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Creative Callings at Boston University (and Beyond)

A new collaborative project at BU School of Theology is bringing together teams of innovative leaders who are seeking new ways to live faithfully in their own unique contexts. Participants in ’Creative Callings’ are designing creative hub learning events, assembling resources,...
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Theologians in the Field

Over the last couple of decades, the field of practical theology has increasingly drawn on methods from the social sciences.  Most especially, people seeking to understand the theological wisdom of a community have practiced ethnographic methods for gathering information and...
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The Songs We Sing

An important part of the culture of every congregation is the music they experience together.  Whether it is the pipe-organ-accompanied hymns sung in a grand gothic cathedral or the a capella singing of a ”non-instrumental” Church of Christ or the chant of a cantor at Yom Kippur...
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Working Together in Spite of Differences?

Understanding a congregation’s context is complicated these days – but never more important. The communities where congregations reside are a complex mix of changing demographics, shifting economies – and politics. Understanding ourselves and our neighbors is a critical first...
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Why Belong?

Why belong? That’s what lots of people are asking themselves these days.  And it’s what people interested in the wellbeing of religious communities should be asking, as well.  Why do people find this place compelling?  What makes it worth investing time and energy? As Easter and...
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From the Archives: “Why are young adults leaving their churches?”

Question:  Why are all the young adults leaving the churches that their families have been part of for generations?  If we change our worship style to be more like the churches they are now attending, will they come back? There are lots of issues behind this question, and many of...
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Before the Disaster Strikes

As disasters strike – all too often, it seems – we often see churches, synagogues and mosques in the news. They may be shelters or food distribution centers or coordinators of volunteers or places to comfort and grieve. As the most ubiquitous form of voluntary organization in the...
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Taking the Measure of American Congregations

The most recent report from the National Congregations Study  was released in December, 2015, and it allows interested students of congregational life to learn a great deal about what is typical and what is not.  Begun in 1998, this is the third wave of the survey, so it not only...
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Affiliation Matters

The latest Pew Religious Landscape Survey is full of interesting insights into changes occurring in American religion. As I look at these survey results, here are a few of the things I’ve noted. On most measures of religiosity (prayer, attendance, belief, etc.), those who are in...
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How Are We Doing?

One of the reasons people get interested in learning more about a congregation is often that they want to know how they are doing. Are we healthy? Are we happy? Are we growing? And are we fulfilling our mission? Ah – now there’s a reason to take stock! That, of course, assumes...
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