questions an organization might ask.

Criticizing and Kissing.

The current giving climate. Reflections on changes in givingpatterns during a recession.

Curveball Beanballs.

Debt reduction.


Defining the Terms.

A Denominational Future. A mass mailing sets off reflections on the future of denominations. You can read even more at herehere or here.

Deserving tax breaks.

Deserving tax breaks, part 2.

Desire for control follows size of investment.

Dirty Information.

Disappointment with Organizational Leaders: Flight, Fight or Silence? In tribute to the economist Albert Hirschman

Displaced theology. Reflections on the University ofChicago moving the theology department for an expandingeconomics program.

Do I have to join? People are shedding their labels, and this might include your organization.

Don't forget to think. It is possible for two or more contradicting economic trends to be true.

Downturn Echoes.

Dropping off the college students. Dropping off college students can be compared to a day care field trip down the cereal aisle.

Due diligence. Dale Yeager reflects on how due diligence and assessing credibility go together.

Economic Caroming About. Greed was a problem prior to 2008. Now we are responding to fear. Community is a better way forward

An encounter while leaving a Burger King restroom.

Ethics Review.

Evangelism set right?

Even More Excuses to Leave Church.

Even more stewardship education basics. Design Group International and partners list even more available resources.

Family and Community Fabric. Two elements of a more civil conversation on the definition of family.

Feeding the poor:  an optional activity? The answer is "No."

A few distinctions. The words "accounting", "finance" and "economics" are not interchangeable

A few stray thoughts. As new persons find a home in your congregation, others begin to feel like strangers in the same congregation.

Fighting Disease Not Death--an excerpt from the newly released book Lorie and Mark Vincent journal their approach to living with lifelong and pervasive disease.

A firstfruits cosmology.

Fiscal knowledge isn't carnal knowledge! Not knowing what people give effects how a pastor treats people, even though so many think it does not.

4 levels of followership. Can you identify people at all four levels?

The 4 I's of Wisdom. A rubric for disciplined thinking and problem solving.


Generosity Reflections.

The gift of financial awareness.

Global wealth and the generous Christian.

The god-like power of money. Mark L. Vincent iterates the reasons why this is so.

A good stewardship sermon. 4 key points about tithing.

Greater Good.


Hairy Donations.

Happy Birthday Ben.

Healthy systems.

Home on the range?

Horse sense is possible. An Introduction to the Steward Leaders Game.

How much is enough?

How much is too much?

How much mission for the money? What kind of language are you using to make financial reports?

If the church is a body then the offering is breath. An excerpt from the collection of papers from the 2013 Stewardship Summit.

I perceive you are mistaken.

Integrative Thinking & a Little Merger. How the formation of Christian Leadership Alliance could be an example of integrative thinking.

Interesting and Relevant Institutions.

In troubled times. Congregations need economic wake up calls too.

In which we feel some sympathy for Mr. Timothy Tebow.Categorical religious prejudice against non-profit leaders is becoming common. Yet, whatever ethical system to which one holds is going to proselityze and impose. It cannot be avoided.

Is it a gift when you designate?

It is not time my worth!

It's so simple. The economy is complex. Fuel taxes on US highways are just one example of the economy as a double-edged sword.

I've looked at $ from both sides now. Income AND Expense. We published this in this month's Appriser also.

Jesus love. Mark L. Vincent reflects on the theology of Rebecca West.

Keeping a firstfruits commitment. Mark and Lorie Vincent state their commitment to keep giving, even when battling leiomyosarcoma.

Kerygma washing. Grime tends to adhere to the gospel. Is it time for a power washing?

Leadership Lesson. The starting point for Steward Leaders.

Leading in the future.

Leave your money in your pocket . . . .I don't think so!Isn't there a better way for pastors concerned about offending visitors than telling them to avoid the offering?

Lessons learned from lifelong preaching. After 30 years of preparing and delivering sermons, what does the lifelong preacher observe?

The Life of the Steward.

A Little Black Swan Thinking. Nicholas Taleb's book has implications for Development professionals.

A little decorum please. Reminders of how Christian people function in the middle of social, financial and political concern.

A little music please. New resources for the offering and offertories.

A look Ahead. Are we at a new economic normal?

Losing Control.

Making use of informal process. Informal and formal process work together in good decision making.

Marking Time. There are good reasons for congregations to begin their fiscal years in October.


Money Management.

Money Mania Excerpt.

Another Money Mania Excerpt.

Mortal Profit

Mutual Use Replaces Mutual Aid. Can we rebuild thebenefits of a community economy?

Nanny McPhee, an Icon for Interim Leaders. The Nanny McPhee movies provide the best case studies!

Narconomics: reflection on drug lords as philanthropists.How do you work through the dilemma of receiving money from a corrupted source

Net worth.

New life for denominations? What it takes to re-build Christian denominations.

A Nigerian blender.

A 9th reason?

The 9th reason.

Non-anxious financial parenting. Can we remain calm in front of our children, especially in difficult financial times?

Non-profits and property taxes.

Not another performance review!

The old homogeneity is dead! Long live the new homogeneity? Homogeneity as a societal organizing principle remains but is expressed differently and more divisively than we think. Mark L. Vincent reflects.

One loophole to close. A reflection growing from the Petraeus scandal.

One Way?

Organizational Development: walking the razor's edge. A leader gets in trouble when they propose an idea and when they fail to. It is a matter of what trouble they prefer to experience.

Organizational Switch.

Our new venture.

The Pastor says...

The Penn State aftermath. David Bell reminds board members and CEO's of their responsibilities.

Plaguing Leadership Questions. What is driving your view of the world?

Plugging the funding gap.

Post Christian.

The powerful moment.

The powers invested in  A recent wedding prompts reflection on society's remaking.

Praise for bounty.


Prayerful Reactions. The Reverend Harrie D. Tenure-Short gets reactions to a prayer for children.

Prayer with the emerging church.

Premarital Financial Talking Points. We need to build marriages that build community, not just planning wedding parties.

Problem solving: the work of a designer. Lorie Vincent compares a good oncologist to a good organizational development consultant.

The problems of self-interested leaders. The temptation to act in self-interest rises during recessionary times.

Ready or Not! John Wallner of Lakeshore Inventory poses important questions for trustees and other congregational leaders.

Reclaiming Grandpa's way. Grandpa exemplified living on multiple income streams.

Reconciling duplicity.

A reductionist blessing.

Reflections on the housing allowance.

Renewing Terms.

Rethinking Time.

Return on investment.

Return on investment (again).


Saying "no" to a consultant and doing it with class. How you say no says something about you as a leader as well as your organizational culture.

Shebnah.  Did we know him? Shebnah was the anit-Steward Leader.

Sing this! Lyrics to "A Deep and Glorious Song" by Ken Medema. A new offertory classic!

Sin isn't just for Catholics.

Some stewardship education basics. Identifying some resources available through Design Group International and our partners.

Solidity and long-term solvency. Solid vs. flash: which does the better job of building long-term solvency?

The skills of a steward leader. Four counter-intuitive skills are a distinguishing mark of the steward leader.

Speak ye first the kingdom: a mainline pastor's journey into abundance. An excerpt from Kamila Blessing's book

Specialists are a benefit.

Spin Cycle. Reflections on multiple uses of a dollar before it leaves one's possession.

A Sporting Religion.

Staying Sane.  Commitments made for better public discourse.

Stay just a little while longer! Mark L. Vincent on the top ten reasons people leave congregations.

Steward is the word. A preference for the word "steward" over the word "tewardship."

Stewardship as a Lifestyle. An excerpt from Dr. John R. Frank's new book.

Steward trumps stewardship. More on the difference between these two words.

Stewards don't have to give,or so we say. Since when does being a steward preclude generosity?

Stewardship as creation (part 1).

Stewardship as creation (part 2).

A Stewardship Ministry. The essence of Stewardship Ministry.

A Stewardship Prayer. A basic prayer for consecrating giving.

STS not FTBNBT!Kim Stezala passes along wise advice for organizational leaders.

Stuck Theology.

Stuck Theology 2.

Stumbling blocks to the Islamists, foolishness to the secular humanists

Subsidizing your employer: a bad deal bad for everyoneLorie Vincent calculates what it costs to commute to a low end job

Swimming Upstream.

Team effectiveness. Ownership of the process makes a difference!

Theological reflection-are you scared?

Thick Irony.

Thoughts growing from Haitian lanterns.

Thoughts on apathy.

3 questions often asked about the offering as worship. From Mark L. Vincent's presentation at the 2013 Stewardship Summit.

Time for the Offering.

Time Warped.


Total Economy Thinking.

Train jumpers with ferret.


Transformational Stewardship. Organizations that want to grow the heart of the giver need to make the entire shift. Anything else is just window dressing.

Troubling Insight.

Two Planning Scenarios.

Two Theological Errors But who is counting?

An uncle's love. An excerpt from Kamila Blessing's bookSpeak Ye First the Kingdom, published by Design Group International.

Unified giving versus designation: must we choose between them?

Want prosperity? Go to church.

Wealth Transfer: much ado about nothing?

We can't grow unless we discuss it. An excerpt from a Chris McDaniel interview.

Welcome to Cleveland!

What Charles and Corey taught me.

What drives your understanding of life in the economy? An excerpt from Gary Hoag's presentation at the 2013 Stewardship Summit.

What exactly is ours?

What's in it for me?

What is your definition of a Steward Leader? Mark L. Vincent explores what people mean when they use these words.

Why go at all?

Wise management for one's heirs.

With apologies to all ornithologists.

"Yes, but....." is not a supportive position. Answering "Yes, but . . . ." is really just saying "No."

You don't have to work, you know. a 5 yr old's comments about government handouts leads Mark L. Vincent to reflect on how children learn about money.

You know it isn't that easy! Organizational complexity needs to be embraced if leaders want to be effective.

Youth Convention Reflections.

Your Next Organizational Leadership: Insiders or Outsiders? We propose a bridge between them.

White Papers

4 Financial Confusions Infecting Nonprofit Leaders.Our free e-book exposes them and helps you think clearly about financial management.

Change Champion: Making Plain and Affirming Change in the Midst of Organizational and Congregational Life

Congregational Money Autobiography. An exercise often used by individuals exploring their spiritual growth, a money autobiography is useful for congregations as well.

Deep Gladness:  Conversation For All

Farewell:  The practice of Interim-time abundance

Feeling Untethered:  Leading Emotional and Spiritual Transition

Forming a Naming Policy.Policies depend on organizational type and should be discerned from mission and guiding values.

Foundational Skills - ACT.

Joining Well and Well Joined:  Grace Space for Interim-Time Ministry.  It  begins with profound self-awareness and gracious receptivity… deeply attends to every “holy thing”… and means doing and speaking ones life: authentic, approachable, real.

Pastor's Office Hours. How best to set up a system of accountability that grants permission rather than feels oppressive?

The Tao of Action-Reflection. Design Group International consultants describe their consultative approach.

Thinking through an interim ministry period. Design Group International lays out its orientation to Interim Ministry.


Not Dying Before You Are Dead. One in a series of talks on Fighting Disease, Not Death.


Fighting Disease, Not Death:  A study guide. The accompanying study guide to Lorie and Mark Vincents book that chronicles her long cancer battle. 

Fighting Disease, Not Death: Building a platform of praise on the circumstances of our lives. The first in a series of talks given by Mark L. Vincent on the themes of the book chronicling his wife Lorie's battle with leiomyosarcoma.

Reflections on the passing of Mark Brinkman. Comments given at the memorial service by CEO Mark L. Vincent

Ride the wave or control the ocean?  A talk on struggling through the endless waves of life, using experiences from Matthew's gospel of Jesus.