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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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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...
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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...
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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...
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