Crunch Time in Smaller Congregations

by Alice Mann. Accessed April 14, 2017.

This article is addressed to small congregations whose current situation is not working and intentional decisions about the congregation’s future must be made. Alice Mann, former Alban Institute Senior Consultant and now a part of the Congregational Consulting Group, names and describes six options these smaller congregations can consider. The options are 1) shift from full-time to part-time clergy; 2) merge with other congregation(s); 3) join a multi-congregation cluster; 4) work with your denomination to secure an authorized lay pastor or locally ordained clergy; 5) grow to a size where you can afford full-time clergy; 6) end well. Each choice is explored in a separate 6-8 page article that defines the option, highlights its benefits and addresses its challenges. Mann suggests smaller congregations engage in a “season of study” during which a congregational team explores these and other options for their future. The tone of Mann’s article is hopeful - demonstrating there is a future for smaller congregations whose vision is clouded by their desire to survive.