Congregational Consulting Group logo

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

Can We Do More with Less?

Tolga Ulkan on Unsplash

Many congregations and judicatories make do today with smaller staffs than they had ten years ago. How are they doing? Where I’m working, I would say, “Not always well.” Members want the same or even more “services” in the past from a smaller staff. They say, “We can do more with less.”

I don’t know about you, but my experience with “Let’s do more with less” is not positive. This is the hard truth: When we have less, we generally do less. How can we do more with a smaller staff? Too few admit the obvious, painful reality: We can’t. But we can focus the resources we do have on meeting the most pressing needs we see around us now.

Read more

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.

Read more

In Praise of Staff Continuity

Hiring great people with excellent skills is a first step toward building a cohesive, high-performing staff. Retaining those outstanding people is just as important—indeed, may be even more important in today’s competitive job market.

When I was in seminary, my father, a long-time pastor, started to impart his wisdom: “If you have a great janitor or secretary, do whatever is necessary to keep them on the staff. Give them a higher salary, more days off, better working conditions—whatever it takes!” Once out of seminary, I learned the wisdom of his advice.

Read more

Reorganizing, Now That You’re Smaller

Photo by Hanna Morris on Unsplash

“We don’t have enough people to fill all of our positions.” I hear this complaint a lot, especially in congregations that are smaller than they used to be. Their official structure may call for a dozen or more boards and committees. Add it all up, and a congregation that sees 50 people on its pews feels obliged to fill up 60 or more seats around committee tables. Streamlining the official structure is a challenge, but with a clear plan and some determination, it can be done.

Read more

Getting the Nuts and Bolts Right

Edge2Edge Media on Unsplash

It is impossible to check my email without a bunch of articles popping up regarding the “macro” context for ministry these days. People are obsessed with it. They can’t stop writing and talking about all the changes that have taken place post-pandemic, most of which actually started about forty years ago. In contrast, I am obsessed these days with “micro.” Congregations cannot seize the macro-opportunities of this decade without tackling their many micro-issues—getting the nuts and bolts right.

Read more