I have been speaking with a lot of regional associations lately about our “why” at Holy Cow! Consulting. For us, the reason we do what we do is very clear. Our mission, or why, is to help regional associations and congregations, through an evidence-based discernment process, become vital, healthy organizations that better serve the Kingdom of God.
We have been collecting data from congregations and regional associations for over 25 years. After working with close to 3,000 congregations and receiving 100s of thousands of individual responses, it is arguable that we have the largest database of congregations in the country. But having the biggest database is not our “Why.” It only becomes a part of our “Why” if we use it to help our regional associations and congregations become vital, healthy organizations.
This Fall we will be sharing more of what we have learned from our database in the beginning of a series of books. This first book is entitled “The State of the ELCA: An Organizational Intelligence Perspective.” Russ Crabtree has used the Holy Cow! Consulting database with over 60,000 responses from Evangelical Lutheran Church members around the country to write this book about the current state of the ELCA church. This book will look at the following:
- Vitality of ELCA Churches
- Beliefs and Spiritual Practice of ELCA Members
- Aspirations of Congregations
- Pastoral Transitions
- Financial Giving
Here is what Synod and church leaders are saying about the book:
When ELCA pastors are ordained, one of the promises we make in our ordination vows is to not offer illusory hope. Russ Crabtree helps us live out that vow in this small book. It provides a clear evidence-based approach to assessing where we are as a church. In New England, we now make use of the C.A.T (Congregational Assessment Tool) as the primary instrument for helping our congregation live in the present, and plan with honesty for the future. – Bishop James Hazelwood, New England Synod
Once again, Russell Crabtree has challenged us with a call to base our planning and practice on evidence rather than pre-conceptions or anecdotal biases. This book is a must-read for congregational leaders, synod staffs, and synod councils. For those who have ears to hear it will guide us into more effective and faithful leadership.” – Bishop Wayne N. Miller, Metropolitan Chicago Synod
Author and motivational speaker Denis Waitley says, “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist or to accept the responsibility of changing them”. For the pastor, congregation, and church leaders, to be agents of change, here is an evidence-based book that provides insights for meaningful ministry in the local church. From my experience in leading a transformational congregation, I found myself saying as I was reading, “Yes, this is most certainly true.” Mining these pages for the nuggets of wisdom will raise the bar of dynamic ministry in your setting. The church depends on you—and so does Jesus. – Rev. Ron Qualley, ELCA Pastor, Fairfax/Clifton, VA
All ELCA pastors and council leaders will find much in this groundbreaking book to stimulate thinking,and conversation. Russ Crabtree and the team of Holy Cow! Consulting provide evidence that has the potential for congregations to discover effective practices, refashioned priorities and renewed hope for the future. Our congregation has made use of the C.A.T. (Congregational Assessment Tool) twice in the past five years and it’s been transformational for our mission and a pastoral succession planning process. You owe it to yourself to read this book. – Pastor Kurt M. Jacobson, ELCA Pastor, Eau Claire, WI
Our family at Holy Cow! Consulting continues to strive to support the work our clients are doing and we are committed to sharing what we learn as we go. We look forward to our continued partnership with all of you and are eternally grateful that you have become a part of our “Why.”
Emily Swanson, President