Resources for Planning and Visioning within your Congregation:
ONE) Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Research Services
“Research Services provides a wide variety of services including articles and reports, demographics information, statistics, program evaluations and Ten-Year Trends.”
“In an effort to help congregations understand more about the local congregation and its needs, we developed the Church Home Improvement Toolbox: This resource contains a variety of "do-it-yourself" research strategies for positive church improvement. You wouldn't try to build a new home using just an electric drill – why work on congregational improvement without a full toolbox?
1. Ten-Year Trends in Your Congregation: Statistical reports based on annual congregational reports to the Office of the General Assembly in the Session Annual Statistical Report.
2. Demographic Report: Learn about the people who live in the community around your church.
3. Congregational Surveys: Surveys can give your congregation: a picture of "who you are" (including age and marital status of members, average length of church membership, etc.), information about the strengths and priorities of church programs, and tools for strategic planning.
4. Research Strategies for Congregations: A packet of information gathering tools designed to help you learn more about your worshipers and your local community.
5. RCMS data (Religious Congregations & Membership Study): Data on religious congregations and memberships in every county in the United States.”
Cynthia Woolever and Deborah Bruce. A Field Guide to U.S. Congregations: Who’s Going Where and Why. Westminster John Knox Press, 2002.
__________. Beyond the Ordinary: 10 Strengths of U.S. Congregations. Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.
__________. A Field Guide to Presbyterian Congregation: Who’s Going Where and Why. Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 2010.
TWO) Healthy Congregations: Develop. Train. Educate. Consult
“Healthy Congregations is a congregational support network which seeks to help church leaders discover the advantages of congregational vitality through a family systems approach. The organization was founded by Peter Steinke, and now offers comprehensive training and workshops in church vitality.”
Peter Steinke. A Door Set Open: Grounding Change in Mission and Hope. An Alban Institute Publication, 2010.
__________. Congregational Leadership in Anxious times. Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What. An Alban Institute Publication, 2006.
__________. Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach. An Alban Institute Publication, 1996.
THREE) GraceNet: Research, Coaching, Consulting for Vibrant Spiritual Leadership of Christian Congregations.
“GraceNet serves churches. GraceNet provides research, coaching and consulting in effective spiritual leadership of new and revitalizing congregations.”
Martha Grace Reese. Unbinding the Gospel: Real Life Evangelism. Chalice Press, 2008.
__________. Unbinding Your Heart: 40 Days of Prayer and Faith Sharing. Chalice Press, 2008.
__________. Unbinding Your Church: Steps and Sermons. Chalice Press, 2008.
FOUR) Natural Church Development
“Natural Church Development is all about releasing the potential God has already implanted in our lives. Based on research in more than 40,000 churches on six continents, NCD describes universal principles that are applicable regardless of culture or spiritual style.”
Christian Schwartz. Color Your World with Natural Church Development: Experiencing All that God has Designed You To Be.
__________. Natural Church Development: A Guide to Eight Essential Qualities of Healthy Churches.
__________. Implementation Guide to Natural Church Development.
__________. Paradigm Shift in the Church: How Natural Church Development Can Transform Theological Thinking.
Gil Rendle and Alice Mann. Holy Conversations: Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice for Congregations. Alban Institute, 2003.