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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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Discomfort in the Pews: Working With Multiethnic Congregations

Corey Widmer wrote an interesting piece at Christianity Today about his work within a multiethnic congregation in Richmond, VA. He outlines some of the unique situations he and the other congregational leaders and members encountered in attempting to bridge ethnic divides:...
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The Shared Parish: Latinos, Anglos, and the Future of U.S. Catholicism — A Book Overview

As faith communities in the United States grow increasingly more diverse, many churches are turning to the shared parish, a single church facility shared by distinct cultural groups who retain their own worship and ministries. The fastest growing and most common of these are...
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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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Language, Culture, and Congregations

The Huffington Post posted an article outlining the complications historically Spanish-speaking congregations have in adapting to new English-speaking generations. For many of these second- and third-generation immigrants, their religious lives were tied to their second language,...
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Doubt in the Pulpit: How to Handle Tough Questions

New York City’s Riverside Church has a new pastor, Rev. Amy Butler, is not new to conflict and difficult discussions. From the article from the Washington Post, she is open about her struggles with faith and God, even while she has led a congregation. From the article, A...
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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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