Topbar search

Gathering People Slide
Slider-01Bottom
Slider-02Bottom
Toolbox-Slider

Featured Article

What to do about the building

A recent article in The Atlantic proclaimed ”an epidemic of empty churches.” And the very same week the Washington Post asked, ”Does a religious community need its own building to flourish?” Both authors pointed to the reality that buildings are often a problem, and finding the right solution will require congregations and their leaders to do a careful assessment of their resources — but also of their place in the community and their own culture and theology. Some congregations are wondering if rented space or ”pop up” space or a corner table at the pub might not better suit today’s needs. In their infancy, congregations have long sought out spaces that are otherwise empty on Sunday. I remember worshipping in a National Guard...
Read More →

More From the Blog

Who is Your Neighbor? Who Decides?

Immigration has become one of the most difficult issues facing people throughout Europe and...
Read More →

Finding Resources in Unexpected Places

Mike Mather has spent most of his adult life pastoring churches in neighborhoods most people...
Read More →

From the Archives: “Faith and Political Engagement: Latina/o Protestants At the Intersection”

From the outside, Allen Temple Ministerios Hispanos (ATMH) is unimposing. Located deep in...
Read More →

Creative Callings at Boston University (and Beyond)

A new collaborative project at BU School of Theology is bringing together teams of innovative...
Read More →

From the Toolkit: Stepping Back to Watch and Listen

The Studying Congregations Toolkit gives you the tools you need to better understand a congregation. These PDF downloads were created especially for seminarians and religious leaders. Often deepening our understanding of our congregational spaces and communities is as simple as learning to open our eyes to the hidden dynamics and realities at play on the ground. Find out more here!
Find a Tool

Existing Research

Many researchers have made important contributions towards our understanding of congregations. We can help you know what they know.
Read More

The Toolkit

Want to better understand your congregation? Our free PDF downloads feature the tools you'll need. Educators take note: They're perfect for use in seminary classrooms!
Read More

Buy the Handbook

Prefer paper? Love a good throwback in time? Want more examples and exercises for understanding your congregation? Buy Studying Congregations: A New Handbook.
Buy it now!

About Us

StudyingCongregations.org is the premier resource for understanding religious congregations in the United States. A collaborative project of leading scholars in the fields of sociology of religion, history, and practical theology, the strategies, resources and tools you will discover on this site have been designed specifically for theological educators, future religious leaders, and anyone else who wants to go beyond the received wisdom to discover what is happening in religious gatherings today.

This resource is offered to you as a gift of the Congregational Studies Team, an informal research group that has led the way in researching US congregations. Their work is generously funded by The Lilly Endowment.

Ask An Expert!

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...
Read More →

Featured Research

Finding Resources in Unexpected Places

Mike Mather has spent most of his adult life pastoring churches in neighborhoods most people would call ”deprived.”  Not Mike.  When he greets someone at the food pantry or on the street, he’s...
Read More →

From the Archives: “Faith and Political Engagement: Latina/o Protestants At the Intersection”

From the outside, Allen Temple Ministerios Hispanos (ATMH) is unimposing. Located deep in poverty-stricken East Oakland California, ATMH’s neighbors include two fellow protestant churches, a bar...
Read More →

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...
Read More →