Alban members receive a subscription to Congregations, our award-winning magazine. Our mission is to provide clergy and lay leaders with practical, research-based information and ideas for effective ministry as they grapple with an ever-changing environment. Congregations is sent quarterly to all members of the Alban Institute. It is the successor to Action Information, published since 1975.

“I cannot recommend this magazine and this institute to you highly enough!” — The Rev. Jan Smith Wood, Dean of Students, Church Divinity School of the Pacific. 




Shepherding SBNR Sheep: How to Create a Church for the Spiritual but Not Religious  
The fastest growing religious group in North America is made up of those who describe themselves as being “spiritual but not religious.” They are resistant to the Christian message and to church. N. Graham Standishexplores how this group is different from the typically “unchurched,” and what we can do to start reaching them.

Forty Years of Sermons
Jean Alexander, a recently retired minister, reflects on what she learned from reading 40 years’ worth of sermons, remembering the things that helped her improve her preaching over time, and what she thinks parishioners are listening for in sermons. 

Spiritual Dissonance: When Conflict between Clergy and Congregation Is about Vocation
Ministry can be a little rough and conflict is inevitable. Diane Strickland discusses the ways in which clergy and congregations can work together to create a common purpose while diminishing the isolation that comes with spiritual dissonance. 

The Beloved Community  
The Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit has led political rallies against hate, organized resources for those needing heat, and brought representatives across Detroit’s religious spectrum to the table to learn from one another. Martin Davis argues that the real work is only starting; turning interfaith dialogue into something of value to the entire community—faithful and otherwise. 



The Leading Edge      
Alban Institute president James P. Wind takes a look inside the seminary.

Tim Shapiro, president of the Indianapolis Center for Congregations, asks, “What creates resiliency?”

Unconventional Wisdom      
Alban Institute senior consultant Dan Hotchkiss wonders what it takes for a committee to be good, or even great.

Ask Alban     
Alban Institute senior consultant Susan Nienaber shares her personal experiences to shed light on the decline among congregations.



From the Editor