Perspectives for Congregational Leaders

The Congregational Consulting Group, organized in 2014 by former consultants of the Alban Institute, is a network of independent consultants. We publish weekly thoughts on topics of interest leaders of congregations and other purpose-driven organizations.


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Teams: Not Easy, Just Necessary

As an advocate for using teams to carry out the work of a congregation and for eliminating as many committees as possible, I often get phone calls like this: “John, we read your book and decided to move from a committee-driven to a team-driven organization. But it hasn’t gone smoothly!” If I or other advocates […]

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It’s Crazy Out There: Practices for Religious Leaders

We live in a “VUCA” world—a world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. A recent Harvard Business Review article called VUCA “a catchall for ‘Hey, it’s crazy out there!’” Religious leaders can engage these “crazy” times intentionally by cultivating practices that I’ll describe here. Though there can be no guarantees of success when dealing with […]

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Clergy Transition

Clergy Transition and the Power of the Past

For a new ministry to flourish, both clergy and lay leaders need to understand the congregation’s feelings about the predecessor. Every congregation has some history with (or without) clergy. At time of clergy transition, that history influences the selection process and the partnership as it develops.

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Celebrating “Accountability Day”

Americans recently celebrated Independence Day, an event associated, in my childhood mind, mainly with fireworks. In recent years, another July 4 ritual has gained popularity: public readings of the Declaration of Independence. I’ve come to appreciate the annual reminder that genuine authority derives from the consent of the governed, and not from the mere assertion […]

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Circles

How Many People Can a Pastor Supervise?

Only the largest congregations have the resources to hire full-time supervisors. The average congregation employs a “head of staff” who also preaches, teaches, provides pastoral care, leads mission and ministry, and guides the work of the board. Given this breadth of responsibility, how many employees can a pastor effectively supervise?

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Looking for the Superstar

Many congregations think the answer to their problems is a superstar—a charismatic senior pastor, a superb musician, or a Pied Piper youth director. Research on teams reveals a deep flaw in such thinking, and congregational leaders are well advised to pay attention to the data.

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