This is what they say about themselves. We quote the whole thing because if you are going to join only one group, we think it might be this one. The books they offer are insightful and remarkably useful for the working pastor. Their institutes are great places for real continuing education and renewal.
“If you want to move the world, move a congregation. The Alban Institute was founded in 1974 as a major resource for American congregations facing the challenges of a changing society. While today’s challenges are even more pressing than they were three decades ago, the opportunities have never been clearer for congregations to be vital communities of faith, health, and leadership. Alban stands at the forefront of knowledge and experience regarding congregational vitality and positive trends across denominations and faith traditions. Our work is helping shape the strong congregations of tomorrow.
Alban has set out to be a place where we gather many perspectives, respect ideas, and learn from one another. Creating that space in American religious life is also the task of congregations. And it requires leadership. At Alban, we seek to develop strong congregational leaders who have the creativity, the endurance, and the joy to do the work needed to fulfill their congregations particular callings. Each year, Alban touches hundreds of thousands of lives around the world—through our publishing, education, consulting, research, membership, online activities, and ventures, such as the Indianapolis Center for Congregations and the Congregational Resource Guide. Our influence reaches deeply into the congregations of this country and the world. Alban truly makes a difference in congregational life. Our work is supported by contributions and sales of programs, services, and publications. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Alban Institute relies on generous contributions from individuals and foundations to realize our mission.”
This is what they say about themselves.
“The Christian Century is a progressive, ecumenical magazine based in Chicago. Committed to thinking critically and living faithfully, the Century explores what it means to believe and live out the Christian faith in our time.
Founded in 1884 as the Christian Oracle, the magazine took its current name at the turn of the 20th century. Notable contributors in the early decades included Jane Addams and Reinhold Niebuhr. In 1963, the Century was the first major periodical to publish the full text of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail."The Century continues to inform and shape mainline Christianity. Along with the magazine's biweekly print and online editions, the editors maintain a group blog and host a network of outside bloggers.”
This is a way to keep what with what is going on in the larger mainline Christian community particularly the ELCA ecumenical partners. They also have useful reflections on the lectionary for the two weeks following publication. Published by-weekly.
From their website…
Church Innovations is a non-profit organization devoted to renewing the Church’s focus on God’s mission in the world. Rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and wholly committed to following God’s leading for every congregation, we provide research and consulting tools, products and processes that increase your church’s capacities to experience God’s renewal and transformation.
Our work crosses denominational and geographical lines and is grounded in two decades of research. Over the years we have worked with more than 1,000 congregations, 75 national and mid-governing bodies, and two dozen denominations in seven countries and across all 50 United States.
This is a subscription website and magazine for preachers. In the past it presented sermons that could be preached almost verbatim. In recent years it has presented various approaches to one of the passages of the lectionary for each Sunday with notions for sermon starters. One great value in the website is the archive of previous approaches to any given text. They are pitched for a general audience. They offer a good number of illuminating illustrations for the text and starters for children’s sermons or conversations with children. If you are stuck, this may be a place to start.