“Healthy Congregations”: A resource hub of the Diocese of Toronto

“(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.”

Back to Church Sunday/Season of Invitation

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.

Book studies

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.

Christian Foundations

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.

Diocesan School for Parish Development

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.

Education for Ministry (Canada)

Program that provides theological education by extension for lay people with weekly seminar groups led by a trained mentor.

Forming Mission Shaped Ministries

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.

Fresh Start

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.

Natural Church Development

The objective of Natural Church Development (NCD) is to provide space and reliable statistical data for measuring church health and capacity. The concept is to grow health by focussing on those key elements that are most challenged in a parish. Identify strengths and challenges; draw on strengths to develop weaker elements.

Pilgrim Course

Believing that the Christian faith is primarily about relationship, Pilgrim aims to lay a foundation for a lifetime of learning more about God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ and what it means to be his disciple. Assuming little or no knowledge of the Christian faith, Pilgrim can be used at any point on the journey of discipleship and by every tradition.

Revive

Revive is a discipleship program to help active lay leaders—wardens, property and finance officers, committee chairs, vestry members, church school teachers, youth ministers, pastoral visitors, and liturgical ministers—grow in confidence as spiritual leaders. In just 10 months, this small-group program transforms leaders of practical church ministry into confident spiritual leaders who love God and participate in Christ’s ministry.