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Membership Decline: Facing the Real Issue

Christianity Today is highlighting the plight of rural vicars in congregations in England. Churches are declining, and vicars are filling multiple pulpits. The article goes on to explain in detail implications of declining congregations — pastors are pulled thin between...
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A New Statue to Symbolize a Common Culture

Merging congregations involves combining each groups sets of congregational identities, histories, narratives, and symbols. A recent article from The Greenfield Massachusetts Recorder examines one way a recently-merged Catholic congregation attempted to create a shared identity....
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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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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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Fundraising Training in Seminary: Practical Realities

Boston University School of Theology (which, for full disclosure, is a sponsor of this site) has recently instituted finance courses for seminary students. As the article from BU Today explains: Starting this fall, the course, STEWARD—short for Stewardship Thinking, Economic...
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Levels of Concern: Problems Facing Denominations

An eternal problem with denominations is that the broader denomination must be funded somehow, generally through payment from local congregations. And depending on the size of the denominational organization, those costs can be high. A recent Letter to the Editor in the Des...
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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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Ordaining Women: Results from the National Congregations Study

The Huffington Post published an article about the role of women in clergy roles in the United States, looking at data from the most recent wave of the National Congregations Survey. One of the most interesting parts is interactive graphic timeline examining when women were first...
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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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