Who Is Our Church?: Imagining Congregational Identity

Book, 2006, 161 pp
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After congregations have considered their history, added up all the statistics, and tried to be honest about their core value, the question still remains: “Who are we, really?” Cawley offers a creative, engaging, and faithful way to answer just that question. With numerous composite stories about congregations that have worked with this accessible technique, Cawley demonstrates how to use a congregation’s knowledge of itself to construct a metaphor of the congregation as a person and then draw on that metaphor to generate options for future mission.

Many mainline churches today go through wrenching changes, such as amalgamations, closures, redevelopment, and remissioning, processes that stress the deepest levels of congregational identity. Cawley makes the case that congregations with a clear, well-articulated identity—those that know, accept, and love who they are—can be flexible and respond to change and new initiatives from the Holy Spirit with boldness because their basic sense of themselves is affirmed rather than threatened. They can make faithful and appropriate choices about what they should do.

Cawley’s framework for thinking about identity is theological, and her tools for articulating identity are practical. Congregations will find this intuitive, imaginative approach is highly accurate, immediately useful, and lots of fun!
AudienceAdults, Leaders
PublisherAlban Institute

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