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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

Blessed are the Irritated

Imagine someone pointing an accusing finger at you. Perhaps that person is complaining about what is happening in the congregation that you lead. In your imagination, trace the tip of that accusing finger back along the person’s arm until you reach the torso. You will be led right to their heart! Ask, “What does this …

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Top Five Ways Ministers Get in Trouble

It’s not easy being a pastor, priest, or rabbi. People come to congregations bearing an incredible variety of hopes and aspirations. When reality falls short—as it inevitably does—the clergy leader often takes the fall. That process is almost always painful, even when it turns out to be a good thing for all concerned. A lot of clergy fail, but others manage to avoid the pitfalls and succeed despite the odds. A key to success is to remember that the congregation’s mission, not its minister, is the central issue.

Am I Relevant?

“My worry is that I am not relevant.” I asked fifty denominational leaders to share their deepest worries, and only one brave soul had raised his hand. “No matter what I do,” he said, “the church is likely to continue its decline. My deepest worry is that I have chosen to invest my life in something insignificant—that my vocation has become irrelevant.”

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 and followers. We lead imperfect people in imperfect institutions—imperfectly.