Vestry Training Suggestions from the Resource Center

Carol Campbell, the librarian for our Resource Center, put together this great list of information to assist new vestry or bishop's committee members. It is also useful for anyone interested in improving their leadership skills and abilities. All items are available at your Resource Center


Baird, John E. Conducting Church Meetings. Abingdon 1991. -  A guidebook for use in conjunction with Robert’s Rules of Order, 11th edition. 

Bass, Richard (editor) Leadership in Congregations.  Alban 2006.  - Reflection on what it means to be a leader in a congregation, how perceptions of leadership are changing, and exciting new directions for leadership in the future. 

Branson, Mark Lau. Memories, Hopes, and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry and Congregational Change.  Alban 2004. - A process any congregation can utilize to harness the energies of the congregation at all levels.  Readers are led through the foundations of Appreciative Inquiry. 

Cawley, Janet R., Who is Our Church? Imagining Congregational Identity. Alban 2006. - It is about congregational identity and is good background material for a vestry to help them think outside the box and from an Appreciative Inquiry perspective.  It includes some good questions that help get at honest answers.

Cornerstone. Guia de Rescursos Para la Junta Parroquial: Siervos Illamados a ser Lideres. 2015. - The Vestry Resource Guide. (Spanish) A guide for vestry members which includes: ministry of the vestry, what being on a vestry means, conflict, stewardship, vestry prayers. 

Daniels, Antoinette (Toni) The Vestry Resource Guide.  Episcopal Church Foundation 2015. - A guide for vestry members which includes: ministry of the vestry, what being on a vestry means, conflict, stewardship, vestry prayers. 

Ehrich, Thomas L. Church Wellness: A Best Practices Guide to Nurturing Healthy Congregations. Church Pub. 2008. - All churches are faced with similar challenges: membership development, leadership development, communications strategy, spiritual development, young adult ministry, listening to parishioner needs, and measuring progress. The author provides a guide for clergy and lay leaders in a way that is clear and usable.

Ferebee, Randolph C. Cultivating the Missional Church: New Soil for Growing Vestries and Leaders. Morehouse, 2012. - Written from a post-Christendom/emergent worldview, this book was born of a singular question asked in hundreds of ways: "What do we do to be faithful in this changed and changing reality?" Whether shaped by anxiety, a foretaste of coming changes, excitement, or energy at the prospects of witness and service the future holds, the question remains the same and the answers elusive.

Geoffrion, Timothy C. The Spirit-Led Leader: Nine Leadership Practices and Soul Principles. Alban 2005. - Good resources to assist parishes improve leadership roles. Useful in a small group. 

Kunz, Richard. God's Grace and Robert's Rules: A Theological Primer for Vestry Members. Forward Movement, 2015. While Robert's Rules and other practical guides for meetings and administration are valuable, God's grace is what transforms vestry members from church managers to pilgrims on a faith journey. Available on Kindle only. 

Lemler, James. Transforming Vestries, Church Publishing, 2019. - "Drawing on the resources of five other volumes in the series, "Transforming Vestries" creates a single source designed specifically for this governing body. The chapters will highlight the nature - and the needs - of vestry membership: stewardship, leadership, evangelism, discipleship, and vital congregational life"

Markham, Ian. Community Rules: An Episcopal Manual. Church Publishing, 2019. - Practical guide to church community life. Community Rules seeks to distill the basics of "good church" into a set of memorable rules. Working with 3 sections, the authors draw on their years of combined experience in academic and church administration to identify the basic Christian principles that underpin Episcopal community and then apply them to actions and relationships. The goal is to provide a text that can serve as a guide for any and all members of a parish, most especially those who serve on vestries or as volunteers.

Martin, Kevin E.  5 Keys for Church Leaders: Building a Strong, Vibrant, and Growing Church.  Church Pub. 2007. - First key: build the team. Second key: pay attention to generations. Third key: tend the two doors. Fourth key: keep the system healthy. Fifth key: raise the stewardship level.          

McMahon, Colleen, Meditations for Vestry Members. Morehouse Pub. 1999. - Can be used to open meetings.

Michell, Neal O. Beyond Business as Usual: Vestry Leadership Development.  Church Pub. 2016. - Full of resources for forming the vestry as a learning community. It deals with the "soft" side of leadership that enables the pastor and vestry together to journey along the leadership path. Each chapter can be read and reviewed at a series of vestry meetings or as part of a vestry retreat, and includes questions for group and individual discussion. The book also contains resources for vestries, based upon different preferred learning styles, for the formation part of the vestry meeting or retreat. 

Michell, Neal O. How to Hit the Ground Running: A Quick-Start Guide to Congregational Development. Church Pub. 2008. - The quick-start program described in this book is designed for the new rector or pastor who wants to "hit the ground running." It is also designed for principal lay leaders who will be instrumental in the transition to new leadership. 

Pappas, Anthony.  Entering the World of the Small Church: For Those Who Want to Serve Faithfully in a Small Church Community.  Alban 2002. A useful guide for church sessions, governing councils, and clergy. 

Standish, N. Graham, Humble Leadership: Being Radically Open to God's Guidance and Grace. Alban 2007. Useful for new vestry members.

Steinke, Peter L. Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What. Alban 2006. Ideas for a healthier, more effective church leadership. 

Watkins, Jane. Appreciative Inquiry: Change at the Speed of Imagination. Jossey 2001. The future of organization development. It is a practical guide to appreciative inquiry for organization leaders and organization development professionals and it is a comprehensive explanation at the speed of imagination. 

Webber, Christopher. Vestry Handbook, Morehouse 2011. (Includes Large Print) The most complete one-volume vestry manual available. Explores leadership roles and organizational structure, managing parish finances, buildings and grounds, insurance, relationship with clergy, parish staff, the diocese, and the national Church, IRS considerations, meetings and elections.

Wheatley, Margaret Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World. Berrett-Koehler 2006. Wheatley makes complex ideas simple, and then shows how those simple ideas can be used as powerful tools.


Carol Campbell, librarian
Episcopal Resource Center
Diocese of El Camino Real
Diocese of California
231 S. Sunset Avenue
Sunnyvale CA 94086
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