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From the Archives: “Building Your Community: The Process of Assimilation”

One important aspect of your congregation is recognizing the boundaries of who is included versus those who aren’t. A key way to understand the way the community is built is by examining the processes of assimilation — how are people...
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From the Archives: “Different Needs: Urban and Suburban Congregations”

The Houston Chronicle published a piece outlining the multi-site, First Methodist Church in Houston. One location is in the suburbs, whereas the other location is downtown Houston. The United Methodist Reporter outlines some of the differences...
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When Congregations Share Their Properties – 5 Principles for Good Decisions

Feature Photo Information: Muslim women perform Ramadan prayers at Heartsong Church, suburban Memphis. Heartsong Church: Source: https://www.npr.org/2011/08/21/139831309/a-ramadan-story-of-two-faiths-bound-in-friendship. Photo by Nikki...
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From the Archives: “6 Ways to Keep Congregational Conflicts Constructive”

Question: We are watching congregations all around us be torn apart by conflicts. How can we prevent this from happening to our church and stay out of conflict? It sounds like you are concerned that if your church has a conflict, it necessarily...
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From the Archives: “A View of Your Neighborhood: A Walking Tour”

One of the best ways to get a feel for the community around your congregation is to walk the streets. Now that it’s getting warmer, I took a walk around my neighborhood in Somerville MA, and here’s some of the things I found: There...
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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...
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From the Archives: “Using Ritual to Assist in Change”

An article from the York, Pennsylvania Dispatch outlined how two churches used ceremony and ritual to merge. Trinity and Fourth United Methodist churches were set to merge, but instead of a more traditional merging ceremony, the planners opted...
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From the Archives: “Implicit Assumptions and Expectations: Spell Them Out”

Many religious leaders struggle with fitting into new congregations. Congregants may have implicit assumptions and expectations of the new leader — whether it’s what day the leader takes off, to how frequently he visits those who are...
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From the Archives: “4 Ways to Reconsider Your Congregation”

We talk a lot on studyingcongregations.org about Frames for Studying Congregations. We use the word “frame” to mean ways to organize thoughts around the topic of studying congregation — you could also think of it as a lens or...
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