Greetings on behalf of the Flourishing Congregations Institute at Ambrose University in Calgary, Alberta!
Some of you participated in our phase one interview and focus group research last spring/summer, several were instrumental to network us with church leaders across the country, and others have graciously followed and supported us from a distance. Thank you for your interest as we seek to better understand flourishing congregations in a distinctly Canadian context, mindful of variations along Christian traditions and Canadian regions.
As we enter our second year as an Institute we highlight some of last year’s activities, feature some upcoming initiatives, and make you aware of resources that may be useful in your local contexts.
Thanks to generous funding and partnerships with – Ambrose University, Cardus, Christian and Missionary Alliance Canadian West District, Christian and Missionary Alliance Canadian Midwest District, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Turning Point Consulting, University of Saskatchewan, Willow Creek Canada, and World Vision Canada – we embarked on over one hundred interviews and focus groups with church leaders across five Canadian regions.
Key research findings on the Canadian context for congregational life as well as preliminary insights on dimensions of a flourishing congregation have already been presented at academic conferences, plus various invited presentations to faculty, church, and denominational leader groups. Some of these findings are available on the resources tab on our website.
We are excited to announce the release of a monograph titled, “A Preliminary Look at Flourishing Congregations in Canada: What Church Leaders are Saying,” based on our phase one interviews and focus groups. This book is available for purchase via this link, or can be downloaded for free on our website by mid-May In short, this book is an attempt to document the central findings and presentations from our Launch in November 2016, plus a series of blogs written for our website over the past year.
Looking ahead we are working on several articles to emerge from our initial data collection, plus we are setting the stage for a national survey, detailed case studies, additional interviews and focus groups, and various public and national events that bring together academics and practitioners with an interest in congregations in Canada. Among other objectives, we intend to generate empirically-based and theologically informed tools and resources that benefit churches and denominations toward flourishing.
We welcome the opportunity to partner with and serve congregations and denominations across Canada – let us know if you have suggestions or ideas that would be helpful for you. Also, we invite you to check out our website, track with us by signing up for regular updates and resources, and stay connected via twitter and facebook.
Joel Thiessen, Ph.D. (Professor of Sociology, Ambrose University)
Director, Flourishing Congregations Institute