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Scroll down to find talks and workshops for clergy and church leadership, as well as adult education topics for church and groups

Talks and Workshops for Clergy and Church Leadership

Restoring Spiritual Vibrancy to Our Congregations

This class is based on Graham’s best-selling book, Becoming a Blessed Church. It is a talk or class that explores why our churches have atrophied due to loss of spiritual vibrancy, and how to restore vibrancy to functional or dysfunctional churches by leading them to become “blessed churches.”  


What is a blessed church? It is a church uniquely grounded in a relationship with God that allows blessings to flow through it. It is a church with a vibrant sense of faith, hope, and love. It is a church that embraces the sacred and that is not afraid to serve God in its own way. The book, Becoming a Blessed Church, describes how a church that is open to God’s purpose, presence, and power can claim God’s blessing.Becoming a Blessed Church will help you discern God’s purpose and the path God is calling your congregation to walk. This book will help you find Christ in your midst and become aware of the many ways the blessings of God’s Spirit flow through your congregation.

Spiritual Leadership

One of the major problems of the mainline church is that we are presently going through a crisis of leadership.  Most of our seminaries teach theology, polity, history, pastoral care, and even spirituality, but how does all this translate into leading congregations.  How do we lead others to seek and serve God's will together?  How do we discern and articulate Christ's vision for our congregations?  How doe we move people in God’s direction?  How do we overcome resistance to our ministries?  For churches to be healthy, they need leaders who are healthy spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and relationally.  


    This class combines insights from Christian spirituality, theology, and the modern leadership movement, and explores how we can become healthier, more mature and effective church leaders.  It explores what it means to lead in a post-modern age:  


  • How to reach out to different generations.  

  • What it takes personally to balance our lives so that we can lead others to a healthy balance. 

  • How to bring prayer, discernment, and faith together in leading a church to grow in grace.  


Includes insights from Graham’s book, Humble Leadership

Other Classes

Over the years Dr. Standish has taught a number of courses and classes that delve into areas often not explored as much both in the church and by clergy. These classes include: 

  • Understanding Group Dynamics for Pastors and Churches.

  • Pastoral Spirituality.

  • Dealing with Personality Disorders in the Church

  • Reaching the Spiritual but not Religious

  • Reinventing Worship

  • Others that bring together topics of leadership, spirituality, psychology, and organizational dynamics

Classes and Talks for Adult Ed and Congregations

Mystical Spirituality

This class introduces Christians to their mystical heritage.  As part of my doctoral studies in spirituality, I discovered the writings of Christian mystics throughout Christian history.  I believe that every major reform movement in the Christian Church has been started by a mystic who recognized that the dominant church had moved away from its spiritual roots, and had created a religious and theology system that worshipped the structure of the church, or the beliefs of the church, while forgetting God.  Like the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the church focused on rituals and rules, rather than on becoming open to God through them.  I believe that Christ came to lead people back to a relationship with God.  


    The Christian mystics always recognized what Christ recognized:  the church has lost its way by cherishing beliefs and practices about God more than they cherish a relationship with God.  Christian mystics, equally men and women, have emerged in every denomination.  They were people such as the Desert Fathers and Mothers, Gregory of Nyssa, Origen, Augustine, Benedict, Dorotheos of Gaza, Guigo II, Francis of Assisi, Patrick of Ireland, Meister Eckhart, Catherine of Genoa, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ignatius Loyola, John Wesley, George Fox, Hannah Whitall Smith, Evelyn Underhill, C. S. Lewis, Thomas Kelly, Thomas Merton,  Henri Nouwen, and so many more that are emerging today.  


    This class, workshop, or talk introduces people to the foundational insights of Christian mysticism, concepts such as faith, humility, surrender, living in the present moment, seeking divine union, prayer, discernment, and much more.   

Forming Healthy Relationships

Why do so many people have unhealthy relationships?  There are more and more self-help books, self-help television programs, and relational resources available in our culture than ever before, but so many people live in persistent dysfunction.  Based on his experience and training as a marital, family, individual, and addiction therapist, as well as his work as a spiritual director, Graham teaches how striving for balance actually enhances marital, familial, friendship, and congregational relationships.  Not balance as in striving to keep everything on an even keel, but striking a relational balance between emotionality and rationality, setting boundaries, dominance and deference, dependency and independence, cynicism and optimism

Other Classes

Over 29 years as a pastor, Dr. Standish has taught a number of courses and classes that delve into areas often not explored in his unique way. These classes include: 

  • Understanding the Enneagram

  • The Mystic's Gospel: The Gospel of John

  • Listening to God: Discernment and Prayer

  • Learning to Pray in a Busy Life

  • Learning to Forgive

  • Understanding Christian Healing

  • What Do We Know about Heaven? 

  • Loving God, Loving Others, Loving Self

  • Old Testament vs. New Testament God ~ How We Now Understand God

  • The Sermon on the Mount

  • Other classes can be discussed and adapted to your situation

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