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Congregational Snapshots: Understanding and Engaging Congregations through Cell Phone Photographs

This is the first post in a  series by the Congregational Studies Visual Methods Fellow, Roman R. Williams, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Work at Calvin College. He is an expert in visual research...
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Fundraising Training in Seminary: Practical Realities

Boston University School of Theology (which, for full disclosure, is a sponsor of this site) has recently instituted finance courses for seminary students. As the article from BU Today explains: Starting this fall, the course, STEWARD—short for...
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Eyeing the Budget: Content Analysis of Priorities

When you’re having a problem within your congregation, you should 1) figure out a research question, 2) then determine the best way to examine the question using a variety of research tools, and 3) examine the data from a variety of...
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Levels of Concern: Problems Facing Denominations

An eternal problem with denominations is that the broader denomination must be funded somehow, generally through payment from local congregations. And depending on the size of the denominational organization, those costs can be high. A recent...
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Faith-Based Property Development: Using Your Resources

Urban congregations across the country are dealing with aging buildings and declining rates of attendance, while the property values surrounding the congregation grow. Churches across New York City are leveraging their space and air rights to...
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Congregational Conflict: Listening to the Conflict

Conflict is a natural part of human interaction — there will be differences in opinion and perception in every day life. However, examining how your congregation deals with conflict can provide needed insights into the life of the...
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Maintaining Boundaries: The Process of Enforcing Expectations

New members to any group need to learn the unspoken rules and norms of the community. A newcomer may lack the history and understanding of “the way things are done here,” and may make embarrassing mistakes and missteps within the...
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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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How to Read Social Science Papers

Maybe you’ve found a great quantitative social science journal article that seems interesting, but the structure and language is perhaps difficult or overwhelming. Below are some general strategies and commonly used vocabulary that should...
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