Organizational Leadership

The College for Bishops Leadership Institute was established to provide educational resources for new bishops as well as trending information resources for all bishops.  Organizational Leadership focuses on specific resources related to essential leadership skills: 

New items of interest are added on a monthly basis. To comment or offer suggestions for additional content, please use the feedback form at the bottom of this page.

Stewardship & Sustainability

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Churches must reimagine their relationship with money

With over 15 years engaging in “social justice philanthropy,” Edgar Villanueva, an author and member of the Lumbee Tribe, encourages faith communities to revitalize the ways that they approach money, wealth and philanthropy. “Helping generate wealth in diverse communities is one of the greatest things that churches can do,” Villanueva has said.  This interview comes from Faith & Leadership.

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To the Point: Doing Community Ministry in the Small Church

Small congregations sometimes assume that any significant community ministry effort is beyond their reach. However, with the right approach, it is possible for a small group of people to make a big impact. It will take focus and clarity about what you are trying to accomplish, but the small church can make a big impact in the world through partnerships, creative use of resources, and a focus on relational ministry. Small congregations have unique strengths that can result in strong and effective community ministry.


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Free Range Priests Solve Traditional Church Problems

For so long, the mainline Christian congregational model has been the only way we could imagine clergy serving our vocation. But today, we have many other ways to consider being the church, and serving the church. What might it look like to serve fully as an ordained clergyperson in unexpected ways and places?


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7 Policies Every Church Needs for Trust and Transparency

Trust is fragile. And finances, if not handled correctly, can be a source of worry rather than security. This article from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership outlines seven policies for institutional trust and financial integrity that reduce confusion and conflict while at the same time encouraging generosity to support your mission.


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Churches are closing. These 4 models are thriving.

Current statistics about church decline are grim; however, instead of focusing on solving the intractable problem of why churches are closing, some forward-thinking leaders try to learn from models that are thriving. Models that are thriving today and in the future will have certain things in common, such as a commitment to making disciples of modern secularized Americans, a deep knowledge of the changing cultural landscape that exists outside of Christian enclaves, and a capacity to grow and multiply without traditional funding sources.

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Western Kansas bishop embraces rare dual role that includes maintaining parish priest duties

A bishop who also serves as parish priest? That’s just how they do it in Western Kansas. Bishop Mark Cowell leads two congregations in Larned and Kinsley, Kansas and his list of additional part-time jobs includes municipal prosecutor in Dodge City and county attorney for Hodgeman County. This article from Episcopal News Service examines changing roles for bishops.


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Mission-Based Budgeting: A Loving, Liberating, Life-Giving Process

Hidden within your budgeting process is a golden opportunity to reach the members of your faith community in ways not possible by any other means. You have an opportunity to connect them, no matter how God has gifted them and set free all the collaborative, creative power they embody. Most importantly, you have the power to lift up the ultimate “Why” behind your hospitality, your outreach and everything you do and to help even your most pragmatic, business-minded folks connect more deeply with it. This is another excellent resource from Episcopal Church Foundation Vital Practices.

Transparency leads to greater giving

Wondering why there are always money issues? How does a church achieve financial transparency without seeming like it is asking for money all the time? Transparency is subtle, but key. Anecdotally, transparency seems to lead to greater worship, program, and financial participation. This webinar comes from Episcopal Church Foundation Vital Practices.


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A Vision for Bivocational Ministry

Are the limits we have accepted both on the economic structures of congregations and the inclusion of some people in ordained ministry, limits that arise from the expectation that ministry comprises a professional class, the desire of the Holy Spirit? Or have we, in a search for social status and economic security, accepted limits on our imagination that are getting in the way of innovative responses to God’s call to the whole church in ministry? Fr. Mark Edington, the author of Bivocation: Returning to the Roots of Ministry, wrote this article for Alban at Duke Divinity.


Basics of Church Financial Reporting

The financial well-being of the parish is one of the most important fiduciary responsibilities of the vestry; however, many vestry members do not have a financial background and may feel intimidated by a discussion of numbers. This ECFVP article is intended to give a basic grasp of the concepts and a format for a financial report that can be easily understood.


Top 10 Resources for Vestry Members

Looking for tools and resources to help new and returning vestry members? Here is a list of resources for your vestry toolbox that staff at the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) believe to be particularly helpful.  This article is part of the January 2018 Vestry Papers issue on Vstry Essentials.


What Are the True Costs of Church Programs?

Are key leaders in your church covering project costs out of their own pockets? Lewis Center Director Doug Powe says owning up to the true costs of ministry prevents new leaders from being blindsided and helps the congregation embrace a stewardship model that funds all ministries — not just those supported by particular donors.


The Case of a Small Church in an Oversized Building

Smaller congregations can easily squander their last resources for ministry attempting to keep up with the mounting demands of an aging facility. Such churches must decide for the people of God rather than their present building, before it’s too late. This article is excerpted from Small on Purpose: Life in a Significant Church (Abingdon Press, 2017) by Lewis A. Parks and was featured on the Lewis Center for Church Leadership newsletter.


22 Giving Tips for Churches

The church has never been good at talking about money. From lightning strikes to televangelists, there’s a sketchy history there. But money is also a practical reality and communicating about money is important. Your church has an opportunity, not just to pay the bills, but also to help your congregation have a healthier and smarter attitude toward money. Here are some tips to help your church better approach that dreaded topic of giving.


Resources & Support for Small Churches

While we talk about listening a lot in the church, we don’t always do it. But that’s exactly what Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) did this summer in an effort to learn more about the challenges facing part-time clergy leaders in small Episcopal congregations. ECF issued an open invitation to part-time leaders from churches that average fewer than 60 worshippers each Sunday, and on two summer afternoons, its program staff listened as 40+ leaders from churches across the country discussed their challenges, and the support and resources they need.


Sustainability in the Scrappy Church

When you serve a scrappy church, you know all too well that this might be the month you must close shop because the bills have been piling up for too long and yet every month, without fail, scrappy churches survive and do ministry.  A scrappy church is energized by the faith of its people, it has an outward-looking focus, it is flexible to change, and it serves its community. There is a certain magic that happens in scrappy churches, but it comes at a cost.


What do giving trends have to do with the generosity of faith communities? More than you might think. In this ECFVP webinar, Marcia Shetler, Executive Director/CEO of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, presents a big-picture view of giving in the United States and six trends that are shaping generosity—including church giving—today.


The Basics of Annual Giving: Strategies that Work

Looking for a magic bullet for your annual giving this year? A way to increase giving at your parish in 3 easy steps? This isn`t your webinar. Annual giving is a vital ministry at your parish and, like any ministry, successful strategies are often dependent on who is in your pews. This webinar will provide a concrete, yet adaptable, "how to" for successful annual fundraising. Participants will come away with an overview that is both rooted in the spirituality of giving and relationship driven while also receiving strategies that have proven success.


Buildings & Grounds (& Mission): Parish Partnerships

Episcopal priest Betsy Randall doesn’t invite people who are unchurched to worship or to hear her preach the Gospel.  Instead, she asks those who don't know Christ to pick up a hammer, paintbrush, or garden hoe and serve.  It just happens that during the life-changing days focused on nails, paint, and dirt that the Holy Spirit escorts them to a seat in the pew and their Christian journey begins.  


Buildings & Grounds (& Mission): A Ministry of Space

Keys stand for in for all kinds of questions about access, ownership, and trust. The giving of keys signifies trust and can mean a great deal to someone whose ability to take responsibility is called into question by prevailing social and church norms.  Giving out keys can create tremendous anxiety in those who have understood their vocation, at least in part, as being about keeping the church safe, clean, and secure.  Who gets the keys to your buildings?


Crowdfunding for Congregations and Faith Based Nonprofits

Crowdfunding—in its mainstream Internet form, at least—has existed since 2008. But the church has always funded its ministry through small gifts from a large number of people. While the initial shine of the “crowdfunding revolution” has dulled, it has gained a respectable status among the many ways to fund new ventures, whether business-related or charitable. Crowdfunding is no savior for religious giving but it does present a clear opportunity for church-related giving to expand its focus, audience, vision, and reach. 


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