Matt Burke

Matt Burke is the director of the Northeast Center for Congregations in Fort Wayne and serves as the Center’s Education Director statewide. Matt has a background in classroom, digital and experiential education. He is passionate about using education to develop deeper faith in congregational participants.

Contributions From Matt Burke

Congregational Communication Resources
Curator Matt Burke
Navigating Polarizing Politics
Curator Matt Burke
For The CRG Created For The CRG
Podcast: Productive Learning on the Run

As a consultant with the Center for Congregations, I travel a good bit. Sometimes I spend several hours in the car on a given day. While it’s nice to listen to music or enjoy the silence, it can also be nice to continue learning during the extra time. Thank you, podcasts!

Many don’t realize that podcasts are not just about entertainment. There is a great variety of valuable educational content and subject matter out there, ranging from practical to spiritual. Podcasts can be beneficial not just for you but for helping those in your congregation learn.

And did I mention that podcasts themselves are free? The term “subscribe” can be a bit misleading, but this just means that you are giving permission for the podcast to send you new episodes. It doesn’t require you to pay for it.

Getting Started
For Apple mobile device users, simply download the podcast app. For Android users, there are many possibilities: some free, some requiring a subscription. If you prefer to listen from a computer, a number of podcasts also have the audio available on its website.

If you haven’t yet delved into the world of podcasts, I encourage you to check it out. Here are some recommendations to get you started.

Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast – conversations with top ministry leaders of the day
Catalyst Podcast – interviews with Christian leaders

Youth Ministry:
Thinkorange Podcast – “ideas and conversations to help you influence the next generation”
Youth Culture Matters from The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding (CPYU) – “helping parents, youth workers, educators pastors and others understand and reach today’s youth culture”
Download Youth Ministry (DYM) – “a collection of shows to help you win in youth ministry”

Culture and context:
On Being with Krista Tippett – this podcast seeks to have conversations about the questions of meaning in our current context

Sermon Brainwave by Working Preacher – geared towards helping pastors interpret and preach the weekly lectionary

Community is Messy: The Perils and Promise of Small Group Ministry
This resource reveals the difficulties of small group ministry, arguing that such challenges are what make the small group a perfect community for growth.
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Small Group Ministries
Based on the “Purpose Driven Life” philosophy of Saddleback Church, Small Group Ministries is devoted to providing resources for congregations looking to begin or grow their small group ministries.
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This web resource is a vast library of resources for small group ministry that is organized around four categories: building small group ministry, training leaders, leading groups and bible study materials.
Small Group Leaders' Handbook: Developing Transformational Communities
This resource argues that small groups are all about transformation, providing an overview of small groups based in authentic community.
Biblical Foundations for Small Group Ministry: An Integrational Approach
This resource provides a biblically-based theological framework for small group ministry.
Healthy Church Cell Groups
This article argues that cell groups are the basic building block of any congregation and explains key principles of cell blocks while offering an adaptable framework for congregations.
Against the Current: The Unexpected Challenges of Multi-Ethnic Ministry
This article contains an interview with the senior pastor of River City Community Church in Chicago and discusses issues and questions of multi-ethnic congregations.
Books Lay Out Guiding Principles for Small Groups in Parishes
This article highlights statistics on Catholics who have left their faith and provides reactions from parish leaders on using small groups as a possibility for deepening the faith of parishioners.
Building a Life-Changing Small Group Ministry: A Strategic Guide for Leading Group Life in Your Church
The first book of a series, this resource provides a how-to guide on building and leading small group ministry in a church.
Field Guide for Small Group Leaders
This resource focuses on the small group leader's responsibility to prepare and lead small group meetings.
Small Group Leadership as Spiritual Direction: Practical Ways to Blend an Ancient Art into Your Contemporary Community
This resource looks at small group leadership from a counseling perspective, arguing that leaders must take seriously the task of being spiritual directors for members.
Lead Small: Five Big Ideas Every Small Group Leader Needs to Know
This resource provides strategies for encouraging faith among children through small group ministry.
Nine Keys to Effective Small Group Leadership
This resource sees to deepen understanding of why small groups are essential to congregational health, providing nine keys to starting and maintaining healthy small groups.
The Ministry of Small Groups: Towards an Integration of Orthodoxy and Orthopraxis
This article looks at six reasons why small groups fail and offers solutions.
Making Small Groups Work: What Every Small Group Leader Needs to Know
Drawing upon the authors' experiences as psychologists, this resource looks at what makes a group work well in order to improve small group ministry.
Missional Small Groups: Becoming a Community That Makes a Difference in the World
This resource shows how missional small groups differ from conventional small groups, arguing that an outward focus is necessary for small groups to fulfill their truly intended purpose.
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11 Principles for Improving Your Church's Small Groups
This short blog provides practical tips for implementing a small group ministry.
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Groups Matter - #TheExchange with @EdStetzer and @RealEricGeiger
President of LifeWay Research Division Ed Stetzer and Vice President of LifeWay Christian Resources Eric Geiger both have doctorates from Southern Seminary in leadership and church ministry and together they wrote "Transformational Groups", based on one of the largest research studies done on small group ministry.
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Transformational Groups – Part 1 – The Exchange – Full Episode
This web resource offers a forty-eight minute interview with Ed Stetzer and Eric Geiger about the “discipleship deficit” within the Christian church that is believed to stem from a lack of strong small group environments in the church today.
Parish Cell System: Leader Training Manual
This training guide is designed for Catholic congregations seeking to implement small group ministry models based on evangelism in their local parish.
Ministry Outreach: Growing Your Church's Small Groups
This article provides a basic framework for understanding healthy small group leadership.
Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities and Churches
This research-based book examines the differences between "mission true" organizations that have stayed true to the spiritual commitments of their founders, and "mission untrue," those that have not.
GIA Publications, Inc.
This organization provides music resources for a number of different types of church music, including choral work, traditional hymnody, folk-style music, Hispanic music, music for the African American church, and more.
This organization provides reports and trainings about software options that are relevant to congregations.
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Maximum Generosity: Inspiring Open-Handed Giving in a Tight-Fisted World
Brian Kluth has created this site in order to aid congregations, nonprofits, parachurch organizations and denominations in approaching financial matters.
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Singing from the Lectionary
This weekly blog website, provided by Natalie Sims, provides recommendations several weeks ahead of the appropriate Sunday worship, such as song recommendations, along with the source of the song, brief notes on how to use it, and lyric and sound samples.
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You Call That Church Music?
Annie Strickland is the music and arts director of Grace Episcopal Church in Bainbridge, Washington, and writes a blog for those that desire to follow the Lectionary but are looking for alternatives to traditional music.
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Technical Preservation Services: Preservation Briefs
The National Park Service provides briefs on various specific issues related to historic building preservation.
Death and Resurrection of an Urban Church
This article details the story of an urban congregation in Indianapolis and how it adapted an asset-based approach that focused on the community needs.
Effective Ministry
This organization provides research on church growth rates and online resources for building churches focused on discipleship.
Joel Comiskey Group
This organization provides in-depth resources for cell group ministry and how to plant new cell churches.
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Mosaix Global Network
This organization provides resources and membership for congregations interested in establishing healthy multi-ethnic communities.
The UU Small Group Ministry Network
This organization provides information and resources for small group ministry such as an e-newsletter, small group session plans, information on implementing small groups, an archive of the Small Group Ministry journal, and an online discussion group.
Youth Specialties
With 50+ years of youth ministry experience, this organization hosts the annual National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC) and produces resources for youth leaders.
LifelongFaith Associates
Led by John Roberto, this organization helps congregations develop sustainable faith formation with a host of modern discipleship tools for the whole congregation.
Praying Pelican Missions
This organization leads short-term mission trips for a variety of groups ranging from individuals to whole congregations.
Social Media Church
This podcast features various church leaders discussing how they use social media to engage people online.
The Youth Cartel
This organization supports adults who minister to youth by providing youth ministry training, events, coaching, and books.
Stories That Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business
This book shares how stories can be used to teach and captivate audiences in congregations.
Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart
This book describes collaborative and successful teamwork with examples and good practices.
Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently
In this book, leadership expert John Maxwell shares how to go beyond communication to form relational connections.
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)
This memoir of a biracial woman shares the lessons learned as she navigated the business world and the life trials.
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Coronavirus Resources for the Church
The Wheaton College Human Disaster Institute offers a streamlined resource page for congregations to address the unique challenges of the COVID-19 health crisis.
Giving a Life Meaning: How to Lead Funerals, Memorial Services, and Celebrations of Life
This book provides practical tools for anyone leading a funeral service for the first time.
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Small-Church Pastors Adapt and Recover Kit (SPARK)
During the pandemic, this webpage helps small membership church leaders to adapt and recover from losses.
Why the Word 'Millennial' Makes Me Cringe
Author John Green discusses the downside of labeling millennials, especially if you're trying to attract young adults.
Church & State: Government Restrictions or Biblical Convictions
In this Q Ideas recorded event, Gabe Lyons facilitates a panel discussion about the controversy of gathering for worship during the pandemic.
Hijacked: Responding to the Partisan Church Divide
These co-authors are not on the same side of politics, but they do agree that finding common ground in faith is more important than creating division through politics.
The Colossian Forum
This organization helps Christian communities use cultural conflicts as opportunities for growth rather than division.
Church Recovery Guide: Adapt and Thrive After a Crisis
This short book provides advice and steps to lead a congregation through crisis. These insights are valuable for major change or crisis, especially COVID-19.
This company enhances worship production through remote videocamera and livestream support.
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