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The Congregational Consulting Group, organized in 2014 by former consultants of the Alban Institute, is a network of independent consultants. We publish PERSPECTIVES for Congregational Leaders—thoughts on topics of interest to leaders of congregations and other purpose-driven organizations. —  Dan Hotchkiss, editor

Making Your Core Values Matter

Apple Core by dixieroadrash CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 D

Core values are especially important when identity is shifting and resources are dwindling. At such times, when decisions must be made about what to say yes to and what to stop doing, core value statements are a critical discernment tool. However, core values won’t help you if they aren’t unique, mutually embraced, and authentic to the community, or if you don’t use them regularly.

Many congregations write a core value statement as part of a planning process along with a mission and vision statement, plaster them all on a wall someplace, and promptly forget them. Is a core values statement worth doing? Yes—but only if you create it well and use it effectively.

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Getting Volunteers to Say Yes

Most congregations have ideas about how they’d like to innovate. However, things fall flat when it comes to recruiting volunteers to carry out those ideas. Discover how you can strengthen the practice of influence, ethically persuading others to invest time and energy in a new idea. If you follow the right principles, more volunteers will say yes.

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Revisiting Remote Work

Remote work and hybrid work arrangements can be complicated. Who gets to decide how much time employees spend in the office? Is it discriminatory to allow some to work remotely while requiring others to work on site? How do we know if remote workers are being productive? It’s time to push pause, review our practices, and establish new policies.

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Staff Team Design for a New Era

Vishal Vasnani on Unsplash

The pandemic unraveled staff team structures. Resignations and retirements were at an all-time high. Downsizing was necessary for some congregations. Others hired new staff to respond to the unique needs of a pandemic era. Now things are settling down and leaders are questioning whether they have the right configuration of staff. Fruitful staffing conversations begin with the congregation’s unique circumstances and are guided by a realistic vision of its future.

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Innovation: Living into Your Next Potential

paper ball, paper airplane
Matt Ridley on Unsplash

“We need to innovate” may be one of the most overused phrases addressing the future of the Church. We like to dream big dreams, but realistically, what can we accomplish with our limited resources and our members who dislike change? Which innovation efforts will help create and sustain a hope-filled future—and which will prove to be a poor investment of our time and resources?

The future of any congregation is neither completely open nor completely pre-determined. Instead, we face a corridor of potential, constrained by boundaries. A future not yet known but brimming with possibilities is bounded by limitations of the past and present. We only have so many resources and opportunities. It is false to think that nothing new is possible. It is just as false to pretend that everything is possible.

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Challenging Outdated Assumptions

In an era when innovation and adaptation are needed, many struggle to break free of old thinking patterns. No matter what we do, our congregations drift back to familiar, settled ways of doing things. It’s time to drop beneath the surface of our actions and challenge outdated assumptions that sustain the status quo.

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