Transforming Congregations

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
COURSE UNIT 274 - 8274


The unit explores the cycle of renewal and decline in Scripture and in church history, taking note of the characteristics of renewal movements.  By exploring the dynamics of congregational life it identifies factors which make for the renewal of churches in spirituality, worship, order and mission and considers their application in today’s context.  In particular it focuses on the place of preaching, pastoral care and the sacraments as the means by which those in pastoral leadership may manage change and nurture healthy congregations. Students are enabled to apply a variety of tools of review to their own placements and contexts.


To identify and explore the factors which contribute to the renewal of congregations in spirituality, order and mission and to equip participants to be agents of constructive change.


Category of outcome

By the end of this unit students should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

·      Give an informed account of the nature, content and purpose of congregational studies

Intellectual skills

·      Evaluate critically recent approaches to the dynamics of congregational life

Practical and Transferable skills; Personal qualities

·      Analyse contexts and show critical awareness of their impact on their ministries

·      Appraise their own church contexts and propose appropriate and pastorally responsible strategies for their development


Assessment task


Weighting within unit



1000 words

2000 words




·         274:

·         8274:

Draft audit document

An essay



3000 words


2000 words






·         274:


·         8274:

An audit and strategy document

An essay

and a learning journal*

* Distance learning students are required to pass this element. So long as this element has been passed, they will be eligible for compensation if the overall unit mark is within the compensation zone (30-39%), and the compensatable credit allowance as set out in the Degree Regulations has not been exceeded.




Available on which programme(s)?

BA in Theology


1.    Congregational pathology and health

2.    Natural church development

3.    Building healthy churches

4.    Purpose-driven churches

5.    The nature of renewal movements

6.    Vision and its realisation

7.    Two case studies

8.    Two case studies

9.    Two case studies

10.  The dynamics and ethics of change

11.  Towards an agenda for renewal

Teaching method

Interactive lectures

Additional eLearning content

Unit materials are available at Spurgeon’s Online to support student learning


Written feedback within 15 working days from submission

Date of approval (for office use)


Information updated on

December 2015


Indicative reading

Avis, P., A Church Drawing Near; Spirituality and Mission in a Post-Christian            Culture (Edinburgh; T and T Clark, 2003)

Beasley-Murray, P., Transform your Church: 50 very practical steps (Leicester: IVP, 2005)

Beer, D., 50 Ways to Help your Church Grow (Eastbourne; Kingsway, 2000)

Croft, S., Transforming Communities: Re-imagining the Church for the 21st Century (London: DLT, 2002)**

Breen, Mike, Leading Missional Communities (Pawley’s Island: 3 Dimension Ministries, 2013)

Breen, Mike and Absolom, Alex, Launching Missional Communities – a field guide (Pawleys Island, SC: 3DM Publications, 2010)

Cameron, H., Richter, P., Davies, D., and Ward, F., eds, Studying Local Churches: A Handbook (London: SCM Press, 2005)**

Cameron, Helen, Resourcing Mission: Practical Skills for Changing Churches (London:

SCM, 2011)

Dadswell, David, Consultancy Skills for Mission and Ministry (London: SCM, 2011)

Finney, J. Fading Splendour? A New Model of Renewal  (London: DLT, 2000)

Guest, M., Tusting, K. and Woodhead, L., eds., Congregational Studies in the UK

(Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004)**

Hocken, P., The Strategy of the Spirit? Worldwide renewal and revival in the established

Church and modern movements (Guildford: Eagle, 1996)

Hopewell, J. F.. Congregation: Stories and Structures (London: SCM, 1987)

Hopkins, Bob and Breen, Mike, Clusters: creative mid-sized missional communities

(Pawleys Island, SC: 3DM Publications, 2007)

McNeal, Reggie, Missional Communities: The Rise of the Post-Congregational Church Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series[55] [e-book] (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011)

Percy, M. and Markham, I., Why Liberal Churches are Growing (London: Continuum, 


Schwarz, C. A., Natural Church Development: A Practical Guide to a New Approach

(Bedordh: BCGA, 1996)

Snyder, H., Signs of the Spirit: How God Reshapes the Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,


Snyder, H., Liberating the Church: The Ecology of Church and Kingdom (London:

Marshalls, 1983)

Snyder, H., The Community of the King (Downers Grove; IVP, 1977)**

Stackhouse, I., The Gospel-Driven Church: Retrieving classical ministries for contemporary

revivalism (Carlisle: Paternoster, 2004)**

Warren, Rick, The Purpose Driven Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995)

Warren, R., The Healthy Churches’ Handbook (London: Church House Press, 2004)**

Wraight, H., and Wraight, P., Back from the Brink: Stories of Churches which Refused to

Die  (London: CRA, 2006)

Wright, N. G., Challenge to Change: A Radical Agenda for Baptists (Eastbourne:

Kingsway, 1991)**

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Transforming Congregations

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 274 - 8274





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