Gilbert R. Rendle, Alice Mann
Planning can be challenging in the contemporary congregation, where people share a common faith and values but may have very different preferences and needs. Much of the literature on congregational planning presents it as a technical process: the leader serves as the chief problem solver, and the goal is finding “the solution to the problem.”
Popular Alban consultants and authors Gil Rendle and Alice Mann cast planning as a “holy conversation,” a congregational discernment process about three critical questions:
Rendle and Mann equip congregational leaders with a broad and creative range of ideas, pathways, processes, and tools for planning. By choosing the resources that best suit their needs and context, congregations will shape their own strengthening, transforming, holy conversation. They will find a path that is faithful to their identity and their relationship with God.
For those who have purchased Holy Conversations, click here to download resources.
“A resource for those seeking leadership and planning approaches that are theologically based and congregationally oriented rather than corporate management-based. Pastors, lay leaders, and judicatory staff will find this book helpful in providing leadership for congregational development and redevelopment, mission studies, and congregations in the midst of transition. Newcomers and experienced leaders alike will find useful the authors' distinctions between strategic and other types of planning as well as their presentation of the elements, factors, roles, and processes necessary for developing approaches appropriate to different congregations.” —Virstan B. Y. Choy
“Holy Conversations is not just information; it's wisdom. Alice Mann and Gil Rendle have created a wonderful handbook that should be in every congregation's library. Rather than developing a one-size-fits-all guide, they extend an authentic invitation for congregations to have 'holy conversations'—and they provide the tools to help you. Such conversations provide a pathway toward planning that is attentive to the Spirit and a congregation's unique calling, both internally and in the context of community.” —The Rev. Hal Chorpenning
“You have struck gold! This handbook brings together a wealth of practical tools and resources for every aspect of congregational planning. But even more important, it is a book that will lead you beyond strategic planning to a 'holy conversation' that honors the rich and unique dynamics of your congregation. Gil and Alice write with deep wisdom about real life congregations, and with respect and empathy for their leaders. Today, many congregations are searching for help in understanding how to move into the future. This book will be a trusted resource for that journey.” —Rev. Joanne Thomson
Before joining the staff of the Alban Institute, Gil Rendle served as senior pastor of two urban congregations in Pennsylvania for sixteen years and as a denominational consultant for the United Methodist Church for nine years. Gil has an extensive background in organizational development; group and systems theory; and leadership development. He frequently consults with congregations on planning, staff and leadership development; and issues of change. He is well-known for his work with middle judicatory offices and staff as they wrestle with the issues of both denominational and congregational change. In training workshops and leadership retreats, Gil has led numerous large and small groups in practical learning that directly affects the decisions and behaviors that participants practice in their congregations. He is the author of four books, as well as a contributor to two other books and the author of numerous articles and monographs.
Before joining the staff of the Alban Institute, Alice Mann served for two decades in the dual roles of local pastor and nationally recognized consultant-trainer in the field of parish development, with emphasis on incorporating new members, redeveloping struggling congregations, defining judicatory roles in growth and revitalization, breaking through size plateaus, and deepening parish spirituality. She frequently assists churches with self-assessment, long-range planning, and the development of context-sensitive strategies for growth. In training workshops and planning retreats, Alice engages large and small groups in practical learning and candid conversation about the choices church leaders face today.
Alban No. AL276
paper, 288 pages
($20.00 for members)