The Congregational Studies Team is an informal collaboration of scholars and researchers who share an interest in the disciplined study of congregations. Founded in 1982 by Jackson Carroll, Carl Dudley, James Hopewell, Loren Mead and Barbara Wheeler, the team meets a few times each year for discussion of common projects and for mutual professional support. The team has published three books: Building Effective Ministry (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983), the Handbook for Congregational Studies (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1986 and Studying Congregations: A New Handbook (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998). Studying Congregations has been adapted for use in southern Africa and published in a Korean language edition. In addition to team-produced books, its members, in various combinations, have written numerous books on congregations and sponsored national conferences and institutes in the field of congregational studies.
In addition to the founding and active members, Rebecca Chopp, Penny Edgell, Nancy Eiesland, Ardith Hayes, Bill Holway, Mary Mattis and Jack Wertheimer have been team members. Over the years the composition of the team has changed from mostly mainline Protestant beginnings to a mix of faith traditions. Current members include social scientists and practical theologians.
In 2005 the team initiated the Engaged Scholar program which provides postdoctoral fellowships for younger scholars and researchers of congregations in North America. The program includes an annual conference for fellows and team members and an active mentoring component.
The team’s work has been supported by the Lilly Endowment and other foundations.