How are faith communities to respond amid continued reports of decline within American congregations?

An upcoming series of Alban Institute workshops will encourage individuals within those congregations to engage in conversations that focus on the strengths, gifts, and traditions that exist within those faith communities.

Conversations That Matter will offer three one-day workshops for congregational leaders this fall. The workshops, which will be led by the authors of newly released Alban books, will take place from 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. at Alban’s national headquarters in Herndon, VA.

The series will include:

  • The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church on Friday, September 17. This workshop will explore signs that indicate that mainline Protestant churches are changing, finding a new vitality intentionally grounded in Christian practices, and laying the groundwork for a new type of congregation. It will include exercises to guide congregational leaders on the “pilgrimage of creating church.” Leading the workshop will be Diana Butler Bass, director of the Project on Congregations of Intentional Practice, a Lilly Endowment-funded research project of vital mainline Protestant churches at the Virginia Theological Seminary.
  • The Power of Asset Mapping: How Your Congregation Can Act on Its Gifts on Friday, October 15. This workshop will focus on how congregational leaders can help a group recognize its assets and the abundance of God’s gifts and then act on them in ministry and mission. Participants will gain an understanding of how and why asset mapping works, as well as tips and techniques for using it in their congregations. Luther K. Snow, who has worked with congregations and community and faith-based organizations on asset building for more than 25 years and formerly directed the Congregational Asset Mapping Project for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will lead this workshop.
  • The Hidden Lives of Congregations on Friday, November 19. This workshop will encourage leaders to go below the surface issues that appear in congregational life in order to explore the factors that more deeply impact faith communities. The event will help participants learn to diagnose and understand the factors of congregational lifespan, size, spirituality, and identity in ways that will help a congregation achieve its mission. Leading this workshop will be Israel Galindo, a professor at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, VA, and a faculty member for Leadership in Ministry Workshops.

The registration fee for a single workshop will be $125. Individuals who wish to register for all three workshops may do so at a cost of $300. If three or more people from the same congregation register for a workshop, the fee will be $100 per person. All registration fees include lunch and a copy of the related Alban book.

For more information or to register for the workshops, please call (800) 486- 1318, ext. 247, or e-mail


The Whys and Hows of Money Leadership

If you’ve felt frustrated by attempts to fund ministry, the CRG has something for you! Mark Vincent invites you to examine your own beliefs about money, as well as congregational economics, money and leadership, and money and faith through this seven-session online curriculum. Interactive assessment tools and links to resource providers are included. 


AL251_SMMinistry and Money: A Guide for Clergy and Their Friends by Dan Hotchkiss

Frank, straightforward guidance for clergy seeking to develop a sound theology of money and skills for church administration, Ministry and Money also puts forth a new strategy for self-care and a confident approach to managing both personal and congregational finances. Alban Senior Consultant Dan Hotchkiss wants to help clergy overcome their own anxieties about money matters so they can help others address the personal, social, and congregational aspects of this challenging and often difficult topic.

AL184_SM Plain Talk about Churches and Money by Dean Hoge, Patrick McNamara, and Charles Zech
Why is the church so uneasy with the topic of money? Is there a difference between stewardship and fundraising? How can we motivate giving? Should we invest church funds?