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

What Makes for a Strong Partnership?

by Dan Hotchkiss Nothing is more important to a congregation’s dynamism than strong partnership between the clergy leader and the governing board. By a strong partnership, I don’t mean one in which the partners are necessarily comfortable or happy all the time. A strong partnership is one that produces results in keeping with the congregation’s […]

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Does Size Matter?

by Sarai Schnucker Rice Congregational life has very few reliable metrics, and when we think we’ve found one, we all seize upon it, grateful for some measure of certainty in an otherwise murky world. For example, it seems as if we’ve been talking forever about family, pastor, and program. Even without any additional information, you’ve […]

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The Stories We Don’t Tell

by John Wimberly One of the things I love about consulting is listening to the way congregations describe themselves. The narratives they spin about themselves are usually filled with a great deal of pride and love—problems they have overcome, faithful work they have done together, loving their favorite pastors, surviving their least-favorite pastors, the list […]

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How to Have a Better Conversation

by Susan Beaumont Board leaders long for meaningful meetings. Instead, many participate in mind-numbing meetings that repetitively chase topics, with little forward momentum. Agendas are rigidly structured around the receipt of reports, with little work that actually impacts the future of the congregation. What would it take to foster more fruitful board conversations?

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Four Ingredients of Successful Congregational Change

by David Brubaker How can congregational leaders make needed changes without incurring wrenching conflict? In addition to working as part of a Team, successful change leaders set a Tone of invitation and listening, take Time to understand the system and to earn the right to propose change, and nest their congregation’s story in Theology–their larger […]

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Vanessa Williams and Joelle Anderson

The Seminary Class of 2014

by Susan Nienaber I sat down recently with two new friends, Joelle Anderson and Vanessa Williams, recent graduates of Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. As an older, mainline Protestant clergywoman speaking with two much younger women-one African-American and the other Euro-American, both graduating from an evangelical seminary-I was curious about the worldview of two […]

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How to Give Away Your Power

by Dan Hotchkiss It’s relatively easy to find people willing to do tasks. It’s hard to cultivate real leaders—people to take charge of projects and gather others to get something done. As one pastor put it, “We have willing workers, but I can’t seem to create leaders. I can delegate work, but I don’t know […]

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