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613 results for Practices
For The CRG Created For The CRG
The Special Meaning of the Word “Practice”

Congregational life includes beliefs. Some congregations ask folks to believe certain things in order to be members. Your congregation may welcome questions about certain beliefs. Your congregation may host learning experiences that help you go deeper into theology. Yes, congregational life includes beliefs.

Congregations often invite us to deeper thinking, not just about beliefs but about life. The congregation in which I grew up had an open forum Sunday School class. This class helped people talk about so many important things in life: parenting, politics, marriage, vocation, education, health, medical ethics, science and much more.

Congregational life evokes emotions

If you are active in your congregation, you are going to feel joy. You are going to feel sadness. You may find yourself angry. Or you may be in worship overwhelmed with a feeling of gratefulness.

Many vibrant congregations pay attention to behavior. Not just good behavior at a team or committee meeting, but also the practices of prayer or generosity. Congregations can (and should) be a place which teaches us how to act on our faith commitments.

Practice

There is a framework that takes into account beliefs, thinking about life, emotions and behavior. This framework is called practice. A practice is an expansive, almost universal action with a long history that includes standards of excellence and is commonly followed in community.

Washing one’s hands isn’t a practice. It is almost universal, but it just isn’t expansive enough. It is an activity, not a practice. Love is universal. But I’d argue it is more of an emotion than a practice. Hospitality is a practice. Generosity is a practice. Decision-making is a practice.

What makes a practice a religious practice?

It is the degree to which one brings to bear one’s religious understandings to shape the practice.

Two people who have much to offer regarding the framework of practice are Dorothy Bass and Craig Dykstra. As we moved into a new century, they really helped those of us who care about congregations recover a sense of Christian practice.

If you are interested in learning more about how your congregation can benefit from this framework of practice, explore the resources listed below. Remember, one of the best things about a practice framework is the integration of beliefs about God, thinking about life, emotions and behavior. It is all there. It is more than a belief or a feeling. It is more than a thought or a behavior. It might just be a way of life.

Growing in the Life of Faith

Practicing Our Faith

Living into Community

Practicing Witness

Imagining the Kingdom

For The CRG Created For The CRG
The Practical Implementation of Appreciative Inquiry

In recent years, many congregations have asked about the use of Appreciative Inquiry (AI).

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry is the process of identifying, considering and leveraging strengths. It is inclusive, engaging the entire congregation, in asking important questions such as, “what gives life to our congregation when it functions at its best?”

Implementing AI

Many pastors and congregational leaders have asked us about the practical implementation of this process. How is it used, where do you start and what is my role?

Here are some important things to consider:

The Center for Congregations, through the CRG, recommends many resources on Appreciative Inquiry and positive change to help you get started. As always, we stand ready to answer your questions.

web resource
Spirituality and Practice
This web resource, Spirituality and Practice, was created to celebrate and support the axis of all world religions and spiritual paths - the intersection of spirituality and practice.
organization organization
The Transforming Center
This organization offers retreats for Christian leaders focused on spiritual formation themes and practices, spiritual disciplines, and nurturing one's inner self. The program includes nine retreats over a two year period.
book book
The Way of Discernment, Participant's Guide (Companions in Christ)
This study guide engages small groups in a 10-week consideration of discernment, helping congregational groups determine where the spirit of Christ might lead them.
book book
Slow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice, Loving Mercy and Walking Humbly in the World
This resource outlines five practices for fruitful service based on the author's justice work experience as an advocate for education in Haiti.
book book
Living into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us
This book examines the four practices that shape community experience, and details situations where such practices can become unhealthy for a congregation.
web resource
Journal of Missional Practice
This web resource offers a collection of articles that explore a featured missional topic or theme from six perspectives (Practices, Culture, Place, Theology, Review and Story) and includes contributors from a vast network of veteran practitioners, teachers, researchers, and innovators with experienced missiologists who provide a seasoned perspective on the evolving missional landscape.
organization organization Updated
Institute for Jewish Spirituality
This organization provides practice-based learning cohorts, retreats, and leadership training for Jewish leaders and lay leaders.
book book
You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit
This resource invites readers to align their faith and beliefs with their behaviors.
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