Category Archives: Congregational Development Archive

Church Hospitality and Growth

What is hospitality? It is the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers. Or, it is the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way. It is the church’s inherent function as the church to be an organization of hospitality. William Temple said, “The Church is the only organization that exists for the sake of people who are not its members.” This is precisely why the church ought to act out of a mindset of hospitality.

Statistics

  • Most visitors have decided if they will return to a church before the service begins. You have 6 minutes to make a positive first impression.
  • People who stay in a church after six months know 7 or more people; those who leave know less than 3.
  • The longer a person is a member of a church, the LESS likely it is that someone will call if they stop attending.

We are the Church:

  • We are not in the membership business. We are in the discipleship business.
  • Hospitality precedes growth
  • It is a matter of Character

Four Areas of Hospitality:

  • Facility
    • Is it Clean?
    • Is it accessible?
    • Is it well marked?
    • Is it meant to be used?
    • Is it welcoming?
  • People
    • Are they polite?
    • Are they knowledgeable?
    • Are they ready to serve?
    • Are they inviting?
    • Are they willing to accommodate strangers?
    • Will they take the initiative?
  • Activities
    • Are they welcoming?
    • Are they accessible?
    • Are they appropriate?
    • Do they meet the needs of visitors?
  • Communication
    • Is it clear?
    • Is the language appropriate?
    • Is it controlled?
    • Is it accessible?
    • Do you expect visitors?

“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2

Preparing for Change in Your Congregation

Preparing for Change in Your Congregation

“Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.”
~Walt Disney

Rev. Cheol Soon Park, the Moderator of the 134th General Assembly said, “Change is not an option anymore, it is an imperative…It is time to change our understanding of church, ministry and worship service.”  Rev. Park challenged everyone in the Presbyterian Church in Canada to try one new thing this year…one thing that is necessary, yet has never been tried for various reasons.

Why Do We Not Want Change?

  • We don’t want to fail
  • We don’t want to lose something
  • We don’t want to change our identity
  • We fear change itself
  • Change might bring conflict

Why Should We Change?

  • Change is inevitable
  • Change is no longer optional
  • Change is necessary for renewal and revitalization

Steps for Healthy Change:

  • Have a vision
  • Define your changes
  • Plant your vision with key leadership
  • Share your vision with the whole church
  • Implement your changes
  • Deal with the opposition
  • Make adjustments
  • Evaluate and celebrate the results!

Conflict Resolution Styles

Conflict is not a distant stranger to churches! But knowing and understanding your own conflict resolution style and honing in on appropriate strategies, can take your church to the next level. Check out this handy chart! You ultimately want to go beyond compromise to collaboration to reach your maximum potential as an individual and as a church.

conflict resolution style

Session and Board of Managers Roles

Ever wonder the difference between a church session and the board of managers? Or why there is so much conflict between the two at many churches? Check out this quick guide to the specific roles of each and how to clear up communication between your session and board!

Session (Citations are from the Book of Forms)

  • 109 It is the duty of those who are called to the eldership to meet regularly with the minister for the purpose of establishing good order and providing for the pastoral care of the congregation. All who are members are subject to the authority and discipline of the session.
  • 2 The session is responsible for all policy and procedures with respect to the use of the church buildings and property subject to the provisions in sections 114.6 and 163.
  • 113 The session is responsible for all aspects of stewardship and mission, both spiritual and material, within the congregation.
  • 6 The session is responsible for all decisions relating to stewardship, including how and when the financial needs of the church at all levels are to be presented to the congregation so that the programs of life and mission may be supported adequately.

What does this mean for the Session?

  • Leadership
    • The Session oversees the Church
    • Doing the right things
    • Future oriented
    • Ministry oriented
    • Supporting the ministry of the church
    • Setting the example
  • What are the policies and procedures with respect to the use of the church building and property?
    • Is it welcoming?
    • Does it become the church?
    • Does it match our values?
    • Communicate these with the Board of Managers.
    • Remember you are on the same team as the Board of Managers – you build up or break down the church together.
    • Money isn’t everything!

 

 

Board of Managers (Citations are from the Book of Forms)

  • 162 The duties of the board of managers have special regard to the temporal and financial affairs of the congregation. It is their duty to co-operate closely with the session, which is responsible for all aspects of stewardship, in encouraging the liberality of the people in support of the congregation’s total ministry, and to disburse all moneys received for this purpose, subject to the approval of the congregation; to provide for the payment of the minister’s stipend and other salaries; and generally to administer all matters committed to their charge as the congregation may from time to time direct.
  • 163 It is the duty of the board of managers to care for the place of worship and other ecclesiastical buildings, and to see that they are kept in good condition and repair.

What does this mean for the Board of Managers?

  • Management
    • Doing things right
    • Doing things transparently
    • Doing things effectively
    • Doing things efficiently
  • How does the Board of Managers care for the financial affairs of the congregation?
    • Care is foremost!
    • Forefront of ministry of hospitality!
    • Is it appropriate?
    • Is it done right?
    • Money isn’t everything!
    • Support the decisions made by session!
    • Communicate with session!
    • Remember you are on the same team as session– you build up or break down the church together.

 

 

Church Best Practices

Here are a few best practices that suit one specific diocese of the Anglican Church. For further information, William Easum’s The Church Growth Handbook, also provides a number of helpful indicators for healthy and viable ministry. A congregation is healthy when:

  • Income
    • Over 70% income comes from freewill offering
    • More than 50% of congregational income should come from more than 1/3 of identifiable givers
  • Expenses
    • 10% of expenses go to program costs
  • Personnel
    • 1 pastoral/program person (as opposed to administrative or maintenance) per 100 Sunday attendees
    • 100-200 Sunday attendees = full-time secretary
    • Between 150 and 180 Sunday attendees, the congregation adds another pastoral staff person in order for it to continue to grow
    • 300-400 Sunday attendees will require a full-time director of music
    • More than 500 Sunday attendees will require adding a business administrator
  • Property
    • Up to 80% of usable worship space is used on Sunday
  • Choir Size
    • There is 1 choir member for every 10 people in the pews
  • Stewardship
    • Freewill offering represents 2% of total household income
    • The amount that goes to Presbyterians Sharing is equal to 5% of freewill offering
    • 40% of the congregation participates in the Pre-Authorized Giving program

Church Behavioral Covenant Example 2

Behavioral Covenant Example 2

Preamble:

We recognize that we are a diverse group of believers holding differing viewpoints. We are, however, united in our belief that God wants us to love God, one another, and ourselves:

To that end, we hereby covenant both individually and as a Sunday School Teachers, Youth Group Leaders, Elders, Christian Education Committee members to embrace the following peacemaking behaviours both in our church life and in our everyday life: .

WE WILL:

  • Make positive statements and say what we want to do
  • Be focused towards our goals
  • Recognize that all voices are equal, because god is personal but never private
  • Keep our communications and interactions sacred, and as a body, keep Christ as the center
  • Listen to what Jesus is telling us to do
  • Not accept intimidation as a behavior in any form
  • Exercise patience, gracefully
  • Express impatience and agree to stay together in community for the good of the body of Christ
  • Be open to suggestion from all people
  • Encourage open, honest, graceful, and face-to-face discussion, where all ideas are valued and respected
  • Encourage aIl voices, particularly the quiet among the body
  • Provide a safe, non-judgmental and sacred space
  • Embrace and appreciate silence
  • Forgive and be forgiven
  • Recognize the humanity and error in all of us
  • Lead by example.

COVENANT:

We hereby covenant to follow these behaviors and hold each other accountable for them.

As members of the Christian community at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Brampton we, being sinners and falling short, agree, with the help of God, to relate to each other through Christ, and thus hold ourselves and each other to:

  1. Listen to each other. “Let everyone be quick to hear and slow to speak …” James 1:19. Dietrich Bonhoeffer has stated: “The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists of listening to them.” Life Together p. 97
  2. Respect the privacy of those who confide. “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” Proverbs 11:13
  3. Challenge each other with the truth. Be willing to confront when it is important.

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16

  1. Deal with people directly; don’t complain to others. “If one of my followers sins against you, go and point out what was wrong. But do it in private, just between the two of you.” Matthew 18:15. If someone complains to you about another member, help that person follow this principle.
  2. Strengthen each other. “[Speak] only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) Likewise, the test of true fellowship is to “make the individual free, strong and mature,” not “weak and dependent.” Bonhoeffer, p.88
  3. Be gentle with one another. “My friends, you are spiritual. So if someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don’t be tempted yourself.” Galatians: 6:1
  4. Do not speak ill of others in the fellowship. “Do not grumble about each other or you will be judged, and the judge is right outside the door.” James 5:9
  5. Do not judge each other. “Some of you accuse others of doing wrong. But there is no excuse for what you do. When you judge others, you condemn yourselves, because you are guilty of doing the very same things.” Romans 2:1
  6. Pray for one another. James 5:16
  7. Confess one’s wrongs to another. James 5:9
  8. Forgive one another. “Give and it will be given to you.” Luke 6:38
  9. Freely participate in the body of Christ according to our gifts and talents. “Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8

 

 

Church Behavioral Covenant Example

Church Behavioral Covenant Example

PREAMBLE:

We recognize that we are a diverse group of believers holding differing viewpoints. We are, however, united in our belief that God wants us to love God, one another, and ourselves: To that end, we hereby covenant both individually and as a Session, Board of Deacons, and Congregation to embrace the following peacemaking behaviors both in our church life and in our everyday life:

WE WILL:

  • Make Positive Statements and Say What We Want to Do
  • Be Focused Towards Our Goals
  • Recognize That All Voices Are Equal, Because God Is Personal but Never Private.
  • Keep Our Communications and Interactions Sacred, and as a Body, Keep Christ as the Center.
  • Listen to What Jesus Is Telling Us to Do.
  • Not Accept Intimidation as a Behavior in Any Form.
  • Exercise Patience, Gracefully Express Impatience and Agree to Stay Together in Community for the Good of the Body of Christ.
  • Be Open to Suggestion from All People.
  • Encourage Open, Honest, Graceful, and Face to Face Discussion, Where All Ideas Are Valued and Respected.
  • Encourage All Voices, Particularly the Quiet among the Body.
  • Provide a Safe, Non-judgmental and Sacred Space
  • Embrace and Appreciate Silence.
  • Forgive and Be Forgiven.
  • Recognize the Humanity and Error in All of Us.
  • Lead by Example.

COVENANT:

We Hereby Covenant to Follow These Behaviors and Hold Each Other Accountable for Them.

[Created on 06/30/2007]

Adult Personal Conflict Style Inventory

Adult Personal Conflict Style Inventory

This survey will calculate your preferred method of dealing with conflict

Please Note: The reflection this inventory can create is more important – and more reliable- than the numbers calculated from your responses to this form. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers, nor have we “standardized” this instrument. Some takers agree with the results; others disagree. Whether you like the results or not, you should rely on them for an accurate picture of yourself only after further self-scrutiny and discussion with others. The inventory is merely a tool to enable these larger tasks.

Instructions: Consider your response in situations where your wishes differ from those of another person. Note that statements A-J deal with your initial response to disagreement; statements K-T deal with your response after the disagreement has gotten stronger. If you find it easier, you may choose one particular conflict setting and use it as background for all the questions.Circle one number on the line below each statement.

When I first discover that differences exist…

A  …I make sure that all views are out in the open and treated with equal consideration, even if there seems to be substantial disagreement.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

B  …I devote more attention to making sure others understand the logic and benefits of my position than I do to pleasing them.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

C  …I make my needs known, but I tone them down a bit and look for solutions somewhere in the middle.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

D  …I pull back from discussion for a time to avoid tension.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

E  …I devote more attention to feelings of others than to my personal goals.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

F  …I make sure my agenda doesn’t get in the way of our relationship.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

G  …I actively explain my ideas and just as actively take steps to understand others.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

H  …I am more concerned with goals I believe to be important than with how others feel about things.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

I  …I decide the differences aren’t worth worrying about.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

J  …I give up some points in exchange for others.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

If differences persist and feelings escalate…

K  …I enter more actively into discussion and hold out for ways to meet the needs of others as well as my own.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

L  …I put forth greater effort to make sure that the truth as I see it is recognized and less on pleasing others.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

M  …I try to be reasonable by not asking for my full preferences, but I make sure I get some of what I want.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

N  …I don’t push for things to be done my way, and I pull back somewhat from the demands of others.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

O  …I set aside my own preferences and become more concerned with keeping the relationship comfortable.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

P  …I interact less with others and look for ways to find a safe distance.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

Q  …I do what needs to be done and hope we can mend feelings later.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

R  …I do what is necessary to smoothe the other’s feelings.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

S  …I pay close attention to the desires of others but remain firm that they need to pay equal attention to my desires.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

T  …I press for moderation and compromise so we can make a decision and move on with things.

Not at all characteristic  1  2  3  4  5  6 Very characteristic

Information on the full version of this survey

The Adult Personal Conflict Style Inventory is an early version of an inventory developed by Ron Kraybill that is available in a low-cost, culturally-sensitive upgrade entitled Style Matters: The Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory. The version on our site was published by Mennonite Conciliation Service in Mediation and Facilitation Training Manual, 4th ed., 2000 (Akron,PA: MCS), p. 64-66. It is here by permission of Mennonite Central Committee and the author and may be used at no charge by individuals and religious congregations. Other uses, including assigning it for use in college or university classes are a violation of copyright and take unfair advantage of the publisher’s willingness to make this early version available at no cost on our website. The full version is a 22 page booklet with modifications that recognize cultural diversity among users, several pages of principles for interpretation, practical support strategies for each style, and discussion questions for group leaders.   It is available for .95-.95 for print copies depending on order size from www.riverhouseepress.com. Rights to reproduce it from a PDF file can be purchased for .95 per copy.

Read user feedback about the full version from trainers.

Get a free trainers’ guide for Style Matters.

Info about an Online Full Version with self-guided tutorial and capacity to email scores.

Please support our agreement with the publisher by practicing fair compensation if you use this for purposes other than individual or congregational use.

Style Inventory Tally Sheet

When you are finished taking the inventory, write the number you circled for each situation beside the corresponding letter on the tally sheet below. Add each of the 10 columns of the tally chart, writing the total of each in the empty box just below the double line.

A __G __ K __S __ B __H __ L __Q __ C __J __ M __T __ D __I __ N __P __ E __F __ O __R __
Calm Storm Calm Storm Calm Storm Calm Storm Calm Storm
Collaborating Forcing Compromising Avoiding Accommodating

Now list your scores and the style names in order from highest score to lowest in both the calm and storm columns below.

Calm
Response when issues/conflicts first arise.
Storm
Response after the issues/conflicts have been unresolved and have grown in intensity.
________ ______________________________ ________ ______________________________
Score Style Score Style
________ ______________________________ ________ ______________________________
________ ______________________________ ________ ______________________________
________ ______________________________ ________ ______________________________
________ ______________________________ ________ ______________________________

 

Interpreting the Scores:

This exercise gives you two sets of scores for each of the five approaches to conflict. Calm scores apply to your response when disagreement first arises. Storm scores apply to your responses if things are not easily resolved and emotions get stronger. The higher your score in a given style, the more likely you are to use this style in responding to conflict. The highest score in each of the columns indicates a “preferred” or primary style. If two or more styles have the same score they are eually “preferred.” The second highest score indicates ones’s “backup” style if the number is relatively close to the highest score. A fairly even score across all of the styles indicates a “flat profile.” Persons with a flat profile tend to be able to choose easily among the various responses to conflict.

Read more about these five Styles of Conflict Management and take this inventory online at:
http://peace.mennolink.org/resources/conflictstyle