Hope in Christ
Hope in Christ is designed for congregations concerned for their health, ministry, and future vitality. This project has its roots in the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA and is a response to challenges facing small congregations. These include:
a culture which is trending away from participation in organized religion
local pressures related to demographics and economics
aging of membership
a shortage of ordained leaders to serve small rural congregations
Hope in Christ helps congregations take stock of where they are, their strengths and challenges. Gathered together, members dream and discern where God is leading. This moves to conversation focused on putting into place and building a consensus with plans for future ministry and vitality.
Hope in Christ helps congregation move from being a victim of the changes around them to claiming their power to make decisions and shape their own futures. I have seen this happen as the Holy Spirit moves through dialogue and focused conversations. The tools used are designed to combine accurate information and inclusive congregational participation for purposeful planning.
Read more about the process in an article on Hope in Christ. "Equipped for Change."
Please contact me to inquire about Hope in Christ for your congregation.
Unresolved conflicts, bottled-up feelings, animosities, and frustration result in strained and sometimes broken relationships. People will be heard saying things like, "Why doesn't he just leave?" or "If she opens her big mouth one more time, I'm outta here!" and "Why doesn't he act more Christian and then we can all just get along?"
Let's Talk provides a safe place to tell personal stories and share feelings. I will often use a circle process as it has proven to be a powerful tool for conflicted organizations.
A Let's Talk session is shaped by the group's particular needs. It has been particularly useful in talking through disagreements around homosexuality, misconduct by a pastor or leader, and the difficult question if a pastor or other leader should be asked to leave.
Let's Talk sessions are also used to "Neutralize History." This is a specific process which is chosen when an organization has had a past difficulty to get over. Using ritual and truth telling, a Neutralizing History event encourages people to let go of the past in order to move into the future. This becomes part of a healing and restorative process.
Contact me to learn more about scheduling a Let's Talk.
Feeding and Strengthening Leaders
In a troublesome situation, often frustration sets in and the big picture is blurred and confusing. "Where do I start? I need a handle somewhere to help me deal with this." A Dialog Works training workshop or individual coaching will guide and assist leaders to find those handles. They provides practical tools for leaders as they face complex and problematic situations.
Training workshops are designed to fit the particular needs of individuals, businesses, or congregations. They equip participants to deal more effectively with conflict resolution and management. Workshops include both the theory behind the tool as well as time to tryout and practice using the new tool.
Focused Conversations - how to plan and lead a focused conversation. Check out this video to learn about ORID and the roots of Focused Conversation.
Communication in Times of Disagreement - how to keep relationships going when things get heated. In this workshop we learn our relationship style and are introduced to basic conflict theory. Participants learn and practice listening and speaking skills.
How to Bridge Troubled Waters - provides practical tools for leaders to help people talk through difficult topics in productive rather than destructive ways.
Contact me to learn more about Equipping and Supporting Leaders.