Beyond the Ordinary: Ten Strengths of U.S. Congregations

by Cynthia Woolever, Deborah Bruce. Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.

Based on research from the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, the authors identify ten strengths found in vital congregations, including meaningful worship, welcoming new people, and focusing on the community.


data from the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, insight from a diverse group of congregations across the country

Best For

clergy and lay leaders


purchase as a book

Suggested Uses

  • Evaluate your congregation's strengths by comparing your experiences to the data detailed in the resource.
  • Enhance areas of your congregation by discussing examples in the book with a small group and applying similar steps.

About the Contributor

Tim Shapiro

Tim Shapiro is the Indianapolis Center’s president. He began serving the Center in 2003 after 18 years in pastoral ministry. For 14 years, Tim served Westminster Presbyterian Church in Xenia, Ohio. Prior to his pastorate at Westminster, he was pastor of Bethlehem Presbyterian Church in Logansport, Indiana. He holds degrees from Purdue University and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Tim’s interest in how congregations learn to do new things is represented in his book How Your Congregation LearnsAfter his extensive work on the Center’s Sacred Space initiative, Tim co-authored the book Holy Places: Matching Sacred Space with Mission and MessageHe has also authored several articles, including Applying Positive Deviance and The Congregation of Theological Coherence.

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