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Holy Conversations: Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice for Congregations Paperback – November 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-1566992862 ISBN-10: 1566992869 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; First Edition edition (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566992869
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566992862
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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. (Hal Chorpenning, Senior Minister, Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC, Fort Collins, CO)

This is the kind of book for which I have been waiting 25 years: 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, general presbyter, The Presbytery of San Francisco)

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 has the potential to lead to lasting change. Rather than a one-size-fits-all planning program, you will find an approach that honors the rich and unique dynamics of your congregation. Gil and Alice write with deep wisdom about real life in real 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. (Joanne Thomson, Associate Conference Minister, Wisconsin Conference, United Church of Christ)

About the Author

Gil Rendle is a senior consultant with the Alban Institute. A United Methodist clergyperson with 15 years of parish experience, he has extensive experience as a congregational and judicatory consultant, focusing on organizational development and systems theory. His other Alban publications include Leading Change in the Congregation (1998), Behavioral Covenants in Congregations (1999), The Multigenerational Congregation (2002), and the video resource Living into the New World (2001).

Alice Mann is a senior consultant with the Alban Institute. An Episcopal priest who has served six congregations, she is a nationally recognized consultant-trainer who has focused on growth strategies, leadership skills, strategic planning, spirituality, and congregational development. Her other Alban publications include The In-Between Church (1998), Can Our Church Live? (1999), Raising the Roof (2002), and the video resource What Size Should We Be? (2001).

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Simply love this book.
karen quanstrom
This book is a wonderful resource and encouragement for any churches looking to plan, especially those who want to plan with God.
K. Kleiman
This is a great resource and guide for congregations going through the planning process.
C. McConnell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. McConnell on November 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a great resource and guide for congregations going through the planning process. As a lay member helping our Pastor, it helped me frame questions, lead discussions and develop a spirtual based planning process for our church.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Kleiman on January 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a wonderful resource and encouragement for any churches looking to plan, especially those who want to plan with God. It asks those fundamental questions that we do not seem to remember to ask ourselves: who are we? who are we called to serve? It has more practical resources than you could or should ever use and the authors tell you that - not every exercise will be right for your church. Still, it is nice to have options and it is nice to have a book that actually talks about discernment instead of trying to co-opt the business model for churches.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Jarred Hammet Jr. on January 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
The book helps a congregation look forward and look backwards. As one looks forward, one has to decide which of the three types of planning described are needed. It also looks backwards to ask what type of things (positive or negative)stamped their imprint on a congregation's DNA.

One of the resources in the back describes why many mainline churches resist talking about numerical growth or being part of small groups.

The book contends that asking three questions (honestly asking them and asking others to help answer them) can be transforming for a congregation.
Who are we? Why are we here? Who is my neighbor?

The authors suggest that scriptural stories can be claimed to describe a particular church's situation. This story claimed can be liberating and transformative.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark Kelley on February 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you ever wondered how to do church planning in a spiritual manner, I have a book for you.

Holy Conversations: Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice by Gil Rendle and Alice Mann doesn't try to separate business approaches and spiritual discernment: it finds a unique way to combine them.

The main plea of the book is for church leaders to create on-going spiritual conversations about what is important to them, and what future they believe God is calling their church to. Many styles of spiritual discernment are explained: Ignatian, Methodist, African and Quaker.

But the book also covers what (besides number of bodies) makes different sized churches different from each other. It offers two creative ways to explore a church's history. Rendle and Mann talk about what really happens when a pastor asks a congregation to complete survey. Twenty-three appendices cover everything from "Types of Planning" to "A Short Guide to Lectio Divina."

This would be a wonderful book if you just wanted to explore deepening the Christian spirituality of groups. It would be a fine book if you just wanted to follow a sound strategic planning process. And it is gold for those who seek a spiritually grounded planning process.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James J. Kane VINE VOICE on February 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
The strength of this book is in this statement on page 13 of the introduction, "we want to talk about the opportunity of planning as discernment."

A fresh approach away from the mere goal setting and problem solving mode of planning, this book offers congregational planning as an on-going dialogue between leaders and with God.

Filled very helpful ideas and guidelines, this book provides a wonderfully new approach to congregational development that treats a congregation as unique expression of God's kingdom.
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