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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 will be torn apart. Not all...
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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 homebound, to preaching or...
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From the Archives: “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 congregation. Some congregations suppress...
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From the Archives: “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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Chuck Knows Church: The Committee

Chuck Knows Church, a product of the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship, is launching a new series of web episodes looking at declining and closing congregations called “The Committee.” The pilot came out today, and the first episodes of the committee...
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Female Catholic Priests: Muddied Organizational Waters

The Kansas City Star is reporting that Georgia Walker — a woman — became a Roman Catholic priest last Saturday. The stories of women becoming ordained within the Roman Catholic church circulate every few years. These services take place outside of Catholic churches,...
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A New Statue to Symbolize a Common Culture

Merging congregations involves combining each groups sets of congregational identities, histories, narratives, and symbols. A recent article from The Greenfield Massachusetts Recorder examines one way a recently-merged Catholic congregation attempted to create a shared identity....
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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 Letter to the Editor in the Des...
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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 congregation. Some congregations suppress...
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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 congregation. Perhaps a newcomer asked...
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