Academic Programs 

Colleague I   (Dm-711)     
Winter/Spring 2004

A continuation of DM-710 D.Min. Colleague Seminar I.  Required of first-year D.Min. students. 


Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 26, Feb. 9, Mar. 8 and 29, and Apr. 26

David Roozen
Professor of Religion and Society


Contact Information:
(860) 509-9546


Course Syllabus

Class Web Site

Seminar Goals

  • Expose participants to a variety of new perspectives and methods for understanding the social dynamics and characteristics of formally organized ministry settings (typically congregations) and their theological implications.

  • Provide a rich environment for peer support and learning based on common (and uncommon) experiences and struggles in ministry.

  • Facilitate information-sharing about the Doctor of Ministry process and program.

  • Sharpen skills in anticipation of the Ministry Project phase of the program.


  • Commitment to sharing openly and respectfully.

  • Commitment to listen to one another; to listen to understand (inquiring if you don't know) before suggesting or critiquing

  • What is said in the group stays in the group!

  • Timely and regular attendance.  If an emergency comes up (and they do), call me or the main seminary number (860/509-9500) and leave word.  Any session that is missed will require an extra written reflection paper (to be shared with colleagues on the topic of day).  Only one and a half absences are permitted a semester.  Two absences in a semester constitutes withdrawal from the course.

  • Timely and regular participation in the courses classroom and electronic discussions and exercises

  • Written assignments are expected on the published due dates.  Exceptions are made only in case of emergency and in dialogue with the instructor.  Only in exceptional circumstances is an "incomplete" grade given for this seminar.

Written Assignments:  During the first semester there will be four different kinds of written assignments:

  • Reports on readings

  • Reports on data gathering exercises

  • Website annotations

  • A paper at the end of the semester that integrates one's data gathering, reading and theological reflection.

Semester Grade:  As is true for all Hartford Seminary D.Min courses, the Colleague Seminar is graded on a High Pass/Pass/Low Pass/Fail basis.  First semester grade will be based on:  1/3 class participation, 1/3 end-of-semester integrative paper, and 1/3 other written assignments.

Devotions:  Most of us, I am sure, will want to join the Hartford Seminary community for chapel on Monday mornings at 9 and for the all-Seminary coffee hour that follows.  I suggest we also plan a brief time of devotion (10 minutes or so) led by seminar members at the close of each class session.


January 26th Assignments
Process I


  • Chapter 4, "Process: Dynamics of Congregational Life" in Studying Congregations.

  • Sizing Up A Congregation For New Member Ministry, Arlin J. Rothauge (Episcopal Church Center, nd).  Copies will be distributed in class on Dec 8th.

Data Gathering Exercise: None due until Exercise 5 on February 9.  However, this is a significant exercise, so you may want to get started early.  


  • Semester I major paper.

  • Report on Chapter 4, "Process: Dynamics of Congregational Life" in Studying Congregations.   Use "Written Assignment for Supplemental Readings" from fall semester.  Post to the course Discussion Web prior to class.

  • Report on Sizing Up A Congregation For New Member Ministry.   Use "Written Assignment for Supplemental Readings" from fall semester.  Post to the course Discussion Web prior to class.

  • Web site annotations.  Use "Web-site Annotation" guide from fall semester.


February 9th Assignments  
Process II


  • Transforming Church Boards into Communities of Spiritual Leaders, Charles M. Olsen (Alban Institute, 1995).

  • "The Political Frame," David A. Roozen (Center for Social and Religious Research Working Paper 9508).  Class handout.

Data Gathering Exercise:            
Exercise 5: Analyzing Congregational Process


  • Report on Data Gathering Exercise 5.  Post to the course web-discussion board prior to class.

  • Report on both of the above readings, using "Written Assignment for Supplemental Readings."  Post to the course web-discussion board prior to class.  

Exercise 5  
Analyzing Congregational Process  

Due: February 9

Identify a recent (or on-going) decision that has been important for the identity and mission of your place of ministry. Choose a person who was involved in the decision-making process to interview and a group that had some role in the decision for observation. If possible, do your observation first, using the interview to clarify things you observed.

The interview: Be familiar with the interview guidelines in the "methods" chapter of Studying Congregations. The focus of our interview will be to understand, from this person's vantage point, the process by which the decision in question was made. Be sure to cover some or all of the following (plus other questions of your own):  How did this issue become an issue (i.e., who was concerned and how did they voice their concern/interest)? What forms of communication were involved at various stages in decision making (forums, newsletters, grapevine, sermons, etc.)? If there was conflict, how was the conflict handled? What role did various influential people play and why were they influential? How was the final decision made (edict, vote, consensus, inaction, etc.)?

The observation:  Sit, if possible, in an unobtrusive place where you can watch and take notes. If you have to be involved in the meeting and cannot take notes as it is on-going, find time as soon as possible after it ends to make detailed notes to yourself. Look for some or all of the following (plus other things that interest you):  What is the searing arrangement? Who talks (how much and to whom)? What do they do besides the business that is on the agenda (socializing, praying, etc.)?  What is the general mood or feeling level of the group? What so they assume will happen now that they have made various decisions -- where do they go next?

The report:  Focus on one or two "process" issues (communication, influence, conflict, or the like). Use what you learned from both the interview and the observation to briefly summarize how the congregation/denomination does its work. Attach to your report the list of questions you used in your interview and the notes you took during your  observation.


March 8th Assignments  
Resources I
C Money and People


  • Chapter 5, "Resources" in Studying Congregations

  • Money Matters: Personal Giving in American Churches.  Dean R. Hoge, et al (Westminister John Knox Press, 1996).

Data Gathering Exercise:  
Exercise 6: Analyzing Congregational Resources


  • Report on Data Gathering Exercise 6.  Post to the course Discussion Web.

  • Report on Chapter 5, "Resources" in Studying Congregations.   Use "Written Assignment for Supplemental Readings" from fall semester.  Post to the course Discussion Web prior to class.

  • Report on Money Matters. Use "Written Assignment for Supplemental Readings" from fall semester.  Post to the course Discussion Web prior to class.

  •  Web site annotations.  Use "Web-site Annotation" guide from fall semester.


Exercise 6  
Analyzing Congregational Resources  
Due: March 8th

Choose ONE of the following for your assignment

1. Money. Obtain a copy of the most recent budget, and -- to the extent possible -- determine the percentage of the congregation's income that comes from individual pledges, special offerings, "loose change" from the offering plate, grants, endowment, interest, rents, and the like. Then determine the percentage that is expended for ministerial staff, other staff, facilities, equipment and supplies, program expenses, local outreach and mission giving, national and international mission giving, denominational dues and the like. Your set of categories will be different from these.  Rather, use this exercise to think about and use the most relevant categories for understanding  where your congregation's money comes from and where it goes.

2. Space. For each identifiable unit of space (e.g., parking lot, sanctuary, classrooms, fellowship hall, and the like) in the facilities occupied by your congregation, catalog how big it is, its general appearance and condition (including furnishings), what it is used for, and how often it is used. Begin on the outside and work your way through the building. Then go to the budget and determine as best you can how much money the congregation spends on these facilities and how much money (if any) the facilities generate for the congregation (rents and the like). The table you create for your report may be descriptive, rather than numeric. 

3. Membership.

  • Option A. Create a chart or graph showing the number of members gained and lost for each of the last 10 years. Divide both the gains and losses into relevant categories (i.e., infant baptisms, adult transfers v. deaths, transfers out), and chart these separately.

  • Option B. Obtain a list of all active committees and all the teachers for various educational activities.   Count the number of people who are listed, noting the number who are listed more than once. Compare this to the total congregational membership and the average weekly attendance. Create a pie chart or bar graph comparing members, attenders, workers, and people with multiple involvements.


  • Include a brief discussion of why you chose the option you chose, and why you used the categories you used for organizing your data.

  • Create a numerical table(s) that lays out your findings and if possible create one or more graphics that illustrate what you have found.

  • Use the bulk of your report to summarize the strengths and weaknesses you discovered in this congregation's resource base.

  • Include some discussion of what, if anything, worked well/easily and what, if anything, was frustrating or problematic.

March 29th  Assignments  
Resources II
C Program and Leadership


  • Chapter 6, "Leadership and the Study of the Congregation" in Studying Congregations.

  • Class Handout: "Program."  This is Chapter Five from the Handbook for Congregational Studies (Carroll, Dudley & McKinney, eds., Abingdon Press, 1986), which is the predecessor to Studying Congregations. 

Exercise 7:   Program Assessment and Evaluation Design: Choose one of your congregation's programs.  Gather a small group of persons interested in that program (e.g., a committee responsible for the program; and/or program advocates, critics or participants).  Discuss with the group: (1)how the congregation might do an evaluation of the program and a program assessment for possibly revising the program; and (2) what the group thinks would be found in such an evaluation and assessment.  Write a report that includes: (1) group's consensus regarding a possible design for the program evaluation and assessment; (2) the group's sense of what would be found in such an evaluation and assessment, and (3) your assessment of the group's thoughts.


  • Report on Exercise 7. Post to the course Discussion Web.

  • Report on Chapter 6, "Leadership and the Study of the Congregation" in Studying Congregations, using "Written Assignment for Supplemental Readings."  Post to the course Discussion Web.

  • Web site annotations.  Use "Web-site Annotation" guide from fall semester

April 26th  Assignments  
What Does It All Mean; Why Does It Matter


  • Review Chapter 6, "Leadership and the Study of the Congregation" in Studying Congregations.

  • New Wine in Old Wineskins: Evangelicals and Liberals in a Small-Town Church.  R. Stephen Warner (University of California Press, 1988)

Exercise 8:   Weaving the Studying Congregations Lenses
During class on March 29 you will be assigned one of the 4 primary lenses from Studying Congregations -- ecology, culture, process or resources; plus either theology or leadership.  Your exercise is to do a time line of the Mendocino Presbyterian Church (as its story is told in New Wine) from the perspective of your assigned
"lense" and either theology or leadership.  You should bring paper copies of your time line to class.


  • Exercise 8 time line. Bring 11 copies to class.

Semester II Paper
  --- Due June 1, 2004

What Are The Process and Resource Characteristics That Are Most Important To the Future Of Your Ministry Setting?

Write an essay describing:

  • The 2 or 3 process characteristics that are most important to the future of your ministry setting;

  • The 2 or 3 resource characteristics that are most important to the future of your ministry setting;

  • Why the above characteristics are important to the future of your ministry setting.

Some hints and expectations:

  • FOCUS.   You can't tell us everything about the process of your congregation/organization nor about the resources that provide you the capacity to do ministry, so one of the challenges of the essay is for you to think about and articulate what is most important.  There are at least two different dimensions that contribute to making something important:

  • Because it represents a challenge or opportunity that your ministry setting will have to deal with and/or because it is either a bridge or barrier to dealing with something;
  • Because it is important to the organizational health/vitality or your ministry setting and/or because it is important to the theological integrity and faithfulness of your ministry setting.
  • DRAW ON THE GROWING CIRCLE OF WISDOM AT YOUR DISPOSAL.  Use what you have read to sharpen your selection/analysis and your articulation of the characteristics/implications/ importance.
  • KEEP YOUR FEET SQUARELY IN EMPIRICAL REALITY.  While your own armchair observations are a valuable source of data, don't forget to use the information you have gathered for your exercises.  Indeed, you may need to gather some additional information to fill in the answers to what you now know to be the critical questions/issues.

  • BUT DON'T FORGET THAT THIS IS ABOUT MORE THAN EMPIRICAL REALITY. Your theological reflection on the relationship between your ministry setting and the world, and on the nature/purpose/tasks  of the "church" will be essential.

  • REMEMBER THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF THE PROCESS OF LEARNING MORE. That's where your bibliography comes in.  In addition to citing the sources you have already read and use in the paper, you should make a trip to the library (or visit the on‑line catalog) to look for sources that will help you understand more thoroughly the issues you issues/situations you are raising.

Therefore, a typical paper might look something like this:

  • 1-2 pages of general introduction of the church/organization and its community/setting.  A bit of history and orientation to set the stage.

  • 1 page that identifies/introduces in a sentence or two the characteristics on which you will focus.

  • 2-3 pages describing each characteristic (what it is, what the "facts"/evidence are/is, how you know this) and why it is important C the latter addressing both of the above noted dimensions of importance, especially the theological implications -- that is 2-3 pages per characteristic.

  • 2-3 page summary/conclusion including what you think this means for your leadership in this ministry setting.

  • 1-2 pages of bibliography, including an annotated bibliography of 3-10 sources you will consult in the future.

  • Grand total = about 15  - 20 pages


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