United Church of Christ Resources

Published by Alban Institute

ISBN/Prod. Code: A92541  Your uploaded image.

Pastoral-to-program size change is frequently described as the most challenging of growth transitions for congregations. Now Alban senior consultant Alice Mann, author of The In-Between Church: Navigating Size Transitions in Congregations, addresses the difficulties of that transition in this resource designed specifically for a congregational learning team.

Conceptualized and developed by Mann for an Alban online seminar program test event conducted with twelve congregations in transition, her newest book features a five-step process enabling the learning team to engage a wider circle of congregational leaders and members in study, discernment, and planning. Never before published resources include discussion of a major new concept—passive barriers to growth—plus Mann’s “System Change Index” tool to help congregations measure their progress from pastoral-size to program-size ways of operating.

From preparing the congregation’s board and members, selecting the person to guide the learning process, and recruiting the learning team, to creating and celebrating a plan for congregational learning and action, Mann provides all the resources a congregation needs to address this significant size transition period.

“Congregations on the precipice of the next level of church growth will find Alice Mann an invaluable counselor. She gives practical steps that apply to church situations based on her extensive study and experience. This is not the typical 'cookie cutter' approach to the struggle of church growth because her research and insights come from the trenches of 12 actual churches. She provides five effective action steps that will activate your community of faith.” —Dr. Joel S. McCoy

“In Raising the Roof Alice Mann writes clearly and persuasively about the tensions and opportunities facing mid-size churches as they grow, decline, or get stuck. Moving beyond the description she identifies specific barriers to change and growth, tools for assessment, and key elements for successful transition from the pastoral- to program-size church. She takes seriously the difficulty of changing congregational cultures and provides step-by-step planning processes for church leaders. Yet, what I appreciate most is the way she has woven her insights and ideas about congregational vitality and calling throughout the book, so that it becomes a primer on effective ministry.” —The Rev. Liza Hendricks

Before joining the staff of the Alban Institute, ALICE MANN served for two decades in the dual roles of local pastor and nationally recognized consultant-trainer in the field of parish development, with emphasis on incorporating new members; redeveloping struggling congregations; defining judicatory roles in growth and revitalization; breaking through size plateaus; and deepening parish spirituality. She frequently assists churches with self-assessment, long-range planning, and the development of context-sensitive strategies for growth. In training workshops and planning retreats, Alice engages large and small groups in practical learning and candid conversation about the choices church leaders face today.

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