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Congregations and Community Involvement: The Impact of Friendships and Congregational Size

Contributor Jennifer McClure shares her recent published research examining the intersection of network connections, congregational size, and community involvement.  A few years ago, I wondered how a congregation’s organizational context shapes whether attenders are involved in...
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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 and a liquor store. It’s the week before Thanksgiving. Inside the Baptist church,...
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Catholicism in the Castro: Parish Life in Context

The National Catholic Reporter published a five-part series on San Francisco’s Most Holy Redeemer Church, focusing on its open and inclusive relationship with the community. Up to eighty percent of its population is LGBT. Most Holy Redeemer draws broadly from across the San...
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How to Ask Good Questions

An important part of any study is having a clear research question. The language of “research question” may seem intimidating for a little investigation about your congregation, but to be able to figure out what is going on in your community, you need to be precise...
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Death in Declining Congregations: A Case Study

More and more congregations within the United States are declining, and with that decline come church closures. In my dissertation research, I examined two small congregations. Fellowship United Methodist Church (which is a pseudonym, along with all other names used in this post)...
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How Does a Pastor Work: A New Podcast from Slate

Check out the new podcast from Slate, called “Working.” One of their first podcasts interviewed Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Washington D.C. They ask the question: How does a pastor work? The podcast includes tidbits such as how the...
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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 Stewardship Thinking, Economic...
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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 brought into the community?...
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Taking Time: Understanding Ministry as a Long-Term Process

The Huffington Post recently published an article about Shobi’s Table. The article discusses a number of aspects of the new Food Truck ministry in St. Paul, Minnesota. It highlights some aspects of Lutheran theology, the changing views of the ELCA denomination, focusing...
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The Reality Behind “Spiritual But Not Religious”

Question: I hear a lot about people being “spiritual, but not religious.” What does that mean? “I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious” is a common refrain in contemporary conversations.  Many people seem eager to claim a connection with...
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