Topbar search

Using Ritual to Assist in Change

An article from the York, Pennsylvania Dispatch outlined how two churches used ceremony and ritual to merge. Trinity and Fourth United Methodist churches were set to merge, but instead of a more traditional merging ceremony, the planners opted to bring in a particular ritual...
Read More →

Vision in Ministry: Developing a Vision Statement

Vision statements are organized statements outlining an organization’s vision for itself. Many organizations (both secular and religious) prominently display vision statements, so many congregations feel they must too. Developing these vision statements can become empty...
Read More →

The Particular Roles of Interim Pastors

The Billings Gazette featured an article discussing interim pastors and the particular roles they play. The article begins: Billings pastors Tom Hall, Joel Westby and Aline Russell enjoy getting together once a month to chat. None of the three recent acquaintances will be in town...
Read More →

Why are young adults leaving their churches?

Question:  Why are all the young adults leaving the churches that their families have been part of for generations?  If we change our worship style to be more like the churches they are now attending, will they come back? There are lots of issues behind this question, and many of...
Read More →

Understanding Your Community’s Culture

How do you best understand your community’s culture? When thinking about culture, people often think about social or racial heritage. People within the community will speak the same language, with the same accent. The people in your community likely have the same levels of...
Read More →

The Spirit’s Tether: Family, Work and Religion among American Catholics

My recent book The Spirit’s Tether: Family, Work and Religion among American Catholics, was the product of a comparative ethnographic project which began with the simple question:  Why are contemporary conflicts about the family—such as abortion, women’s social roles, same-sex...
Read More →

What do we know about congregational size?

Question: What do we know about congregational size? In the United States, most congregations are smaller than 100 people, but most people attend congregations that are large. This points to the fact that many people attend “megachurches,” or churches larger than...
Read More →

Space Tour: Queen of Heaven Parish

Pilar spoke to us in a rapid clip as she gave us a parish campus tour at Queen of Heaven parish in Southern California (all names here are pseudonyms).  As graduate assistant Liz Castro and I walked with her alongside the parish school, we learned that her children had attended...
Read More →

Mission Orientation: Case Study

The Minneapolis Star Tribune posted an article about the 50th anniversary of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church moving to a new church building. Using this article as a case study of the Mission Orientation post from Wednesday, we can uncover much about this church’s...
Read More →

How is your congregation oriented to the community?: Mission Orientation

There are four basic ways of relating the congregation to its community, according to a study of congregations in Hartford, Connecticut (Roozen, McKinney and Carroll, 1994).  These orientations align closely with theology, but vary slightly. These orientations stem from...
Read More →