Ministry Development and Congregational Vitality
The Office of Congregational Vitality provides resources for all congregations in the Diocese of Atlanta to become vibrant and thriving communities of faith. We have trained Consultants to assist with Congregational Assessment, Vital Teams, Vestry Retreats and Trainings, Conflict Resolution and Mediation, Stewardship programs, and Mutual Ministry Reviews.
If you need assistance in exploring any of our resources, contact the Office of Congregational Vitality:
–Canon for Ministry: John Thompson-Quartey, firstname.lastname@example.org
–Missioner for Congregational Vitality: Sally Ulrey, email@example.com
Our tools are designed to fit into a cycle of best practices for Congregational Vitality, from assessment, strategic planning, implementation, and then evaluation. See more here.
The Congregation Assessment Tool (CAT) is a reliable benchmarked instrument designed to provide an in-depth look at the experiences, perceptions and aspirations of a church’s congregation. It is an essential step for any church in leadership transition or undertaking strategic planning. The CAT is administered by Holy Cow! Consultants, an Ohio-based Church Consulting firm which uses Organizational Intelligence (OI) to help Church leaders chart a well-informed future for their congregations. OI offers leaders a comprehensive, three-dimensional view rather than a patchwork of opinions and guesses. More information can be found here and here.
The CAT is a customizable assessment instrument that can help congregational leadership:
— Measure the level of satisfaction and energy in the congregation you lead.
— Identify the critical success factors for improving the organizational climate.
— Pinpoint the strengths of the congregation’s culture.
— Discover where members would like to go in the future.
— Gauge readiness for change.
— Uncover potential resources they may be missing.
— Prepare for a search for a new next pastor or priest.
The Diocese of Atlanta has trained Interpreters for the CAT, and they serve as Consultants to parishes that use the CAT for future planning. The Office of Congregational Vitality requires all congregations that are planning to use the resources of the office to take the CAT as an initial step.
Vital Teams training equips congregations, regardless of size or budget, with highly effective team leadership skills tailored to their specific situation. In partnership with the Episcopal Church Foundation, the Diocese of Atlanta provides training of vestries and their clergy to develop collaborative leadership to carry out the congregation’s purpose and mission.
Training focuses on
1) Clarity of Team’s Purpose
2) Building Strong Relationships
3) Developing Clear Processes
4) Focusing on Results
This tool helps congregations root their mission and purpose in the needs of the surrounding community which that church serves. It is a vital tool in helping churches re-envision their purpose and discern God’s call in changing surroundings, becoming more effective in serving and connecting to their communities.
An interactive, data-grounded, map-based tool for missional analysis and planning, MapDash
— Offers a dashboard loaded with parochial report data and community census data.
— Allows you to explore the area around your congregation through the lenses of population characteristics, community issues, and community resources.
— Reveals the unique lifestyles, habits, and needs of the people in the neighborhoods surrounding your church.
— Offers a way to analyze the vitality and sustainability of a congregation and the missional opportunities in a congregation’s own community.
Depending on your needs, the Office of Congregational Vitality can create community maps, reports, and statistics for your church’s neighborhood and/or pair you with a consultant to walk you through the data for your neighborhood.
The College for Congregational Development (CCD) is an intensive two-year program designed for teams of lay and clergy leaders to develop leadership skills and tools for parish growth and health. Based in the academic disciplines of congregational and organization development, CCD is also rooted in the identity, doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.
CCD is recommended by the Office of Congregational Vitality to help churches become more faithful, effective, and healthy. Parishes going through sudden trauma or crisis are not the best candidates for CCD. The Canon for Ministry or another consultant will assist such congregations through the crisis before they consider CCD.
Parishes considering CCD should contact the Office of Congregational Vitality to confirm they are ready to make the commitment toward vitality through CCD. The Office of Congregational Vitality will work with the parish leadership to identify the best candidates to attend the college which consists of two 7-day intensive sessions over two consecutive summers. Please note, training days are long, and that is why our best practice is for our summer intensives to be residential.
The cost to attend CCD is currently around $950/person for the program, room, and board. Travel costs are extra. Scholarships are available to pay a portion of the tuition for Diocese of Atlanta parishes.
This year, CCD is going virtual in a 2 and a half day (4 hrs/day) workshop-style training. More info here.
ECF provides grants to worshipping communities to fund their work in their own communities, specifically to help issues of poverty, hunger, and oppression. ECF also has programs to create sustainability and long-term congregational vitality through planned giving.
More info here.
The Diocesan Stewardship Commission has a team of consultants who can help create or improve your stewardship program. Feel free to contact one of them.
Tammy Pallot, Commission Chair
Mal Underwood, Commission Chair Emeritus
The Ven. Juan Sandoval
Tammy Pallot, Commission Chair
The Episcopal Network for Stewardship
The Diocese of Atlanta is a member of TENS, an organization committed to inspiring generosity and faithful discipleship. A primary benefit of membership is that all congregations throughout the diocese have access to the Stewardship Narrative Series, a program designed to complement and support an annual giving program. It also is available in Spanish, Chinese and Korean.
To access the material,
Circle of Stewardship
Come and See Membership Growth Preview
PDF | PPTX not available
ECF Planned Giving Presentation
Electronic Giving and Stewardship Resources
PDF | PPTX not available
Major Gifts Presentation for Clergy Training Day
Reasons for Giving
Stewardship During COVID-19
Year Round Stewardship
Circle of Stewardship Training
The Commission on Stewardship conducts training throughout the year.
A Mutual Ministry Review is a facilitated process which enables congregational leadership (Lay and Clergy) to reflect on and strengthen their work of ministry together, in order to promote growth and vitality in their congregation. MMR allows each individual’s unique gifts to be used to spread the Good News of God in the service of the people of God within the worshiping community and beyond.
More info here