The work of Congregational Development is to support both new and existing churches in their efforts to strengthen their congregations. Specific programs of Congregational Development include the Restart Program, New Church Starts, Partnership Programs, and Training.
Where parishes have lost viability but are in a demographically promising area, the Restart Program provides some clergy salary support plus extensive coaching and hands-on training. The program has specific, measurable goals that are tracked and evaluated.
The Partnership Program funds churches that have no reasonable expectation of achieving stand-alone status because of their locations in small towns or other specific challenges. Currently two programs are in place: The Eastern Convocation Partners in Ministry that comprises seven congregations located on the eastern edge of the diocese; and the Central Convocation Partners in Ministry program that includes two small congregations in San Antonio.
The Training Division provides ongoing and extensive training for priests and laity in Church Growth Concepts. This is hands-on, practical learning in how to connect with people who do not attend church. In recent studies it has been shown that approximately 85 percent of people living in Texas are not in any church on Sunday morning. In addition, the training is designed to help people understand and to re-focus on the true mission of the church.
Chair: Joann Saylors
Canon for Deployment and Congregational Development