Showing posts with tag: Community Ministry

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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11 OCTOBER 2018

Six Ways to Engage the Community

Congregations can play a role in building stronger communities. Here are six options, drawn from the National Congregations Study (NCS), a nationwide survey conducted every ten years since 1998. The NCS provides data on congregation’s activities, including engagement in the community. The researchers developed six broad categories of community engagement for this survey. Congregations can […]

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7 JULY 2017

A Case Study in Apathy

Faced with the choice of serving a local community filled with human need, some churches, like Bartleby the Scrivener, say, “I would prefer not to.” Bartleby, the lowly office worker in Herman Melville’s short story, engages in passive resistance when faced with an unwelcome assignment, for inscrutable reasons. Most non-service-oriented congregations prove equally inscrutable. John […]

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1 JULY 2017

Under the Radar: When Outreach Goes Unreported

In the average congregation, a majority of the community service activities done by its members flies under the radar. It may seem strange, yet church leaders consistently underestimate how much work the congregation is doing. Serving meals in the soup kitchen, giving away warm clothes, or participating in advocacy groups—why would most of these efforts […]

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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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