Topbar search

Theologians in the Field

Over the last couple of decades, the field of practical theology has increasingly drawn on methods from the social sciences.  Most especially, people seeking to understand the theological wisdom of a community have practiced ethnographic methods for gathering information and...
Read More →

From the Archives: “Taking Time: Understanding Ministry as a Long-Term Process”

The Huffington Post recently published an article about Shobi’s Table. The article discusses a number of aspects of the new Food Truck ministry in St. Paul, Minnesota. It highlights some aspects of Lutheran theology, the changing views of the ELCA denomination, focusing...
Read More →

The Songs We Sing

An important part of the culture of every congregation is the music they experience together.  Whether it is the pipe-organ-accompanied hymns sung in a grand gothic cathedral or the a capella singing of a ”non-instrumental” Church of Christ or the chant of a cantor at Yom Kippur...
Read More →

From the Archives: “Building Your Community: The Process of Assimilation”

One important aspect of your congregation is recognizing the boundaries of who is included versus those who aren’t. A key way to understand the way the community is built is by examining the processes of assimilation — how are people brought into the community?...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

From Evaluation to Engagement

Figuring out whether or not a program works poses an interesting challenge. It’s something that leaders often want to do, but the impact of our work is often in the everyday lives of people, and it would be impractical to follow people around all day. In one recent program...
Read More →

Social Engagement and the London Megachurch

The Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK has funded a three-year study of London’s megachurches and their social engagement activities, to be complete at the end of 2016. Using the definition of a megachurch developed at Hartford Seminary Institute for Religion Research...
Read More →

Lent & Ramadan under the Same Roof

“Calling ISIS ‘Muslim’ is like going to KFC, sitting down to eat a bucket of chicken, and calling yourself a ‘vegetarian’.” This protest against the way Islam is portrayed in Western media was but one of the insights I gained while conducting congregational studies in a church...
Read More →

Questioning Common Knowledge: Using Research to Strategize

Rachel Held Evans wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post this week about millennials and the church. She argues that millennials don’t really want auditoriums, big screens, contemporary music, and big marketing campaigns. Millennials actually want an authentic worship...
Read More →

Refocus the Conversation: About “Attracting Families”

Is your congregation attempting to reach out to “young families?” Jan Edmiston works at the Presbytery of Chicago and has a personal blog at at achurchforstarvingartists.wordpress.org. Below is part of a recent post on the topic: Almost every church I’ve ever known...
Read More →
12