Tuesday, August 21, 2012

School of Congregational Development 2012

By Laura Allen

I’m attending (and covering) the School of Congregational Development in St. Louis, Missouri, this week, along with Rev. Thomasina Stewart and Rev. Amy Shanholtzer. The thing I took from yesterday’s opening plenary session is something I’ve heard a lot of in the past few years:

Changing the church happens one person at a time. It happens when we listen to the stories of those outside the church walls and focus on serving the needs we hear about.

We can’t do that well unless we are becoming better disciples every day. That’s the message I hear from a wide range of church leaders. How does that transformation happen? How do we become better disciples so that we can reach out?

Bishop Robert Schnase (Missouri Area) told me a story this morning about how one congregation shifted its perspective by reaching out to a single mom with a special-needs child.

The audio is part of a story package I collaborated on today with my good friend and colleague, Melissa Hinnen. Melissa is the public information officer at the General Board of Global Ministries in New York City. You can also read our story.

I’m also going to catch up with Bishop Steiner Ball, who arrived late last night. What would you like me to ask her about congregational development?

SCD 2012

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