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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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Congregational Websites: An Issue of Size

Kelsey Dallas from the Deseret News wrote an article outlining the relationship between congregational size and the presence of a website. Using data from the National Congregations Study, she shows that smaller congregations often struggle with the cost of creation and...
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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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Eyeing the Budget: Content Analysis of Priorities

When you’re having a problem within your congregation, you should 1) figure out a research question, 2) then determine the best way to examine the question using a variety of research tools, and 3) examine the data from a variety of perspectives or frames. We talk a lot...
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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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Faith-Based Property Development: Using Your Resources

Urban congregations across the country are dealing with aging buildings and declining rates of attendance, while the property values surrounding the congregation grow. Churches across New York City are leveraging their space and air rights to unused property to developers. This...
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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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Examining a Jewish Enclave: Ecology and Resources

Michelle Boorstein at The Washington Post wrote an article about a small Jewish community in Western Maryland. Cumberland Maryland had been a Jewish enclave in the Appalachian Mountains, with four synagogues and many Jewish-owned stores and businesses. But now the Jewish...
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Congregations’ role in Community Support: A View on Ferguson, MO

During times of struggle, congregations often ask themselves “what can we do to help?” The first step is to understand the congregation’s resources. Is your building able to be used as a first-aid station or a place to get water and use the restroom? Is there...
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