Beliefs RNS Press Release Service

New book addresses congregational learning

For congregations, change isn’t always easy or intuitive.   There are always new challenges that need to be addressed.  To accomplish something new, it’s not just a matter of doing something. It’s a matter of learning to do something new.

In How Your Congregation Learns: The Learning Journey from Challenge to Achievement, Center for Congregations president Tim Shapiro introduces churches and leaders—both lay and clergy—to the process of the learning journey. By understanding learning dynamics and working to become a learning community, congregational leaders are able to move more purposefully to achieve their goals.

“Particular demands of today make it necessary for a congregation to be a place of learning regarding life practice, religious life and organizational life,” says Shapiro. Congregations face many kinds of challenges, from the mundane to the transcendent; from a roof leak to discerning God’s calling. Some of these challenges are just beyond the grasp of their leaders’ abilities. This book addresses the just-beyond-the-grasp challenges and shows how real congregations can learn from them. These demands and challenges are opportunities for learning.

How Your Congregation Learns includes many stories of congregations learning to do new things: starting a new education program, beginning a new building project, establishing new community ministries and much more. The stories are linked to a pattern Shapiro calls the learning journey, which takes place when congregations accomplish their goals.  Readers will learn new, creative ways of addressing challenges that are present in their congregations.

The book is published by Rowman & Littlefield and is available now from a variety of booksellers.

Learn more about the work of the Center for Congregations here.