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.

Meeting face to face

Leading as Meeting “Them” Where They Are

I remember the moment a clergyperson said, so matter-of-factly, during a retreat: “If it weren’t for the congregation, I’d be a great leader.” We all broke into laughter. Most of us wanted to believe it. But as pleasant as the fantasy of leading without anyone else interfering may seem, we can’t lead without a context […]

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Country-church-bright-sunny-autumn-day_-_West_Virginia_-_ForestWander

A Recipe for Vitality

It is hard for a congregation to revitalize, but when leaders have the courage to make major changes and live deeply into the mission, churches can rebuild. I know this, because it’s happening now in many places.

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woman with megaphone calling for change

Should the Leader Advocate for Change?

Clergy often try to change their congregations, and a rule, their efforts meet resistance. It hurts to be seen as a threat by the very people you are trying to serve, but when a leader’s first move is to advocate for change, that’s generally what happens.

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Vision uncertain, Curved road ahead

What to do When Vision Eludes You

The change of a calendar year suggests inspiration. The old year with its depleted reserves is behind us. For leaders especially, the new year calls forth optimism and imaginative beginnings—or it should. But what if you just feel empty? What can you do when fresh vision eludes you, when you have lost capacity to dream […]

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Tiny church | by Loozrboy <a href"https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(CC BY-SA 2.0)</a>

In Praise of Small Congregations

We live in a society that assumes larger is better. But as Isaiah wrote, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” (55:8) Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that Jesus challenged the assumption that larger is better: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Jesus’ […]

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Old church building

What Will We Do About the Building?

Many congregations are seeing a decline in contributions and attendance. Most of them try to address the decline, usually by tweaking staff size and deferring maintenance. But I rarely encounter a church that is willing to consider one of the biggest and potentially most energizing changes: letting go of the building.

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meeting

Meetings With an Afterlife

An organization director I once worked with was asked, “What do you do?” He replied, “I attend meetings.” Sadly, this was true. The “meetings and meetings-about-meetings” culture was pervasive in that director’s organization. Once while sitting in a meeting with people flown in from around the country, I started estimating the travel and staff time […]

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