Alternative Ministry Models

Alternative Models for Ministry is one of the five areas of ministry that we believe will be a focal point for some congregational Shift efforts.  If you have resources you have found valuable in this area – books, articles, videos, etc. – please let us know about them so we can share with others.  Also, if you have made a Shift in this area and are willing to share your story, we would love to hear from you.

Please send your suggestions, resources, and stories

If you have questions about this area of Shift, contact Tisha Brown.


Here are some thought starters or possible shifts that might be pursued along the lines of alternative ministry models:

  • Read “Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership” by Dan Hotchkiss or some other book about effective governance in today’s congregations with your council and implement some of the strategies and approaches outlined there.
  • Have a conversation with your Associate Conference Minister about alternate staffing models that might be more affordable for your congregation long term.
  • Consider what it might look like to be a faith community without a building
  • For some of our beloved congregations, closure may be the most viable way to pursue alternative ministry options. If your congregation is considering closure, check out these resources:
    • Living Legacy – Local Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ and United Church Funds offer the new Living Legacy workbook as a discernment and decision-making resource for “Legacy Congregations”—churches that conclude their ministry and seed new ministries
    • Rev. Gail Irwin’s book, Toward the Better Country: Church Closure and Resurrection


If you would like to share your congregation’s alternative ministry ideas, successes or resources with others, please contact us at

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