Inside the Large Congregation

by Susan Beaumont. Rowman & Littlefield, 2011.
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For 25 years, Susan Beaumont has been consulting. Her practice with the Alban Institute and now Congregational Consulting Group has led to what some might call a specialty: dealing with large congregations. These congregations can be defined as those between 400 and 2,000 in worship attendance. This book has two sections. The first deals with an overview of the dynamics of congregational life and how Beaumont has arrived at her basic thesis: that there are five basic leadership systems at work in large congregations. These need to be kept in alignment for a large congregation to flourish. The second half of the book describes these five in detail. The first is clergy leadership roles and how both clergy and congregation understand and support these roles. The second is the design and function of staff leadership teams within the congregation. Next is governance and board development and function. Fourth is the welcoming of new members and the careful distinction between assimilation and acculturation. Finally, Beaumont describes the importance of forming and executing congregational strategy. The book is careful to note the distinctions in each of these five alignments as they apply to various large church sizes.