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 to leaders of congregations and other purpose-driven organizations.

—Dan Hotchkiss, editor

Breaking Our Dependence on Praise

by Susan Beaumont “You like me. You really like me!” Let’s face it. We are all guilty of defining our self-worth by what others think. When people praise us we feel successful. Are we? Courageous and adaptive leadership requires leaning into our own incompetence, and pointing out the incompetence of our congregations. Leading beyond our […]

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The Self-Organizing Congregation

by Sarai Rice Most congregations occupy buildings. They gather for meetings around long or round tables in the library or parlor. They worship in the sanctuary. They learn in classrooms. And when they want to eat, they organize in the kitchen and sit together in the fellowship hall. Their buildings have been designed for these […]

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Mobilizing for Ministry

by John Wimberly Fair or unfair, the younger generations have negative assumptions about the way committees function. Teams, however, are something they understand and embrace. My first clue was at the church I was serving. When I asked the growing number of Gen-Xers and Millennials to serve on committees, I usually got, “Thanks, but no […]

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Option 4: Secure an authorized lay pastor or locally ordained clergy

[This article is part 4 of the series Crunch Time for Small Congregations.] Several denominations have alternative methods by which persons might be trained, ordained, or licensed to provide leadership in a congregation without seminarytrained clergy, or as part of a ministry team in a cluster situation. Generally speaking, such arrangements are most effective in […]

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Option 6: End well

[This article is part 6 of the series Crunch Time for Small Congregations.] When a congregation is considering its options, I believe it is healthy to put “holy death” on the list—to face the possibility of closing squarely and openly. There is nothing shameful in admitting that the particular purpose we were here to serve […]

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Option 5: Grow to a size where you can afford full-time clergy

[This article is part 5 of the series Crunch Time for Small Congregations.] When faced with the prospect that they can no longer support a full-time, seminary-trained pastor or rabbi, many congregations set a goal that they will grow to a size where supporting this style of ministry is once again possible. In those cases […]

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Option 3: Join a multi-congregation cluster

[This article is part 3 of the series Crunch Time for Small Congregations.] Another related approach might be called clustering. Several congregations decide to combine as a single mission unit, but maintain more than one location. One end of this spectrum would be full amalgamation—the Roman Catholic parish in my community is a single entity, […]

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