Organizational Intelligence and the development of Evidence Based Congregational Membership

One of the things that we frequently discuss with a congregation’s leadership is the idea of now we have the data, but what do we do with it.  It is here that the conversation turns to not just being leaders but having an evidence-based leadership – encouraging leaders to engage in a discernment process that integrates organizational intelligence into their leadership decision making. This is important for the leadership as they move forward. But, leaders are not the only ones in a congregation cannot work alone.

Organizational intelligence makes something else possible:  an evidence-based membership.  An evidence-based membership is one that has learned how to integrate organizational intelligence into their behaviors. 

Let’s look at why this is so important through the following example:

A church takes the CAT and discovers that it is in the Recovery Quadrant.  In addition, a lack of flexibility appears to be the primary factor inhibiting their vitality.  In a politically-based membership, leaders try to win support for developing a more adaptable culture through their own relational cache.   This is a top-down approach that inevitably invites polarization around the local configuration of relational networks.

In an evidence-based membership, the entire congregation confronts its own lack of flexibility, understands the trajectory of that organizational culture, and wrestles with the likely consequences of choosing to become more adaptable or remain settled.  The focus of the discernment process shifts from how folks relate to a particular leader or leadership team to how they are going to deal with their own corporate and individual behavior.

The implications of this shift are profound and include:

  • Specifying clearer, more concrete changes in behavior for members who are committed to developing a more vital congregation.
  • Relieving pressure on young clergy who are thrust into systems with politically-based memberships that repeatedly cycle through conflicts that have little to do with him/her.
  • Developing change processes that are also bottom-up rather than cascading all change down from the top.

Developing an evidence-based membership requires all the steps of developing an evidence-based leadership, beginning with helping them understand that their biggest problem is that they don’t know what they don’t know.

We are not suggesting that OI will or should eliminate the need for the political and relationally based components of leadership.  These types of components will still exist but having an evidence-based membership frees leaders from spending all their time and energy answering WHY so that they can invest their leadership into WHAT’S NEXT.

An excerpt from our new book “Penguins in the Pews: Climate, Change and Church Growth” by J. Russell Crabtree

Purchase Here
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An Introduction from “Penguins in the Pews”

In a study published in Nature, scientists showed that over the past 50 years the numbers of emperor penguins in Antarctica have dropped by more than 50 percent.  The problem:  The current climate cannot support penguin populations, and emperor penguins in particular are having trouble adapting to the change.

Eight thousand miles to the north, a similar problem is devastating populations of Protestants where, over the past 50 years, membership in most mainline churches has dropped by more than half.  The problem: like their penguin cousins, the current climate in most churches does not offer a compelling reason to belong, and members are having trouble adapting to the change.

Members realize that something must be done.  When nearly 200,000 members from over 1,300 churches were asked where they would like the church to invest additional energy, they prioritized “develop a comprehensive plan to reach new members” as the first or second priority 92% of the time.  With an average age over 53 years, the members of the typical mainline church are significantly older than the general population.  Conscious of the demographic hole for younger cohorts in their congregations, 72% of churches ranked “make necessary changes to reach families with children and youth” as first or second as well.

The concern for numeric growth is undoubtedly a response to nearly 50 years of membership decline in mainline denominational churches.  A review of the last ten years of data from the churches in the Holy Cow! Consulting database reveals that this decline continues, and is universal across all denominations.  (See Figure 1)

Figure 1  Decline in Attendance Universal for Mainline Churches

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Congregational leaders are looking for resources that can help them address these priorities.  When 20,000 leaders were asked where they wanted their middle judicatory to invest additional energy, “equipping leaders to reach new members” was the first or second priority 100% of the time.  Given the opportunity, it is reasonable to assume that leaders would prioritize services from church consultants in a similar order.

Over the years, leaders have adopted a number of different perspectives on this decline as they guide churches.

In some quarters, it has been treated as a non-issue.  From this perspective, churches are called to be faithful.  Numeric growth or decline is in God’s hands.  The advantage of this approach is that it frees leaders from the complexities involved in making new disciples and allows them to focus solely on issues bubbling up in the corporate consciousness.

A related approach has been to treat numeric decline as beneficial.  The thought here is that many persons who joined the church in the 50’s and 60’s were members in name only.  Their departure from the church has left a core of more committed members who can now be about a ministry unhampered by the inertia of half-heartedness.

A third approach has been to treat numeric growth as a bi-product of church vitality.  If a church is healthy, it will automatically grow.  If a church is not growing, it is a sign that something is internally amiss.  This approach allows members to simply focus on the health of the church with the assumption that numeric growth will follow.

A fourth approach has been to engage the issue of church growth directly through programs that have a proven track record in other faith communities.  What one church can do, another can do.  The advantage of this approach is that it offers clarity through a set of programmatic blueprints.

An alternative approach is what I call an intelligent system growth strategy.  In contrast to the perspectives above it is built on four core affirmations.

  • Church growth is the result of a core commitment to making disciples, whether understood as individual salvation or incorporation into a soul-saving community.
  • Church growth is ecological in nature. An unhealthy church environment tends to foster a decline in numbers rather than growth.  The churches that are losing members at the fastest rates are those that are the least healthy.
  • Church growth occurs when strategies are employed that are tailored to a particular context. Programs adopted from other churches without consideration of climate and culture will generally fail.
  • Church growth strategies benefit from organizational intelligence, made possible by information technology, which provides valuable insights that can clarify factors that impede or enhance church growth.

I will say more about what I mean by an intelligent system in the next chapter.

This book is written for leaders at every level.

This book is for church leaders serving on planning teams of various kinds, most of whom serve churches with members who indicate that reaching new people is their highest priority.

This book is for the regional association leaders, conferences, dioceses, synods, presbyteries, and districts who are being asked by local leaders to make “equipping leaders to reach new members” their highest priority.

This book is for professional church consultants who shoulder the responsibility of guiding churches in directions that are both faithful and fruitful.

Much of this book is built on the approach detailed in the book Owl Sight:  Evidence-Based Discernment and the Promise of Organizational Intelligence.[2]  Readers will find Owl Sight to be a helpful preface to this one.

[1] http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=98565&page=1

[2] Crabtree, J. Russell, Owl Sight, Evidence-Based Discernment and the Promise of Organizational Intelligence for Ministry, Magi Press, 2012

Coming this Summer: The State of the PCUSA by J. Russell Crabtree

We have shared before, our mission (or our why) at Holy Cow! Consulting, is to help regional associations and congregations, through an evidence-based discernment process, become vital, healthy organizations that better serve the Kingdom of God. As our database continues to grow, it is a part of our mission to use what we learn to help those regional associations and congregations that we have the opportunity to serve.

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This Summer, we will be publishing our fourth book about individual denominations – The State of the PCUSA.

The congregations included in the study participated for a wide variety of reasons: strategic planning, pastoral transitions, financial campaigns, to better understand their organizational health, to track progress, or as part of an effort their particular presbytery has undertaken to become more evidence- based in their ministries to and with congregations. These congregations all administered the Congregation Assessment Tool (CAT)™.  Our sample is broad enough to be representative of all Presbyterian congregations within a confidence interval of ±5%.

This book represents our findings from 287 congregations with 40,000 responses from the members of those congregations.  It also includes every size, from smaller churches with under 100 in worship attendance to churches with over 1,000 persons in worship. While mega- churches and family sized churches possess significantly different cha
racteristics, they share this fact in common: member experience matters.

Because the Presbyterian Church is a denominational system, this book will include  an assessment of the relationship between local church members and their presbytery. It will also explore those perspectives, experiences, and aspirations using a separate instrument called Landscape™. This is one of the larger studies of its kind in the PCUSA, and perhaps unique in its scope which encompasses both local congregations and presbyteries.  This will include 13 different presbyteries with over 3,000 leaders reflecting on the work of their presbytery.

We look forward to sharing what we have learned in our work.  And as always, we are grateful for all of the people, the congregations and the regional associations that have contributed so greatly to our work and have touched our lives along the way.

 

 

 

Telling the Story of the Transformational Congregation

When we call a congregation a Transformational Congregation, we are talking about a congregation with high energy and satisfaction looking particularly at how members themselves are experiencing the church rather than imposing our own external definition.    In our work we have found that just as healthy organizations have certain characteristics ingrained in their corporate culture, healthy or transformational congregations have certain characteristics ingrained in their culture.

We typically find that transformational congregations have the following characteristics:

  • TransformationalInspiring and engaging Worship.
  • Flexibility (the ability to change to meet the needs of the congregation)
  • Conviction that church has given new meaning to life.
  • Inviting, friendly body of people with good relational skills.
  • Open, responsive decision making process (not thwarted by the same small group of people)
  • Opportunities for service in the church and the world that fit a person’s gifts and passions.

A transformational congregation has strategic options that other congregations may not because it does not have to spend a lot of time on internal issues, like managing conflict or regaining trust in the leadership of the congregation.  Instead, it can focus on more external things such as numeric growth, program expansion (ministries, facilities, education),  replication (church planting, mentor), and external impact (local, regional, international).

It is important to note that a congregation with scores in the Transformational Quadrant does not guarantee that it is growing, expanding, replicating or impacting.  Instead the  congregation must choose the right strategies.  In fact, the shadow side of the Transformational Quadrant is that congregations can use the information to avoid taking further risks that growth may require.   It takes as much work for a transformational congregation to continue to have that high energy and satisfaction, keeping the momentum moving forward, as it does for the reinvention congregation in the low energy and satisfaction quadrant to reinvent itself.

We hear a lot about the struggles facing our congregations in every denomination, in every geographical area, in every community.  But, at Holy Cow! Consulting, we also get to hear some pretty phenomenal stories of congregations doing great work and really transforming lives.   There are churches of less then 50 people in their average Sunday attendance that are transformational.  There are transformational churches in rural areas, in metropolitan areas, in the middle of prairies or the D.C. beltway.  There are transformational churches making strides every day and we think we should be celebrating those stories.

Over the next year, Holy Cow! Consulting will be spending some time on this blog telling the stories of these transformational churches from all over the country.  We are hoping these stories will serve as a way to inspire and a way to give hope as we all determine what the Lord is asking of us as congregations.

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Now Available: The State of the Episcopal Church in America

 

 

The State of the Episcopal Church in America

In his new book, The State of the Episcopal Church, J. Russell Crabtree examines the perspectives, experiences, and aspirations of a large cross section of members in the Episcopal Church. 

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The State of the Episcopal Church in America

An Organizational Intelligence Perspective

Russell Crabtree

$12.95 US  ·  Paperback

ISBN 9780997768725

6 x 9 x 0.4  ·  104 pages

MAGI Press

BUY HERE! 

In his reflection on the responses of nearly 41,000 members to a variety of questions, he addresses a number of topics including:

• How does the experience of Episcopalians compare with other mainline denominations?

• What are the five promises that Episcopalians want their churches to make and keep?

• What are some of the factors that make the difference between Episcopal churches that are experiencing vitality and those that are struggling?

• How are Episcopalians experiencing life in their congregations over their lifecycle ranging from the teenage years through child bearing, child rearing, empty nest, and retirement?

• As they think about the future, what are the aspirations of Episcopalians for their churches and how do these vary from Boomlets up through Boomers and the GI Generation?

Get ready for a few surprises as you read the answers to these questions, but also discover Episcopal perspectives on Scripture, spiritual practices, pastoral transitions, and their dioceses.

“…Russ Crabtree helps us live out our promises as a church that inspires our witness of God’s will and dream.” 

Susan Tamborini Czolgosz

Clergy-Focus, the Critical Clergy System and how the Middle Judicatory can help

Clergy:  Power and Vulnerability

With the exception of family-sized congregations, clergy are generally the individuals who hold the most power in a local parish.  Depending upon the polity, this includes the political, relational, moral, and platform dimensions of power.  The introduction of organizational intelligence (OI) into a system has the consequence of making the clergy person one of the most vulnerable, because he or she is the only person in the system where perceptions are individually focused.  This combination of power and vulnerability merits sensitivity on the part of OI interpretive and application consultants.

Since most middle judicatories are charged with particular oversight of their clergy, it is desirable for these bodies to prepare resources for clergy in congregations that are utilizing OI, especially if they are using OI systematically as an information system.  This is particularly true for clergy-focused systems.

The technical definition of a clergy-focused system can be found elsewhere.  Here it will suffice to say that a clergy-focused system is one where members tend to evaluate the vitality of the church through the lens of perceived clergy performance.  A clergy-critical system is one where members perceive that an improvement in the pastor-congregation relationship is the decisive factor in improving the vitality of the church.

Implications for a Clergy-Focused System

The fact that a system is clergy-focused can have a number of different implications and possible trajectories:

  • A “front and center” clergy person who can parley his/her relational capital into ministry and is a good fit for the congregation. The middle judicatory can help the clergy person/church leadership manage any narcissistic risks.
  • An overfunctioning clergy person who is paying a psychic price for success. The middle judicatory can help the clergy person/church leadership manage tendencies to burn-out or flame-out.

Implications for a Clergy-Critical System

A clergy-critical system is essentially a clergy-focused system where things are not going well.  Again, there are a number of different implications and possible trajectories:

  • A pastor who is exercising the necessary leadership to shift the culture of a congregation. The middle judicatory can help the clergy person/church leadership by publicly and privately standing with them.  This usually occurs within the first several years of clergy tenure.
  • A pastor who is no longer, or never was a good fit for the congregation. The middle judicatory can help the clergy person/church leadership in a process of discernment regarding the pastoral relationship.
  • A leadership team that is beginning to engage in a project (strategic planning, leadership development, financial campaign) that avoids the clergy issue. The middle judicatory can help the clergy person/church leadership avoid the costs of those failure paths by keeping the system focused on the primary issue.  Are they being led to (a) shift the church culture, (b) work on the pastoral relationship, or (c) dissolve the pastoral relationship?

In many cases, these will not be easy conversations.  However, many issues in clergy-
focused or clergy-critical systems will not improve with time.  Sometimes they will devolve into full-fledged crises of one kind or another in which no one wins and options are diminished.

Regimagesardless of where the congregation is, whether a clergy-focused or a clergy-critical system, there are important roles and conversations that the Middle Judicatory can be a part of – both in the short and long term.  Those early conversations on the part of middle judicatories can avoid painful, costly interventions down the road. These conversations and efforts can also aid clergy who may feel the weight of the congregation on their shoulders – before that weight becomes too much to bear alone.

From Holy Cow! Consulting and Crow’s Feet Consulting 

 

A picture of health- Vitality and Somatic Knowing

imagesOne of the points of conversation in the broader faith community is my definition of a vital (what I call “transformational”) congregation.  Most definitions of a vital congregation follow what I would call a conceptual-behavioral approach.  A conceptual-behavioral approach establishes a set of externally developed metrics that focus on customs, beliefs, and values against which the congregation is evaluated.  For example, some groups would define a vital congregation as one which meets in a worshiping space that is free of symbols, holds an evangelical set of beliefs, and values individual
conversion.  The middle judicatory of a mainline denomination may have a very different set of customs, beliefs, and values, usually skewed to benefit the denomination itself.

The weakness of the conceptual-behavioral approach is that it fails to take into account the actual experience of the members in faith communities.  Neither concepts nor behaviors create meaning.  Most of us have been in situations where someone argues for ideas that leave us wondering what they have to do with real life.  In addition, we have participated in ritualized behaviors after which we have felt that we were simply going through motions.    In other words, the conceptual-behavioral approach fails to establish meaning, and faith communities are generators of meaning if they are anything.

The alternative approach that we have taken with organizational intelligence is what folks are now calling somatic-knowing, that is, knowledge that is attained through the experience of the body.  A somatic-knowing approach probes the emotional states that arise from the actual experiences of members.  Specifically, organizational intelligence defines a vital congregation by looking at two dimensions of somatic knowing: satisfaction (the experience of fullness and wholeness) and energy (the experience of excitement and purpose).  Fullness, wholeness, excitement, and purpose generate meaning in a way that custom, beliefs, and values alone cannot.

This definition of vitality solves a problem that denominations and religious systems have struggled with for years, namely, how to reach consensus on the particular customs, beliefs, and values that constitute vitality.  In the conceptual-behavioral approach, any group of thirty different leaders will develop thirty different lists that are then to be applied as external standards to the faith communities under their shepherding.

The fallacy of this approach can be seen in reflecting upon the behavior of a healthy individual.  A healthy individual has many different ways of expressing that health.  He could be a runner, a biker, a swimmer.  She can serve as a doctor, a lawyer, a barista, or a construction worker.  He could have many casual friends, or a few close ones.  She could earn a million dollars a year and give a hundred thousand to charity.  He could live on social security and volunteer in a local food pantry.  Health has so many options.

Similarly, a vital congregation has many different ways of expressing that health.  Some are going to be noisy and boisterous in worship.  Some are going to be quiet and reflective.  Some are going to focus a large percentage of their resources on international mission.  Some are going to excel at equipping individuals to understand their work as vocation.  Some are going to be led by a pastoral team.  Some are going to have a strong, central leader.  Some are going to meet in a warehouse.  Some are going to meet in a school.  Some are going to meet in exquisitely appointed sanctuaries.

Healthy churches have options.  In fact, one of the characteristics of healthy churches is that they capitalize on opportunities in ways that are creative and unique.

Unhealthy churches, like unhealthy individuals have restricted options.  I broke my ankle skydiving, and the injury limited many of my options that required physical activity.  In fact, if you look at persons who have broken their ankles, they all look pretty much the same.  They have a cast on their leg.  They keep their leg elevated.  They use crutches. They don’t move very fast.

The same is true with churches.  While healthy churches look very different from one another, struggling churches look very much the same.  Conflicted.  Settled.  Inwardly focused.  Fixated on scarcity.  Here’s the thing:  if you look at these churches through a customs, beliefs, and values lens, they may be holding up fairly well.  However, if you look at them through the lens of somatic knowing – fullness, wholeness, excitement, and purpose – their corporate lives are starved for meaning.

Do I worry that congregations with high levels of somatic knowing – fullness, wholeness, excitement, and purpose – have simply abandoned all interest in customs, beliefs, and values?  Not really.  That’s like asking if I worry that a healthy person might not be eating right, exercising, or getting enough sleep.  Vital congregations, like vital individuals, tend to be paying attention to the habits of mind and behavior that contributed to their health in the first place.

Russ Crabtree
Founder of Holy Cow! Consulting

Making the Fit Right -Pastoral Coaching

We often receive calls from Regional Associations who are looking for ways to have comprehensive pastoral coaching programs.  The Effective Coaching Handbook, developed by the Executive Coaching Forum (http://www.executivecoachingforum.com/), begins with this observation:

Executive Coaching has become commonplace in leadership development in the U.S. and internationally. It is seen as a viable lever in developing high potentials, retaining top talent, readying executives for more demanding roles, and building a leadership pipeline. Organizations that use coaching report that they’ll likely increase its use in the coming years.”

For us the question is where does Organizational Intelligence (OI)* fit into pastoral coaching?  One of the critical issues for effective coaching identified by the Handbook is how to address the organizational context -citing that “[a]lthough the primary work is between executive and coach, coaching is always an organizational intervention and, as such, should be conducted within the context of the organization’s goals and objectives.”

In order to effectively coach pastors in their work, we have to be able to identify the organizational context.  And that is the work of OI.

What are some ways that OI might can significantly enhance pastoral coaching?

First, OI helps address issues of fit.  Poor organizational performance may have more to do with a lack of fit between the gifts and motivations of the pastor to the church than with the abilities or work ethic of the pastor.  In some cases, coaching may help a person move on to a better fit.  In other cases, a thoughtful shift in the pastor’s responsibilities can improve satisfaction on both sides.

Second, OI provides clarity about the organizational starting point.  Armed with this knowledge, coaching can work with the pastor to develop steps that are measured, realistic, and “incarnational”, that is, beginning where people are.

Third, OI discloses deep seated cultural values that are unlikely to change quickly.  This enables the coach to focus on approaches that are consonant with the culture in the short term.  Where long term cultural changes are envisioned, coaching can work to develop an intentional change management strategy that will minimize the risk of catastrophic conflict.

Fourth, OI identifies sources of energy within the congregation. Those sources of energy can be used by the coach to align the development of the pastor’s goals to those of the churchil_570xN.724209728_hu97.jpg

Finally, OI helps differentiate issues within a particular church culture from those of the pastor.  This provides the empirical data that can support coaching efforts to encourage the professional development of the pastor that would otherwise be hard to pinpoint if it is not clear where the congregational culture ends and the growth edges needed from the pastor begins.

With these insights from OI, pastoral coaching has a clear way to begin the work of helping the pastor as they take their next steps in leadership.

*If you have any questions on how to use the Congregation Assessment Tool™ (CAT), the Pulse™, or Focal Points™ in pastoral coaching, we would be happy to help.

Holy Cow! Consulting, office@holycowconsulting.com 

Organizational Intelligence you can use. 

 

inSight©: Helping Regional Associations Help

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In our work with Regional Associations and congregations, we have found the following things to be true:

  1. A transformational Regional Association is one that has focused on creating vital, growing congregations and is discovering effective ways of achieving that vision.
  2. Using Organization Intelligence (OI) is an important step towards determining an organization’s health and next steps needed. But OI is also only as good as its application.  Without applying OI systematically to move congregations towards becoming vital reflections of our good works in Christ, OI just becomes data.

As we head into Autumn, Holy Cow! Consulting will begin rolling out some new ways to help Regional Associations help congregations.  For the systemic application of OI, by the end of September we will finish completely rolling out our inSight webpages.  inSight is a system of information that empowers Regional Associations to serve a transformational role in their congregations.  It is designed especially for those Regional Associations whose primary goal is to develop healthy, vital congregations.

use this one.pngFor each Regional Association, with five or more congregations that have taken the Congregation Assessment Tool (CAT), we will create a private webpage.  On that page, the leadership of the Regional Association will find dashboards of all of their congregations.  These dashboards will show the energy-satisfaction levels of the congregations, the education and motivation, conflict management and levels of trust in leadership, the cultures of the congregations, spiritual vitality, hospitality and worship scores combined with the level of involvement that is meaningful to congregations. The webpage will also include all of Vital Signs (CAT results) for each congregation so everything is in one place and easily accessible.

How Does this Help? 

Regional Associations have a lot of different tasks and roles to fill as they serve their congregations.  Our goal with inSight is to help get that job done in less time with more confidence.

inSight tells a story beyond each individual congregation.  inSight helps Regional Association leaders begin to see what support congregations might need overall.  From tconflct-for-bloghe chart on the right, you can see that this Regional Association has several congregations that could use some help with becoming more flexible. Because we know that organizational flexibility is vital, this Regional Association might want to look at creating some resources that help their congregations become and remain nimble – open to change so they can meet the needs of who they want to reach in the community and in their membership.

inSight helps Regional Leadership know what each congregation is focused on. Walking into a congregation, a Regional Association leader can have that particular congregation’s data in hand. This means they can immediately know what folks in the congregation are focused on for energy and satisfaction.  For example, you would work with a clergy-focused congregation a bit differently than a ministry-focused congregation.  The Leader will also know what the priorities are for that congregation and their theological diversity.  So as they preach, teach, or meet with folks they can keep all of that in mind to ensure what they are saying resonates with the congregation.

inSight helps Regional Leadership make decisions.  One of the hardest things the Regional Association is tasked with is triage.  Answering the questions of what needs immediate attention, what can be dealt with later and what cannot be fixed for now is a tough job.  inSight helps Regional Association have a clear way to measure what is happening in a congregation without solely relying on fiscal reports, attendance trends, and anecdotes.  With an accurate and holistic way to measure the health of a congregation, the Regional Association can begin answering those tough questions of where attention needs to be paid and what the potential of success will be.  

In October, once inSight is in place, we will begin offering Pastor Start-up packages which will help the Pastor in their work as they embark on a journey with a new congregation.  This will complete our three phase transition process, which also includes a Transition Plan and Vital Leader Profile.

We look forward to continuing on this path together.  If there are other ways we can help please let us know.

Emily Swanson
President of Holy Cow! Consulting
emily@holycowconsulting.com

 

 

 

Now Available: State of the Evangelical Church in America

image001The State of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

An Organizational Intelligence Perspective

J. Russell Crabtree

$12.95 US  ·  Paperback

ISBN 9780997768701

6 x 9 x 0.4  ·  100 pages, MAGI Press

PURCHASE HERE

 

 

 

In his new book, The State of the ELCA, J. Russell Crabtree examines the perspectives, experiences, and aspirations of a large cross section of members in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In his reflection on the responses of nearly 60,000 members to a variety of questions, he addresses a number of topics including:

• How does the experience of Lutherans compare with other mainline denominations?

• Which groups feel most positive and which groups feel less positive about their experience in the Lutheran church?

• What are some of the factors that make the difference between Lutheran churches that are experiencing vitality and those that are struggling?

• How are Lutherans experiencing life in their congregations over their lifecycle ranging from the teenage years through child bearing, child rearing, empty nest, and retirement?

• As they think about the future, what are the aspirations of Lutherans for their churches and how do these vary from Boomlets up through Boomers and the GI Generation?

• What are the motivating factors for giving among Lutherans and how do these differ from one congregation to another?

Get ready for a few surprises as you read the answers to these questions, but also discover Lutheran perspectives on Scripture, spiritual practices, pastoral transitions, and Synods.

The State of the ELCA ends on a positive note by summarizing interviews with the pastors of four transformational Lutheran churches, one large, one small, one more conservative, and one more progressive.

 …a must-read for congregational leaders, synod staffs, and synod councils.

Bishop Wayne N. Miller

 

10429477_1539479202980070_182352615483068509_nAs a former pastor, Russ Crabtree served in small, midsize, and large churches in New York and Ohio. In that role, he was active in his regional association and worked in the areas of strategic planning, energy conservation, human sexuality, church consultation, presbytery staffing, and administrative oversight. He has served as a consultant to every level of the church in areas such as succession planning, strategic planning, and organizational assessment. He has developed congregational and regional association assessment tools and has maintained a substantial database on church characteristics and congregations of all sizes and contexts.

 

Publication Date:  August 2016

Author Events Coordinator:  Shawn Kelly, shawnkelly.rn@gmail.com, 614.216.5537

Bulk Orders:  russ@crowsfeetconsulting.com, 614.208.4090