Vital Christian Community

12 Characteristics of Healthy Congregations

Philip Brochard and Alissabeth Newton

Sep/2022, 240 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9781640655201



Active congregations can change the world.

Congregations have been the bedrock of mainline Christian life and practice for centuries but in recent years many have dwindled in energy and impact. Leaders conclude that change is needed, that they can’t keep applying the same models and practices that have served in the past but no longer seem to work.

At a time when all kinds of institutions are being buffeted by swift and strong cultural forces, Brochard and Newton believe the congregation to be a primary site for the transformation of individuals, communities, and the world and that the measures for congregational vitality begin with health, faithfulness, and effectiveness as local expressions of the Church.

The authors offer readers insights into developing a sense of purpose, building trust, encouraging curiosity, becoming more collaborative, appreciating productive conflict, and other vital skills.

Read an excerpt.

Phil Brochard has served as the Rector of All Souls Episcopal Parish in Berkeley, California, since 2008. As a trainer with the College for Congregational Development and as a consultant with congregations and dioceses in leadership development and lecturer at seminaries, Phil has helped develop and apply a variety of models to help congregations learn, grow, adapt, and thrive. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Alissa Newton serves as vicar of St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Kent, Washington, having previously served the Diocese of Olympia as Canon for Congregational Development and Leadership Formation (since 2014). She is a co-founder of the College for Congregational Development. Alissa has published articles in Vestry Papers, an online publication of the Episcopal Church Foundation. She lives in Des Moines, Washington.

Vital Christian Community offers churches of every kind access to clear, tested practices and pathways toward authentic, transformed life with Jesus and with each other.”
—The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, author of The Church Cracked Open

“[A] deep and hopeful view of congregations of all sizes while also providing excellent resources for strengthening their transformational potential.”
—The Revd Dr Ellen Clark-King, dean of King’s College London

“An excellent resource for local faith communities, denominational leaders, seminaries, and laity who need help in thinking about how faith communities, in their local context, can be more healthy, vibrant, and effectively active.”
—The Rev. Dr. Mark Chung Hearn, associate professor and director of Contextual Education, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California

“Having just launched the College for Congregational Development in the Diocese of Indianapolis, I see Vital Christian Community as an essential text putting some of the core values and practices of the college into the hands of lay and ordained leaders when we need this wisdom the most.”
—The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis

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  • diversity
  • welcome
  • inclusion
  • growth
  • church
  • future

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