Revitalizer's Cohort - Salvation Army Canada

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Revitalizer's Cohort

5 Sessions (One a Month)
February 9 - June 18, 2021 1:00 P.M. EST

"Congregational Revitalization"


What will we Learn?

The following topics are designed to build upon each other:

Dates Seminar Description Pre-Session Preparation
Feb 9, 1:00 PM EST Congregational Life Cycle Review of life cycle theory and identifying where your corps is currently located within the cycle. Preview the five minute introductory video at:
Mar 9
1:00 PM EST
Revitalization Pathways Principles for navigating a pathway through the revitalization process. Reading to be assigned from: Renew Your Congregation.
Apr 13
1:00 PM EST
Phases of Leadership Mapping the different leadership phases through the revitalization process. Reading to be assigned from: Renew Your Congregation.
May 11
1:00 PM EST
Change and Conflict Understanding the relationship between change and conflict in corps and how to lead through the transitions. Complete the Riverhouse ePress “Style Matters Online” survey of personal conflict style ( There is a small cost for this resource.
June 8
1:00 PM EST
Capstone Review of revitalization pathways. Develop presentation for feedback from cohort.


Why a Learning Cohort?

Reflection on God’s mission and how it finds expression in our leadership is important. We can increase our learning by hearing and reflecting on the experience of others. The time commitments are intentionally brief, however having several other people to share in the journey over a five week period provides support, encouragement and peer accountability in the process. 

How does Coaching Contribute to the Experience? 
A coaching appointment (in person or by telephone) after the video conference provides an opportunity to personally work through the issues facing you with regards to your particular context. Coaches have been trained to ask good questions, understand confidentiality and are aware of congregational life issues.
You will be provided with a list of available coaches and their biographic information so that you may indicate your preference of a coach for the duration of the cohort.  The number of coaches is limited, so you are encouraged to register your preference as soon as possible in order to ensure that you will be able to benefit from this opportunity.
You will meet with your personal coach for a maximum of one hour of coaching monthly during the cohort. The intent is that you can use the coaching time to focus on what you will want to do in your local setting. A confidential coaching conversation will help you to clarify the focus and organize your steps. The coach will ask you to define what you have as goals for the coaching, will ask you questions to help you clarify what you need to do to accomplish your goals and will follow up in your monthly meetings.  This is done in the style of a “life coach” or “executive coach.” The coach may or may not be familiar with the teaching material of the cohort. Scheduling of coaching appointments with your coach is your responsibility. The Corps Mission Resource Department is covering any necessary costs of training or reimbursement of time for any of the coaches who are on the recommended list.

What will it Cost to Participate in this Cohort?

The registration fee for this cohort is $25.00. Your Corps may be able to help with the cost of you participating in a cohort. Please see your Corps Officer. The cost of the presenters, resources, coaching appointments and administration is being subsidized by the Corps Mission Resource Department at Territorial Headquarters.

Who are the Presenters?
Major Peter van Duinen, Corps Officer of Guelph Citadel, has twelve years experience in congregational ministry in both rural and urban corps, including six years in a multi-ethnic congregation. He has helped congregations navigate a variety of issues including community engagement, leadership development, organizational restructuring, vision development, and change management. Major van Duinen holds an MDiv degree from Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University with a specialization in congregational revitalization.

Dr. James Watson, Corps Health and Planting Consultant, has worked alongside congregational leaders from a variety of denominational traditions across Canada. He has earned an MDiv from McMaster Divinity College and a PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary.

What Is the Format of the Learning Cohort?
The learning cohort will include the following elements:

  1. Reading or Viewing before the Monthly Videoconference: There are a few resources provided before some of the the monthly videoconferences to provide you with material for your reflection. Sometimes it may be reading and at times there may be other helpful online content.
  2. Monthly Videoconference: The videoconference allows us to meet and learn together from very different parts of the Territory. While the videoconference from a computer or smartphone is encouraged to get to know the cohort, there will be a dial in option for telephone as well.
  3. Monthly Coaching: As indicated above, the coaching experience is designed to help you apply your learning to your ministry setting in a concrete way.

Annotated Bibliography

Alpha Canada provides resources for faith exploration. The combination of a shared meal and safe space for asking questions about spirituality has benefitted many people.

Arn, Charles. Side Door: How to Open Your Church to Reach More People. Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2013.

Vital congregations are good at empowering their people to pursue their unique strengths. It is by discovering the passions of its individual insiders that a church can creatively and effectively draw the outsiders into its fellowship and into Jesus.  

Bowen, John P. Evangelism for “Normal” People. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2002.

A helpful and easy to read textbook on evangelism based on the Canadian experience, written by an evangelist and professor of evangelism.  

Dale, Robert D. To Dream Again: How to Help Your Church Come Alive. Eugene: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 1981.

There are four ways to revitalize a church, organizationally speaking. Policy changes, change personnel, create new program structures or clarify purpose. The fourth way to revitalize a church is to define and act on its fundamental purpose. 

Im, Daniel. No Silver Bullets: 5 Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry. Nashville: B&H Books, 2017.

A “systems approach” to reviewing primary (practical and ecclesial) functions of your congregation.

McConnell, William. Renew Your Congregation: Healing the Sick, Raising the Dead. Atlanta: Chalice Press, 2007.

Providing both spiritual and practical perspectives based on hard won experience, this book offer examples of what can be involved in congregational renewal.

McIntosh, Gary L. Taking Your Church to the Next Level: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009.

Taking Your Church to the Next Level explains the impact of age and size on churches and outlines the improvements that must be made at each point for a church to remain fruitful and faithful to its mission. 

Mohler, R. Albert. A Guide to Church Revitalization. Louisville: SBTS Press, 2015.

This guide book details the necessary elements of revitalizing a dying church, from the centrality of expository preaching to cultivating spiritual discipline among members. It includes a description of the revitalizing process, a summary of the factors indicating ultimate success, and a depiction of the personal character required to be a spiritually effective church planter.

Morgan, Tony. The Unstuck Church: Equipping Churches to Experience Sustained Health. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017.

This book calls for an honest assessment of where your congregation sits on the lifecycle and offers the challenge of becoming unstuck. It unpacks each stage of the congregational lifecycle and offers specific and strategic next steps the church leader can take towards sustained health.

Munn, Janet and Stephen Court. “Rhythms of Prayer: Something for Everyone.” In Army on its Knees: The Dynamics of Great Commission Prayer. London: Salvation Books, 2012, 49-66.

This a comprehensive book on prayer. This particular chapter presents multiple approaches to prayer.

Ross, Donald. Turnaround Pastor: Pathways to Save, Revive and Build your Church. Montlake Terrace, WA: Turnaround Church Coaching Network, 2013.

Learn from Dr. Ross' personal experience and coaching expertise how to communicate effectively with your congregation, make courageous decisions to move your church forward, lead through major changes, cast meaningful vision, advance Christ's kingdom in your community, and become a Turnaround Pastor.

Shepherd, Eleanor. More Questions than Answers: Sharing Faith by Listening. Eugene: Resource Publications, 2010.

A helpful introduction into engaging in meaningful relationship through listening, both to the person in front of you and to God in that moment. 

Whitesel, Bob. Preparing for Change Reaction: How to Introduce Change in Your Church. Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2007.

This practical guide is designed to be used by church leaders with their boards as a tool for negotiating needed changes. The author compellingly makes the case that new methodology can and must be embraced without altering a church’s beliefs or mission. He then offers a series of exercises to be undertaken jointly by church leaders that will result in the production of a master plan for managing change effectively in the local church.


Any Questions?

If at any time you have questions, you are welcome to contact   Questions about the content of the Cohort should be directed to the individual Cohort facilitator.