Church Depot workshops over the next year will be based on the work of an American church consultant who has set out twelve keys to an effective church.

Dr. Kennon Callahan speaking at a two day-conference at St. Dunstan's, Aldergrove. His talks about church health and growth have inspired a series of Church Depot workshops which will take place over the coming year. Glen Mitchell photo

A two-day conference at St. Dunstan's, Aldergrove, this summer with Dr. Kennon Callahan drew over 150 people from parishes throughout the diocese and elsewhere. It has become the inspiration for a series of programs based on the various "keys.

"Church Depot" is the name given to a series of Saturday workshops sponsored by the diocese to encourage parish health and growth. Often they are presented jointly with the BC Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

Callahan, a long-time teacher at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, is best known for his book Twelve Keys to an Effective Church, which has been used in several denominations.

At the conference in June in the diocese, he explained that his research has shown one can separate the keys to an effective church into two groups. One he calls "relational" - having an agreed-upon mission, pastoral and lay visiting, dynamic worship, active small groups, strong leadership, and participatory decision-making.

The second group of characteristics of successful churches include several good programs, accessibility, high visibility, parking and landscaping, adequate space and facilities, and solid finances.

The Rev. Paul Borthistle, diocesan director of parish support ministries, said that due to the success of the conference with Callahan, the Church Depot planning group has decided to focus on his keys over the next four Church Depot workshops.

In February of 2007 the workshop will focus on dynamic worship (Callahan's key number 3). In March, the workshop will be about leadership and decision making (keys 5 and 6). In the fall, workshops will be focused on accessibility, visibility, parking, space and facilities (keys 8 through 11).

Borthistle said he expects the Evangelism Unit's conference on November 11 to deal with several other aspects of Callahan's work, including visitation and small group work (keys 2 and 4).

The Keys of the Kingdom Stewardship Conference in June was organized by Glen Mitchell, diocesan director of stewardship and planned giving, assisted by Barbara Struthers, administrative assistant.

Mitchell credited the host parish for much of the meeting's success: "St. Dunstan really stepped up to the plate and put their new church facilities and their parish community to the test, welcoming us and feeding us for two full days. They did an excellent job," he said.