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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

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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Breaking the Burnout Cycle

Church staff approach the beginning of a program year with enthusiasm and energy, but as the year winds down, this often gives way to malaise and exhaustion. Staff rely on the summer months for revitalization before the cycle begins anew. This cycle of overwork, exhaustion and renewal has never been healthy, but during the pandemic, the summer hiatus has not offset months of overwork and stress. Many staff are running on empty—already burned out while the program year is still new.

It’s time to break the burnout cycle by instituting healthy, sustainable church workplace practices.

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