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On the Horizon: Religious Competition and Creative Innovation

The USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC) has recently embarked on a three-year project that is focused on questions related to whether, and how, competition and various elements of geographic place may lead to creative innovation and religious change within...
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A View of Your Neighborhood: A Walking Tour

One of the best ways to get a feel for the community around your congregation is to walk the streets. Now that it’s getting warmer, I took a walk around my neighborhood in Somerville MA, and here’s some of the things I found: There are shopping areas —
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What the Census Can Tell a Congregation

Using resources like the US Census’ county and neighborhood statistical information can be useful to better understand how your congregation fits into the broader community. Check out our overview on using census data here. After looking at your community’s census...
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Using the Census: A Case Study – Oak Park, IL & Anderson, IN

An important part of any congregational study is understanding the history and ecology of the community. These changes can involve racial or cultural changes to the community, like the example from Oak Park Illinois. Other important changes can be the growth or decline of local...
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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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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...
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One Building, Two Rabbis, Alternating Services

The New Jersey Jewish News reports two interdenominational congregations are sharing one building. The two congregations will hold separate services, alternating Friday night services. They have chosen to blend organizational and administrative styles during worship. Beth Shalom...
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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...
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Difficulties of Diversity – Why So Few Congregations are Racially Integrated

Question: Why are so few congregations racially integrated? Racial diversity in congregations is a popular topic among religious leaders and researchers of religion. Despite a desire for diversity, multiracial congregations are difficult to create and sustain. Less than one in...
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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...
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