20 MARCH 2019

Six Ways Congregations Reach Out

How many options do congregations have for reaching out to the community? The researchers who designed the National Congregations Study (NCS), tried to answer this question.[1] They developed six broad categories of outreach. Looking at their categories helps us grasp the full breadth of what American congregations can do. Congregations can: Provide social services. Start community development […]

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A Safe Place for Conversation

“There are 350,000 congregations in the US,” says Cynthia Woolever, “and that means that in every community, there is at least one, usually more, that are there providing a safe place for people to gather and have important conversations.” Woolever, a sociologist of religion, served as the Director of the US Congregational Life Survey, the […]

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17 JANUARY 2019

Analyze Your Community: See-Judge-Act

Social analysis must serve as a necessary first step for church action in the community. Canon Joseph Cardijn (1882–1967), a Belgian Roman Catholic priest who inspired Catholic social action groups such as the Young Christian Workers, used the phrase “see-judge-act” to provide a framework for action. The first important step was “seeing.” Working with young […]

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12 DECEMBER 2018

Small Congregations Can Make a Difference

Sometimes people ask, “What can we do?  We are a small congregation! Here are two examples of two congregations that leveraged their resources to change the community for the better. St John’s: Building Partnerships “St. John’s United Church of Christ is a ethnic church in Aurora, Illinois, that has about twenty people in worship on […]

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28 NOVEMBER 2018

Seven Steps to Interviewing Someone

Nothing beats a direct one-on-one interview for learning about the community and building relationships. Such interviews offer us a chance to get to know our neighbors in their own settings.  A basic unstructured interview may be the easiest type of interview to perform. Follow these seven steps. Access the setting. How do you “get in to” […]

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