Topbar search

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

Beyond the “People”: The Stories Congregational Buildings Tell by Nancy Ammerman

Two stories this week have me thinking about that old children’s finger play – “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the doors and see all the people.”  Congregations certainly are “the people.”  But most are also the building and all the “stuff” they accumulate. Lots of...
Read More →

Congregational Profile: LifeGARDEN

LifeGARDEN, a mission of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove, MN, is a labor of love of member and Associate in Ministry – Director of Worship, Alice Woodard. She explains, I first started thinking about the possibility of a community garden while attending a...
Read More →

PBS Special: Endangered Churches as Resources for the Community

PBS recently posted a Religion & Ethics Newsweekly report on closing churches in Philadelphia. Below are selected quotes from the transcript: SAUL GONZALEZ, correspondent: Philadelphia is a city rich in landmarks, from independence hall, to the Ben Franklin Parkway, to its...
Read More →

The Particular Roles of Interim Pastors

The Billings Gazette featured an article discussing interim pastors and the particular roles they play. The article begins: Billings pastors Tom Hall, Joel Westby and Aline Russell enjoy getting together once a month to chat. None of the three recent acquaintances will be in town...
Read More →

Commitment to the Congregation: Measurement Best Practices

How do you study how committed people are to your religious group? Do you look to attendance? Financial giving? Volunteering? Serving on committees or teams? One way to better understand this issue is to bring together a focus group from your congregation. Use a list like the one...
Read More →

Lower Denominational Control: Effects of Changing Church Forms

Mark Chaves’ 2011 book, American Religion: Contemporary Trends, outlines a number of ways in which denominations have less and less control over individual congregations: 1 in 5 religious congregations in the United States are now unaffiliated (Chaves 2011). Moreover, 1 in...
Read More →

How to Kill a Church

Zachary Bailes at ABPNews Blog outlines a story of Noah Vale, a minister who, after a careful study of a declining congregation, developed a tongue-in-cheek checklist of how to kill a church. He writes, Assume that people are looking for a church based purely on location. Don’t...
Read More →
12