Expert Insights from Congregational Observers

Thinking Together About Mission

As a pastor, not surprisingly, I often view my congregation through a theological lens, and I’ve recently challenged my congregation to join me. In a world that promotes division through competition and having the one correct perspective to a challenge, I’ve invited them to think more deeply about our collective mission as a congregation and…

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Resources You Should Know

There are amazing resources available to people who want to understand – and support –congregational life. Here are a few that are worth checking out. See how these sources intersect with our Frames for Study and how they help you imagine what tools from our Toolkit you might use. Surveying the Landscape If you are…

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What’s Up With the Clergy?

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about the state of health and happiness among the people who lead U.S. congregations. One widely-circulated blog post expounded on the stresses and strains that led one pastor to call it quits – not just from his church, but from the profession itself. The responses to that post…

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Helping or Hindering? The Impact of Congregations’ Networks on Their Vitality and Sustainability

When we think about relationships in congregational life, we often think about relationships between attenders within a congregation. But what about relationships between congregations as organizations? These relationships can involve friendships between ministers, joint events, collaborations, and other partnerships. And different kinds of relationships can have different consequences.   My research has looked at two…

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Listening to Congregations

When we say we are ‘observing’ congregational life, we often think about using our eyes to see what people are doing and using our ears to listen for the words used. But what else can our ears tell us?   That’s a question the American Religious Sounds Project has been asking. Since 2014, scholars from…

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Search Our Archives: Coming Soon!

Since 2012, has published over 200 articles on how and why people of faith gather. And soon you’ll be able to search our complete archives! Explore a wide range of topics such congregational conflict, the Nones (non-affiliation), race & ethnicity, and civic engagement. Learn more about various methods of study including demographics, interviews, and walking the neighborhood. Or focus your curiosity on religious & cultural traditions such as African American congregations, Latinx congregations, Catholic parishes, and more.