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Implicit Assumptions and Expectations: Spell Them Out

Many religious leaders struggle with fitting into new congregations. Congregants may have implicit assumptions and expectations of the new leader — whether it’s what day the leader takes off, to how frequently he visits those who are homebound, to preaching or...
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The Introduction of Newcomers

The people who make up a congregation changes regularly — new babies are born, individuals and families move in and out of the community, and members die. Membership in religious organizations in the United States is a voluntary activity, and one that is the matter of...
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Rituals as an Indicator of Congregational Culture

One important way to examine your religious community’s culture is through its rituals. Rituals say something about who we are and what we hold dear, pointing to deeper meanings. In religious communities, these religious rituals outline how a deity is worshiped. Examine how...
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Building Strong Church Communities: A Sociological Perspective

At their deepest level, human beings are social creatures, in the image, Christians would say, of the Trinity itself.  But the individualistic bent of modern American society has led writers to focus more on the spiritual needs and growth of individuals than on the needs and...
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Whitebread Protestants – Social Food to Create Community

Chapter 2 of Whitebread Protestants: Food and Religion in American Culture by Daniel Sack focuses on food as a central mode of community organizing within America’s churches. He argues that “Americans go to church for more than teaching and prayer. They go looking for...
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