Healthy Congregations / Smart Church FAQ
What is Healthy Congregations?
Healthy Congregations, Inc. is an ecumenical, not for profit educational and consulting agency which focuses on providing resources for training in understanding emotional process in communities of faith, families and organizations.
Isn’t it a program for Christians?
Initially begun as a project based on Peter Steinke’s book How Your Church Family Works, this series of six workshops has transformed congregations (including UU) and synagogues all over the country by helping them understand and respond faithfully to emotional process in their communities of faith, their families and other organizations. UU District Executives Connie Goodbread and the Rev. Dr. Richard Speck have adapted the materials for our use in order to be compatible with Unitarian Universalist theologies, which is called "Smart Church."
Who should take Healthy Congregations Training?
Your Central East Regional Group (CERG) staff recommends that every congregation send its leaders to a Healthy Congregations series of trainings. We are committed to offering this program in various geographic locations by certified facilitators on a regular basis so that your congregation can send new leaders every two or three years.
What will our leaders learn if they take this training?
- Accept differences
- Focus on mission rather than getting along, the past or survival.
- Focus on strengths
- Respond to anxiety and change
- Respond to conflict
- Act flexibly and creatively
- Leaders promote congregational health through presence and functioning rather than technique, skill or program
- Challenge people rather than comfort
- Leaders provide immune capacities rather than encouraging disease processes
- People respond graciously and truthfully
- People develop caring relationships rather than willful transactions
- People empower others rather than dominate or cure
- Recognize the interdependent web of life, rather than looking at isolated parts
- Practice stewardship gratefully and willingly
- Combine money and a faithful life
- Share lives rather than thinking only of self
- Hospitality is offered for all
- Beginning again is a way of life
This seems like a lot of time and expense. Is it worth it?
This kind of training offers a depth that will enable your leaders to help shift the culture of your congregation. The first couple of workshops provide an overview of the concepts, then the rest of the workshops will enable your leaders to go deeper into how systems thinking will help you in various parts of congregational life, providing a foundation for real and lasting change.