Holy Conversations: Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice for Congregations

Front Cover
Rowman & Littlefield, Nov 1, 2003 - Religion - 289 pages
Planning can be challenging in the contemporary congregation, where people share a common faith and values but may have very different preferences and needs. Much of the literature on congregational planning presents it as a technical process: the leader serves as the chief problem solver, and the goal is finding “the solution to the problem.”

Popular Alban consultants and authors Gil Rendle and Alice Mann cast planning as a “holy conversation,” a congregational discernment process about three critical questions:
  • Who are we?
  • What has God called us to do or be?
  • Who is our neighbor?

Rendle and Mann equip congregational leaders with a broad and creative range of ideas, pathways, processes, and tools for planning. By choosing the resources that best suit their needs and context, congregations will shape their own strengthening, transforming, holy conversation. They will find a path that is faithful to their identity and their relationship with God.

Resource materials are available to purchasers of the book. E-mail resources@rowman.com for more information.
 

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Contents

What Is Strategic Planning?
1
The Basics
3
Questions to Ask Before Planning
17
The Full Planning Process
35
Taking the Process Apart
45
Phase One Getting Ready
47
Phase Two Collecting Data
71
Phase Three Shaping the Future
83
Reading the Congregations Culture
113
Reading the Community Context
127
Spiritual Discernment and Planning
139
Key Roles in the Planning Process
153
Involving the Congregation
163
What Planning Looks Like in Practice
179
Planning in Congregations of Different Sizes
181
Common Driving Issues
189

Issues in Strategic Planning
91
Energy to Plan
93
Where Does Vision Come From?
103
Annual Planning Retreats
197
Resources
205
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Gil Rendle is a senior consultant with the Alban Institute. A United Methodist clergyperson with 15 years of parish experience, he has extensive experience as a congregational and judicatory consultant, focusing on organizational development and systems theory. His other Alban publications include Leading Change in the Congregation (1998), Behavioral Covenants in Congregations (1999), The Multigenerational Congregation (2002), and the video resource Living into the New World (2001).

Alice Mann is a senior consultant with the Alban Institute. An Episcopal priest who has served six congregations, she is a nationally recognized consultant-trainer who has focused on growth strategies, leadership skills, strategic planning, spirituality, and congregational development. Her other Alban publications include The In-Between Church (1998), Can Our Church Live? (1999), Raising the Roof (2002), and the video resource What Size Should We Be? (2001).

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