The Parish Paper began in 1971, pioneered by Dr. Lyle E. Schaller, often called America’s foremost church consultant, and the author of more than fifty books on church leadership during the last four decades, many of which were published by Abingdon Press, Nashville. During the 1990s, research by The Alban Institute identified The Parish Paper as the best-known publication of its type among leaders of American Protestant denominations.
Throughout those decades The Parish Paper has had clergy, lay, and middle-judicatory subscribers in more than twenty-eight denominations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It has never been connected with a single denomination or publishing company or theological viewpoint. Thus, it is ecumenical in the broadest sense of that term. Due to their large memberships, the greatest numbers of Parish Paper readers are in seven denominations: Episcopal, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian, United Methodist, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), American Baptist, and Lutheran (ELCA). Twenty-one other denominations, due to their smaller numbers of members across the United States, have smaller numbers of Parish Paper readers.
The Parish Paper relies on information derived from sociological research and on-site congregational consulting. The goal is to assist clergy and lay leaders in their efforts to equip and lead congregations toward greater effectiveness.
For The Parish Paper issues that Herb Miller authors—and the thirty-four Church Effectiveness Nuggets Volumes (see www.TheParishPaper.com)—the sources include (a) review of the literature in each topic addressed, with appropriate citations; (b) his observations derived from on-site consultations in more than seven hundred congregations in twenty-eight denominations across the United States; (c) conversations with pastors during the hundreds of workshops he has conducted across the United States for regional denominational structures; (d) thousands of E-mail, Postal, FAX, and telephone conversations with pastors who told him what worked and what did not work in their congregations. During the last three decades, Miller has written sixteen books on church leadership, published by Abingdon Press, Nashville; Chalice Press, St. Louis; and Discipleship Resources, Nashville.
Dr. Cynthia Woolever, a researcher and author who served for several years as Professor of Sociology of Religious Organizations at Hartford Institute of Religion Research, Hartford Seminary, Hartford, CT, writes many of The Parish Paper issues. Those issues are usually a report on and practical suggestions from recently published research. Cynthia Woolever has authored four books and dozens of articles, published in various denominational and professional journals. She is the lead researcher for the well-known U.S. Congregational Life Survey, sponsored by the Lilly Endowment Foundation.
We occasionally invite guest authors, who are pastors or denominational leaders, to write an issue based on their expertise.