A way of understanding the primary task of a parish church is as the facilitation of a cycle moving between renewal in baptismal identity and purpose and apostolate in family, workplace, and civic life.
For more on the Renewal-Apostolate Cycle see Fill All Things: The Dynamics of Spirituality in the Parish Church
Parish Based Material
Spirituality: Trinity, Seattle - The Anglican approach to spirituality tends to be appreciative of many approaches to the spiritual life. Our focus, of course, is on living in our own tradition, doing that well, and offering it to others who might find it a way of grace and love.
Center for Spiritual Development - At the Cathedral in Portland, Oregon - "for those 'beyond the gates' of Trinity parish even as we nurture and are nurtured by our own Trinity community"
Spirituality: St. Paul's, Seattle - Christian spirituality sees Jesus Christ as "the fully human being."
Support System for Parish Health
Shaping the Parish - Provides two interdependent elements: 1) A support system for your parish as it seeks increased health. 2) The development of people in the parish with increased skills and knowledge for shaping the parish. Shaping the Parish assumes that vibrant, faithful churches will flourish as parishes and their leaders improve their own spiritual practices, emotional and social intelligence, ability to use change theory and methods. A new program with both national and diocesan expressions. Focuses on immediate, tangible improvements while building long-term parish health.
Models & Theories
Shape of the Parish Model A two page summary of the model offered in Fill All Things: The Spiritual Dynamics of the Parish Church, Robert Gallagher
Oscillation Theory -- Bruce Reed's theory on the dynamics of dependence
Episcopal Spirituality - In a booklet form, the elements of an Episcopal Spirituality. The Episcopal Church has developed a particular form of Christian spirituality that has emerged from its roots in Anglicanism and in the American experience. That spirit can be found in most parishes and dioceses of the church
Godly Play Resources - Based on the work of Maria Montessori (a tradition that honors the child's natural sense of the sacred and seeks to provide a richly structured environment in which the religious potential of a child may freely develop); Jerome Berryman developed a comprehensive religious education curriculum
Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development - To help any persons, families, or pastors deepen their Christian faith, intersecting with concerns of daily life and work; committed to integrating Evangelical and Reformed emphases—grace, scripture, providence, service, vocation—with the heritage of Catholic, Anglican, Quaker, and Orthodox spirituality
Spirituality & Health - From Trinity, Wall Street
Spirituality & Practice - These 37 practices are markers of the spiritual life. Recognized by all the world's religions, they help us connect with the Divine, our true selves, our neighbors, and the whole Creation.
Stages of Faith
John Westerhoff's Model - The stages of faith are like rings of a tree. Just like a tree adds one ring on top of another, we do not leave the needs of the earlier stages behind after we expand into the next stage. We continue to need the faith experiences of the earlier stages throughout our lives. Westerhoff labels the four stages of faith development: experienced faith, affiliative faith, searching faith, and owned faith.
EFM - Education for Ministry - A 4 year program of theological education-at-a-distance of the School of Theology of the University of the South. It covers the basics of a theological education in the Old and New Testaments, church history, liturgy, and theology. Students meet regularly, usually once a week, in seminars under the guidance of trained mentors.
-- some retreat houses also offer spiritual direction and programs on spiritual formation
The Community of St. John Baptist - Mendham, New Jersey
Order of Julian of Norwich - Waukesha, Wisconsin
Holy Cross Monastery - West Park, New York
Mount Calvary - Santa Barbara, California
St. Gregory's Abbey - Three Rivers, MI
Society of St. Margaret - Boston
The Society of Saint John the Evangelist - Cambridge, MA
Saint Augustine's House - Lutheran Monastery & Retreat House Oxford, Michigan
Pendle Hill - A Quaker center for study and contemplation in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.
The Daily Office - Episcopal
Oremus - A form of the Episcopal Daily Office
Liturgy of the Hours - Roman Catholic
Shaping the Parish - Provides training as part of a broader support system to facilitate parish health
Human Relations Training
Several programs that use T-groups along with other methods to help participants do focused work on emotional intelligence. All are lab education programs.
1. Congregational Development - Will contract with a diocese to provide training in human interaction, conflict management, consultation skills, group development, and educational/program design skills
2. National Training Labs - Offers a large number of experiential training workshops.
3. Center for Emotional Intelligence and Human Relations Skills - Training in emotional intelligence and human relations skills for seminarians, clergy and religious leaders
4. Group Facilitation Training Program (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University)
5. Cross Cultural Communications - Conduct a yearly conference
Sites with information on T-groups
T-Groups, facilitation and experience - History, role of Kurt Lewin
Vital Practices for Leading Congregations - Explores new ways of supporting congregations by building online communities of Episcopalians who share their stories, experiences, and best practices, who learn from one another, and who discover support to help sustain their leadership and their ministries.
Episcopal Church Resources - Somewhat useful for information on trends, the emergent church and churchplanting. Thin on how the overwhelming majority of parishes can enter into a process of revitalisation.
A special kind of healer is invoked when the church itself needs saving - Washington Post article on congregational development
Congregational Resource Guide - strive to point leaders to those materials that can assist them in aiding their congregation’s efforts to become healthy bodies of worship and agents of transformation in the communities they exist.
The Alban Institute - Training, research, books on congregational development
Parish Resources - Parish Resources: Booklets, Models, Handouts. Including:
Survey-Feedback & Assessments Packet, Parish Growth & Size Packet, Parish Discernment - Formation Process of Aspirants for Priesthood, Anglican Spirituality Course, Liturgical resources
Synagogue 3000 - is a comprehensive project for the spiritual transformation of synagogue structure and culture, one that combines a comprehensive and detailed vision of the Jewish future and synagogue life with change-management techniques. We already have dozens of congregations all over the nation participating in our various programs, and we look forward to watching that number grow.
Interim Ministry Network - Training and resources for churches in transition.
Transforming Christian Leaders - Provides a collection of resources centered around stories about congregational life and challenges.
Chochmat HaLev (Wisdom of the Heart) - a center specializing in meditation and spirituality training and practice; located in the San Francisco Bay Area; seeks to combine the wisdom of ancient tradition with the insights of modernity, creating a path of transformation much needed in contemporary America; multi-denominational and bound together by a belief that Torah wisdom has a profound ability to open the heart and heal the spirit.
Deepening Our Conversation with God - interview with Henri Nouwen and Richard Foster
Kurt Lewin's Change Theory - by Edgar Schein. The article engages in a broad exploration of issues in organization development including Schien's own thoughts about culture change and "you can't understand a system until you try to change it."
Solitude and Leadership - by Wm. Deresiewicz to the 2010 plebe class at West Point. "Solitude can mean introspection, it can mean the concentration of focused work, and it can mean sustained reading. All of these help you to know yourself better. But there’s one more thing I’m going to include as a form of ssolitude, and it will seem counterintuitive: friendship."
How to minister at a healthy pace - by John C. Ortberg
Build a Better Board: Create a healthy team to grow a healthy church - an interview with Larry Osborne
Ministry to missing members: How to respond when people drop out of church - by John S. Savage
Congregation: Stories and Structures - an on-line book by James F. Hopewell
Personal Best: Top Athletes and singers have coaches. Should you? by Atul Gawande. On coaching. Useful in at least three ways: 1) Could you as the rector or a lay leaders benefit in your own work?, 2) The need to coach and guide members taking on parish work, and 3) Understanding that having significant impact on spiritual practices and growth requires some form of spiritual guidance/direction as you build a critical mass.
The Rise of the New Groupthink - by Susan Cain in the New York Times. Explores the relationship between creativity and ssolitude and introversion. Offers a resource to balance our thinking about the role of teams and time for solitude. Acknowledges the need for both but fails to note specific ways to integrate. For example in discussing the brainstorming process the writer takes an either/or approach when in fact skilled facilitators combine time for individual thinking with brainstorming processes.
Overview - Wikipedia
Organization Development Network - The primary professional organization in the USA
Appreciative Inquiry Resources
Introduction - By David L. Cooperrider and Diana Whitney
Appreciative Inquiry - An Overview by Kendy Rossi A very useful, short overview. It’s especially helpful in that Rossi acknowledges that AI isn’t for every situation. It avoids the “true believer” approach to AI.
Appreciative Inquiry: The Pluses and Minuses - Robert A. Gallagher & Michelle E. Heyne
Many people find e-lists (or listserves) useful tools for learning and staying in touch with various professional fields
This is the largest one dealing with congregational development for US Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans (plus a few others from NZ, UK, etc)
Organization Development Listserves
The OD Network (largest professional association in that field) has a number of open listserves. The main list is the largest and most active.