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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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Changing Roles of Congregational Leaders: Management Skills

David Gibson at the Religion News Service describes the changing roles of Catholic priests in the parish. He outlines the role priests must take in a parish’s finances, human resources, facilities, and security. He writes, Once upon a time, the parish staff usually...
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Congregational Profile: LifeGARDEN

LifeGARDEN, a mission of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove, MN, is a labor of love of member and Associate in Ministry – Director of Worship, Alice Woodard. She explains, I first started thinking about the possibility of a community garden while attending a...
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PBS Special: Endangered Churches as Resources for the Community

PBS recently posted a Religion & Ethics Newsweekly report on closing churches in Philadelphia. Below are selected quotes from the transcript: SAUL GONZALEZ, correspondent: Philadelphia is a city rich in landmarks, from independence hall, to the Ben Franklin Parkway, to its...
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