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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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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?...
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No One Should Have To Do This Alone!

The UCC blog, carducc.wordpress.com, posted a blog entry from Gail Cafferata, a researcher examining issues of closing congregations. She examines the role of emotional support on pastors closing congregations. I asked a pastor about her experience serving a church that had...
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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...
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Why young Chinese Americans don’t go to church

Question: Why don’t young Chinese Americans go to church? Lying at the intersection of America’s most nonreligious ethnic group and America’s most nonreligious age demographic, young adult Chinese Americans (aged 25-40) are one of the most secular groups in the United...
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Church Search Committees: Look Here!

Marion Aldridge at abpnews examines the issue of conflicting congregational identity in his latest commentary. He writes, Nowadays, I see a lot of confused churches. They don’t know who they are. Confused congregations often call confused pastors. That is a disaster. Or, just as...
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The Reality Behind “Spiritual But Not Religious”

Question: I hear a lot about people being “spiritual, but not religious.” What does that mean? “I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious” is a common refrain in contemporary conversations.  Many people seem eager to claim a connection with...
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Changing the Way “Things are Done”: Process Review

The Process Frame is the frame that helps us consider the way things get done within a local congregation. From the page about the process frame, “by examining the processes of a local congregation, you can examine the ways in which a congregation makes decisions, discusses...
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The Introduction of Newcomers

The people who make up a congregation changes regularly — new babies are born, individuals and families move in and out of the community, and members die. Membership in religious organizations in the United States is a voluntary activity, and one that is the matter of...
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Rituals as an Indicator of Congregational Culture

One important way to examine your religious community’s culture is through its rituals. Rituals say something about who we are and what we hold dear, pointing to deeper meanings. In religious communities, these religious rituals outline how a deity is worshiped. Examine how...
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