Six Sessions of the Workshop

The six sessions of the workshop are:

 1. Creating Healthy Congregations

System thinking is a view about the world.  It is a picture of the reality in which we live.  System thinking affirms that everything that exists is in a mutual relationship with every other reality.  To help you understand the congregation as a system (whole), the ideas of system thinking are presenting in this part of the workshop.

 2. Healthy Congregations Respond to Anxiety and Change

Everyone becomes anxious.  It’s part of being human.  We bring anxiety to all our relationships.  Emotional systems are anxious systems.  Sometimes anxiety motivates us to change.  Sometimes it does just the opposite.  It can paralyze or choke us.  Here are a number of concepts you will need to know about anxiety and its effects on community life.

3. Leadership in Healthy Congregations

Leaders contribute to the health of a congregation.  They are health-promoters.  The true mark of a leader is spreading health throughout the community.  The presence of mature, self-aware, and faith ful leaders means health is possible in the community.

4. Relationships in Healthy Congregations

Forgiving, truth telling, connecting, and mastering the difficult task of “helping others” all contribute to congregational health.  In healthy congregations, care is freely given as a response of gratitude for the care God first gave us.  But care is neither “mindless” nor “boundaryless,” it helps those served to become healthier, wiser, freer, and more autonomous.

5. Healthy Congregations Develop Generous People

Stewardship is a way of life.  It is a framework for living.  Everyone is a steward.  Stewardship includes one’s responsibility for every aspect of individual and community life.  It is managing every gift one has to offer.  Individual gifts are resources for the well-being of all.  The Scriptures characterize human nature as communal and inter-dependent.  We are created to share our gifts, resources, and selves with each other.

6.  The Spiritual Care of Healthy Congregations

Healthy congregations are holy places with holy people.  Healthy congregations are gatherings of special people with a unique vocation. Holiness is expressed in hospitality.  Hospitality is a form of spiritual care.  Showing hospitality is welcoming others, letting them be guests, offering them space, and providing them with services.  We love because, as St. John reminds us, “God first loved us.”