Showing posts with tag: Community Ministry

Four Steps For Analyzing Your Community

Carl Dudley, Professor of Church and Society at Hartford Seminary before his death in 2009, was keenly focused on the social context of ministry. In a community ministry handbook, he offers steps in analyzing your community[1]: Step One: Define Your Community Physical Boundaries.  These include major streets, highways, or railroad tracks, or natural boundaries such as […]

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Small Congregations That Make A Difference

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

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How To Expand Your Volunteer Base

Community service projects need volunteers. How to get more of them? The answer might seem obvious: Approach a potential recruit and make the “ask” or Create a list of available volunteer slots, distribute it widely, and wait for people to self-select for a given project. But wait a minute: How do you know that someone […]

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Seven Steps to Starting a Community Project

Whether it’s a community garden, a food program or a street protest— community projects are rarely the result of solo effort.  Typically, social change happens when DIY efforts successfully expand into broader group involvement.  What’s more, projects—the term implies a definite beginning and end—are often less daunting to contemplate than ongoing campaigns or programs.

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Neighborhood Poverty: 4 Key Strategies

You want to alleviate neighborhood poverty, but don’t want to reinvent the wheel.  It turns out there are four action templates—tried-and-true strategies—for how to respond.  Each comes with its pro and con.  This conclusion comes from a study of Mississippi faith communities that sought to respond to the changes in welfare policy in the late […]

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How to Throw a Block Party

  Weather permitting there is nothing more enjoyable than a block party—walking through a crowd on blocked off streets with the aroma of food and the sound of a band playing somewhere.  Have you ever thought about organizing one?  My focus here is the small-scale block party, the kind hosted by a congregation, faith-based organization, […]

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Success Story: Volunteers Bridging the Class Divide

  It looked like a set up for failure:  White, middle class volunteers driving into a low income neighborhood from outside to “help out.”  Beyond simply helping, the group wanted to deepen their connections with their neighbor in the Park community, a low income neighborhood of mostly African-American, Hmong, Vietnamese and Spanish speaking Central Americans.  […]

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Helping Poor Families: A Case Study in Failure

Here’s a program for poor families that failed.  What went wrong?  Adopt-A-Family was a short-lived program started to help African American families hurt by welfare reform in the late 1990s.  The program’s goal was ambitious: white volunteers, moving out of their “comfort zones,” would get deeply involved in the life of an adopted low income […]

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