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.       


Following—Backwards and in Heels  
Kerra Becker English explores what it means to follow God’s lead from a human perspective through the lens of ballroom dancing. Using personal dance floor blunders, she shares her spiritual insights about what it means to be connected, trusting, balanced, patient, compassionate, and joyful in dancing when the ultimate lead is guiding your steps.

Spiritual Travels with Bruce Epperly  
The Congregational Resource Guide’sMartin Davis sits down with Bruce Epperly to discuss his time as chaplain, professor, pastor, and author. Epperly invites us to travel with him from the Salinas Valley of his youth through the highways and byways that have shaped his distinctive approach to spiritual practice. 

To Pew, or Not to Pew, That Is the Question  
In this article, Donna Schaper weighs the pros and cons (but mostly pros) of removing the pews from our sacred spaces in order to bring in chairs to make them more flexible for other uses, and therefore, serve more people from the community.

Training Wheels  
In this article, Kathy Smith describes how emergent communities are examples of an “unbridled” church. Emergent communities prioritize the fundamental nature of relationships as their theological and practical identity and must learn to question the assumptions and expectations of what it means to be church 


The Leading Edge    
Alban Institute president James P. Wind compares our congregations to the progression of “eusocial” behavior.

Tim Shapiro, president of the Indianapolis Center for Congregations asks, “What are congregations for?” 

Unconventional Wisdom 
Alban Institute senior consultant Dan Hotchkiss asks, “Why do people give to congregations?”

Ask Alban 
Alban Institute senior consultant Susan Nienaber introduces a new word into our vocabulary: “Neophobia.” Is your congregation guilty of this?


From the Editor

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