“(The Church) is about building communities of hope and compassion through building healthy, sustainable, vibrant parishes. We have identified seven aspects of healthy churches that flow into one another as people enter the traditional model of church. Each aspect is supported by congregational development research and knowledge.”
Resource Category: Congregational Vitality
Alpha is a series of interactive sessions to explore questions with food, a talk and open discussion. Each session looks at a different question and is designed to create conversation. Designed to be offered in any kind of context (coffee shops, churches, homes, bars).
Christian education/faith formation for people curious about about Christianity and also those who are interested in developing their faith.
This initiative is designed to equip and encourage lay people to invite people to church for specific Sunday services each year. The program includes invitation postcards and posters, usually customized by each diocese. Training videos are available on the Season of Invitation website. Can be done in conjunction with the Spirit of Invitation six-week program.
Over a two-year period, a group of six to eight clergy works their way through a series of books on leadership and congregational development. They meet between seven to nine times a year. At each meeting, one person is responsible for an overview of the book and presenting a “critical incident”, in effect a case study that engages some of the insights from the book in question. Group members become a source of support to each other in their ministry as well as developing skills and knowledge in church leadership.
The objective of this initiative is to equip clergy and lay leaders in rural and remote places to help their churches be catalysts for the development of healthy Canadian communities. A resource centre for rural ministry, it includes offering a Doctor of Ministry in Rural Ministry and Community Development by distance with short courses on site. Also offers certificates for lay leaders in faith and rural life and in rural stress intervention. Includes Clinical Pastoral Education in rural settings. Also hosts conferences every two years, with approximately 60 people attending. Includes a focus on reconciliation and friendship building with First Nations.
The Christian Foundations course is an introduction to the good news of the gospel and an overview of the Bible, church history, key Christian beliefs, and core practices of the faith.
Collects detailed and reliable data about the parish, to help with strategic planning, finding a new rector, or stewardship campaigns. Surveys all members over 16 years old who have been active in the last year. Breaks down priorities according to different sub-groups (infrequent attenders, frequent attenders, attends more often than 3 years ago, attends less often than 3 years ago).
This initiative trains parish teams to become congregational developers. The focus is on a variety of models and approaches that help parish leaders work effectively with small groups and the whole parish system.
Program that provides theological education by extension for lay people with weekly seminar groups led by a trained mentor.
This initiative supports experimental activities that explore what it means to participate in God’s mission in the world today. It aims to promote a different way of being church at the individual, congregational and synodical levels, emphasizing reciprocal relationships with neighbours.
Designed for clergy starting in new placements/incumbencies. Clergy meet monthly to discuss transition issues. Builds collegiality while sharpening skills. Content includes congregational development theory, role clarity, parish size model, goal setting strategies, mutual ministry, conflict management, among others.
Helps parish leaders assess their parish using seven marks of healthy congregations. Working with a diocesan facilitator, parish leaders carry out a self-assessment. Following this, parish leaders receive support from a diocesan facilitator in developing plans to become healthier.
Accessible seminary-level training for locally trained priests and deacons. Over a three-year cycle, participants take nine 21-hour courses. Most participants have completed Education for Ministry prior to taking this program, so courses are focussed on practical ministry concerns, assuming that participants already have a grounding in theology and bible. Courses are hosted by parishes around the diocese, which builds community and support for the program. A separate shorter course is offered for licensed lay ministers.
Leadership formation for those looking to connect their Christian faith to bringing about positive change in their organizations and the wider world.