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Chuck Knows Church: The Committee

Chuck Knows Church, a product of the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship, is launching a new series of web episodes looking at declining and closing congregations called “The Committee.” The pilot came out today, and the first episodes of the committee...
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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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Pastoral Leadership that Matters: A UCC Study

Leadership matters. More specifically, pastoral leadership matters. In every setting of congregational life, talk of leadership abounds. In the United Church of Christ, the vision plan of the national setting includes the goal of having “a wealth of prepared, excellent...
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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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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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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 Roles of Congregational Leaders: Management Skills

David Gibson at the Religion News Service describes the changing roles of Catholic priests in the parish. He outlines the role priests must take in a parish’s finances, human resources, facilities, and security. He writes, Once upon a time, the parish staff usually...
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Case Study: St. Paul’s Congregation

The Alley News of the Phillips Neighborhood in Minneapolis recently posted an account and explanation of St. Paul Lutheran Church’s “Notes of Growth and Change.” This looks a lot like the basic facts people would want to have about their particular churches for...
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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...
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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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