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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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Membership Decline: Facing the Real Issue

Christianity Today is highlighting the plight of rural vicars in congregations in England. Churches are declining, and vicars are filling multiple pulpits. The article goes on to explain in detail implications of declining congregations — pastors are pulled thin between...
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Congregational Websites: An Issue of Size

Kelsey Dallas from the Deseret News wrote an article outlining the relationship between congregational size and the presence of a website. Using data from the National Congregations Study, she shows that smaller congregations often struggle with the cost of creation and...
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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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Examining a Jewish Enclave: Ecology and Resources

Michelle Boorstein at The Washington Post wrote an article about a small Jewish community in Western Maryland. Cumberland Maryland had been a Jewish enclave in the Appalachian Mountains, with four synagogues and many Jewish-owned stores and businesses. But now the Jewish...
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New Research in Congregations: National Congregations Study, Wave 3

The results from the latest version of the National Congregations Study are now available. The National Congregations Study (NCS) covers many topics, so their article  limits the discussion of the changing religious landscape on five issues: “more ethnic diversity, more...
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Different Needs: Urban and Suburban Congregations

The Houston Chronicle published a piece outlining the multi-site, First Methodist Church in Houston. One location is in the suburbs, whereas the other location is downtown Houston. The United Methodist Reporter outlines some of the differences between the communities: “It will be...
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New Research: Religion as Social Support

All around us, we face requests for help. Colleagues may ask us for advice, friends may need a listening ear, a social service organization may be raising funds or looking for more volunteers, and an elderly family member may need our care. Social scientists have found that...
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Making a Megachurch: Hebron Baptist Church

Below is an extended quote from A Particular Place: Urban Restructuring and Religious Ecology in a Southern Exurb. The book outlines how two particular congregations grew in an area outside Atlanta. Notice how the author, Dr. Nancy Eiesland, describes the changes in the local...
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