theology + institutions

For the last three decades, STW has been exploring the intersection of faith and organizational life, an effort that has come to be known as the theology of institutions project. This effort has produced a growing body of writing with contributions both from within and outside of STW.

Greenleaf's Call for a Theology of Institutions
Recently discovered footage of an interview with Robert Greenleaf in which he calls for a theology of institutions.

The following essays and papers on a theology of institutions are available to be downloaded as pdf documents.

Ministry To and Through Institutions: Equipping Loving Critics

This essay introduces the role of "loving critics" as essential to the work of offering organizations both support and accountability. Originally published in the mid-1980s in Centering, the piece sounds notes that later emerge as central to thinking about a theology of institutions.

Richard Broholm

Toward a Theology of Institutions
This essay, published by the Greenleaf Center as part of its Voices for Servant-Leadership series, explores Robert Greenleaf’s call for a theology of institutions, and his conviction about the important role that religious congregations and seminaries might play in holding organizations and those who lead them in trust around their exercise of power. David Specht with Dick Broholm

Thinkpiece #1: Questions and Issues Surrounding A Theology of Institutions
Dick Broholm

Thinkpiece #2: Assumptions Underlying the Work on A Theology of Institutions
Dick Broholm and David Specht

Haunted by the Holy: Reflecting Theologically on Organizational Life
The first in a series of theological reflections on organizational life, shaped by conversations with organizational leaders. Mick Comstock

Speaking of God: Functional Theism in Organizational Life
The second in a series of theological reflections on the organizational life. Mick Comstock

Speaking of God Loving
The third in a series of theological reflection on organizational life. This installment invites the reader to explore the theological meanings that might be contained in the provocative assertion that God loves organizations. Mick Comstock

Truing Our Lives: Exploring the Intersection of Organizational Stories and Bible Stories

The fourth in a series of theological reflections on organizational life, this one exploring of permitting organizational stories and biblical stories to read one another. Mick Comstock and David Specht

Theology of Institutions Seminar: June, 2009 eBook
In the Spring of 2009, Seeing Things Whole, The John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought and the Center for Faith and Learning at Augsburg College called for academics in the fields of philosophy, theology and management to participate in a seminar with the goal of developing a growing body of thought and writing on the topic of a theology of institutions. These papers they presented offer a basis for reflecting from the perspective of religious faith and spiritual tradition on the nature and purpose of institutions and offer perspective for those who would serve as regenerative agents operating both within and outside of organizations.

The resulting original papers have been gathered along with their responses into an easy-to-navigate eBook.

Seeing Things Whole: A Sermon on Work and Love

This sermon was delivered by Seeing Things Whole Board member Tom Henry. In it, Tom explores the relationship between STW, the Church and the work and life of his company, Landry's Bicycles.


Trustees of the Universe

In this essay STW founder Dick Broholm reflects on Jitsuo Morikawa's prophetically inclusive vision of ministry and its shaping influence on our understanding of the relationship of faith to daily life and work and particularly on our theological understanding of institutions.


Virtuous Competency

This piece by STW Board member Robert Wahlstedt explores the Cardinal Virtues as a framework for thinking about a particular kind of competency in organizational life.




Robert Greenleaf Calls for a Theology of Institutions
Original footage of Robert Greenleaf introducing the notion of a theology of institutions.


featured resources

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A Sermon on Seeing Things Whole