Congregational Health and Problem-Solving
Congregations can be places of vision, risk taking, encouragement and nurture. When they are, the mission of the church is advanced, members thrive, and communities benefit. Churches can also be places of intense disagreement and even conflict, leaving a trail of broken relationships that can take years to heal.
Our goal is to help congregations become more knowledgeable about managing change, handling problem-solving, and working with differences…all in order to allow congregations to capitalize on the natural creative energy generated by change and diversity of perspective, and to keep healthy differences from deteriorating into destructive conflict.
Our consultation is grounded in broad experience working with a variety of denominations and churches in Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas—urban and rural, large and small, healthy congregations as well as those in acute crisis.
In 1999, KIPCOR gathered an interdenominational group of clergy and laypersons dedicated to offering churches better tools for managing change, difference and disagreement through information, consultation, training and intervention.
That first gathering included consultation and training by Speed Leas of The Alban Institute, and represented a variety of religious traditions including the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Friends Evangelical Church – Mid America, Mennonite Brethren, Mennonite Church USA, Southern Baptist, United Church of Christ and United Methodist. Since then, this ongoing conversation has expanded to include representatives from Presbyterian and Episcopalian traditions.
Discernment & Visioning
Effective discernment and visioning processes are vital to the vibrant life of any congregation. Through the use of structured dialogue processes, we help congregations discern and answer those questions most significant in shaping their future. Using appreciative inquiry models, we focus on what is working in a congregation and also identify those unique historical strengths which can help build a hopeful future.
Some congregations are declining while others are expanding so quickly that their organizational structure and staffing are not keeping up with the growth. KIPCOR can offer organizational consultation that will benefit both in responding to changing realities.
Many congregational differences and disagreements are rooted in something that is out of alignment or no longer functional within the organizational structure. Conducting an in-depth analysis of a congregation’s governance structures and its culture can bring helpful insight to the causes of tensions that keep resurfacing.
Problem-Solving and Intervention
Some congregations find themselves stalled in indecision or embroiled in disagreements. We are available to work with you to design a process that will help people listen and understand one another and identify steps to move forward to aid the healing process, build trust and recover the church’s sense of mission.
Training & Education
We offer congregations – lay leadership, members, pastors – and denominational leaders an array of educational opportunities to increase their capacity for change management and transformation of difference and disagreement into spiritual and community renewal. You can come to Kaufman House for regularly-scheduled courses, or we can come to you with specially-designed workshops – for example, congregational visioning or clergy retreats – tailored to meet your specific needs.