Susan Nienaber, MDiv., LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist, congregational consultant and mediator, ordained Elder and District Superintendent in the Minnesota Conference of the United Methodist Church.
My experience as a therapist and my understanding of organizational systems dynamics influence how I approach my work as a consultant and District Superintendent. I see my role as a facilitator, rather than an expert. I come as a serious listener with an open mind, not a list of assumptions. As a former Alban senior consultant, I continue to embrace an unwavering dedication to the health, vitality and mission of congregations and of the leaders and institutions that support them. I have a deep respect for the local cultures of faith, theologies and practices that exist in all congregations. I approach my consulting work from a whole-systems perspective and bring a broad base of knowledge and experience with hundreds of different congregations and faith-based organizations.
I understand my role as a consultant to be multifaceted: I can provide information intended to be perspective-shifting (enlarging ways of thinking or helping narrow the focus to gain clarity), make suggestions and recommendations, evaluate processes and procedures as well as organizational structures, analyze systemic factors, review the history of a congregation, facilitate dialogue, mediate, and provide training and education. I do not function as an arbitrator or decision maker in a congregation or denomination (except in my role as District Superintendent).
Regional differences, generational outlooks, and other factors make every congregation distinctive. I believe in harvesting the collective wisdom of the group, cooperating with the Spirit’s leading, and using appreciative methods to help congregations “be the change they want to see.”
Susan Nienaber Consulting LLC provides consulting services for congregations in the US and Canada, as well as individual psychotherapy. She also partners with congregational consultants who specialize in church development and assessment. To find out more about how we can help you, please contact me.