Building powerful congregations

Community Organising, The Centre for Theology & Community l and tagged , l

photo(10)After a successful pilot last year, CTC and Citizens UK have partnered to launch a second cohort of the Congregational Development Programme. The year-long process supports churches and leaders seeking to act in public life through broad-based Community Organising. Selina Stone explains what the programme is all about and what the leaders can expect…

Relational power is the foundation of broad-based community organising. Relationships are developed between individuals through one-to-one conversations and also between institutions through joint action for justice. However, in order for these connections to be truly powerful, individuals and institutions must be continually developed. The Congregational Development Programme has been created to help churches to renew the inner life of their congregations through community organising practices, so increasing their capacity to act in public life.

Six churches took part in the pilot and this year we have ten churches from a range of traditions taking part in this action learning community. Church leaders have committed to doing three one-to-ones each week with members of their congregation and community. One-to-ones are the core basis of the process, through which common interests are recognised, leaders are identified and actions are devised. The leaders also have the support of a community organiser to assist in developing their congregation, training their leaders and action planning.Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 13.12.28CongDev The learning aspect involves a member of the clergy and a lay person committing to attend seven core workshops. In these sessions, the leaders are taught the foundational principles and practices of community organising and consider how to use them to improve their congregation’s life and witness. The ‘Seven hallmarks of an organised church’ form the content of the self-assessment tool which each church will use at the beginning, middle and end of the process to assess growth in seven key areas. They are:

Integration of theology, spirituality and action

Relational culture

Constant reorganisation to renew a focus on people

Development of leaders through public action at a sustainable pace

Sharing power and responsibility

Instinctive readiness to work with those beyond the church walls

The telling and embodiment of the Christian story.

After a thorough evaluation of the pilot by the participants as well as facilitators, we are looking forward to an even better process in this second year. The programme has proven to address significant needs in the ministry of the leaders and churches involved in community organising. We are excited to see the results this year will bring!

If you have any questions about the Congregational Development Programme, please contact Selina Stone at

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