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Creative Callings at Boston University (and Beyond)

A new collaborative project at BU School of Theology is bringing together teams of innovative leaders who are seeking new ways to live faithfully in their own unique contexts. Participants in ’Creative Callings’ are designing creative hub learning events, assembling resources,...
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Working Together in Spite of Differences?

Understanding a congregation’s context is complicated these days – but never more important. The communities where congregations reside are a complex mix of changing demographics, shifting economies – and politics. Understanding ourselves and our neighbors is a critical first...
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From the Archives: “4 Ways to Reconsider Your Congregation”

We talk a lot on studyingcongregations.org about Frames for Studying Congregations. We use the word “frame” to mean ways to organize thoughts around the topic of studying congregation — you could also think of it as a lens or an orienting strategy. You might be...
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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...
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“When a Shared Parking Lot Isn’t Just About Parking” by Paul D. Numrich

|| Written by Paul D. Numrich, Methodist Theological School in Ohio and Trinity Lutheran Seminary || What happens when a Catholic church provides overflow parking to a Hindu temple? Is it primarily an exchange of resources? Or is something more going on? In our book on immigrant...
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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...
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Walking with Cameras

A variation of the walking tour is a great way to explore a congregation’s context: walking with cameras. These days most people have access to photographic equipment in the form of a mobile phone, digital camera, or disposable camera. Whatever technology one employs, one should...
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Pop-Up Shabbat: A Dinner Community Case Study

Pop-Up Shabbat  is a pop-up restaurant inspired by Jewish culture and tradition in Brooklyn, NY. Each gathering lasts 3-4 hours and includes “slightly socially engineered mingling, family-style dining, music (yes, sometimes dancing), and a bit of Shabbat tradition.” Numbers are...
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Pay What You Want: An Examination of Dues

The New York Times posted an article about the changing sources of income for some synagogues. Rather than requiring membership dues based on family size, age, or income, some synagogues are now asking people to voluntarily pledge money to the congregation. How congregations...
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The Building as an Asset: Thinking Differently about Congregational Programs

The Christian Century recently posted an article about thinking about a congregation’s building as an asset. From the article: What we’ve discovered—and it has been a learning curve for us, as well as for the congregations we’ve served—is that buildings and grounds can be...
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