Showing posts with tag: Community Ministry

14 JULY 2017

Don’t Just Serve, Make Friends

Kevin Frank, Director of the Brady Faith Center in Syracuse (NY) told me of the importance of building friendships when I spoke with him about his ministry with a low income neighborhood on the city’s South Side. “Before Pope Francis was pope he was bishop in Argentina. And the people in his cathedral said to […]

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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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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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