RS701 – Congregational Growth and Development

Instructor: Rabbi Richard Nichol, Rabbi Stuart Dauermann
Dates: October 27, December 29, 2019
Location: Orbund (

All Messianic Jewish rabbis should serve within the context of a faith community. This course exposes the future rabbi to practical strategies for developing healthy and maturing Messianic Jewish synagogues, havurot, and independent minyanim. Foundational issues such as solid governmental structure, legal compliance, and financial accountability are covered. Other subtle but vitally important skills imparted are how to deal with difficult people, how to handle disappointments, and how to inspire others. All of these can make communal
leadership a lifelong joy for the rabbi, his or her family, and the congregation.

Required for MJTI’s Rabbinic Studies program. This course has a mentoring component and is therefore limited to Rabbinic Studies students, or with special permission of the instructors.

Messianic Jewish congregations are living, breathing incarnations of two great truths: the Messiahship of Yeshua and the importance of Jewish covenantal life. However, for these twin pillars of truth to permeate the soul of the Jewish world, to be inculcated within the lives of Jewish people, and to have the impact they deserve, our Messianic Jewish synagogues and havurot must grow and prosper. Therefore, the purpose of this course is to facilitate the numerical, relational, and financial growth of Messianic Jewish congregations and havurot, helping them to honor our tradition and our Messiah in the power of the Divine Presence.


Computer and adequate internet access.

Weekly video lectures, discussion, analysis and post-class feedback and reinforcement.

• Pre-class assignment, a 1,000-word essay of your experience with havurot or congregations. Detailed
below under Assignments
• Preparation for and participation in eight two-hour instructional classes via Zoom;
• Timely completion of homework assignments;
• Final Project, incorporating factors covered in our discussions and readings, students will submit a
ten-page proposal for planting a Messianic Jewish havurah OR congregation.

REQUIRED TEXTS (Be aware that not all these books are required to be purchased. The books with a double asterisk are required. You must choose two of the remaining books for book reports. See Pre-Class assignment under Course Outline.)

• Banks, Robert J. Paul’s Idea of Community: The Early House Churches in Their Cultural Setting (Revised Edition). Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1994.
• **Browning, David. Hybrid Church: The Fusion of Intimacy and Impact. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010.
• **Comiskey, Joel. The Spirit-filled Small Group: Leading Your Group to Experience the Spiritual Gifts. Lima, OH: CCS, 2009.
• Kaunfer, Eli. Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us About Building Vibrant Jewish Communities. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, 2010.
• **Nichol, Richard. The Unique Place of Gentiles in Messianic Jewish Life.
• Schwartz, Sidney. Finding A Spiritual Home: How a New Generation of Jews Can Transform the American Synagogue. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2003.
• **Steinke, Peter L. Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014.
• Wolfson, Ron. The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform Your Congregation into a Sacred Community. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2006.

Not yet an MJTI Student? 

Apply Today

Get started with our hassle-free application process.


Scholarships are available for students.


Accepted students may register for all classes currently offered.

Academic Forms

Access MJTI Catalog and All Forms.

Pin It on Pinterest