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April 9, 2012 / Richard Bass

Resources and Comments in Response to “A Congregation of Theological Coherence”

In “A Congregation of Theological Coherence” (the April 9, 2012 Alban Weekly), Tim Shapiro asserts that a congregation’s health correlates with the way its leaders think and speak about God.

This correlation, which Shapiro describes as “theological coherence,” happens when a congregation is clear about how it understands God and applies that understanding to its daily life. It happens when there’s congruence between a congregation’s stated values and what it does. And it happens when a congregation both practices what it preaches and preaches what it practices.

While theological coherence can take many forms, what the forms share are “strategic efforts to integrate theological reflection into the life of a congregation.” These efforts may appear as mission and vision statements, formal governing board actions, new adult education processes, and even everyday conversation.

What resources might support theological coherence in your congregation? In addition to the items listed at the end of the article, please consider The Art of Theological Reflection; How to Think Theologically (Second Edition); and Becoming a Congregation of Learners: Learning as a Key to Revitalizing Congregational Life.

What are your stories and thoughts on this topic? And what resources do you suggest? We look forward to hearing from you.


Leave a Comment
  1. Judith Gotwald / Apr 9 2012 9:47 am

    Excellent post which poses an interesting challenge to congregations in multicultural settings. Each culture brings its own theology to congregational life and they can clash. A conscience attempt to unify in theology would be an important tool . . . and an ongoing challenge.

  2. John Wimberly / Apr 9 2012 8:02 am

    This is one of the single most important things I have ever read on the Alban website. Why we overlook the importance of theology and aligning our theological beliefs with our practices mystifies me. Theology is that which differentiates us from every other organization in which our members participate. Thank you Tim!

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