Showing posts with tag: Congregations

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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31 OCTOBER 2018

Why Americans Need Congregations

We can’t survive without community, though Americans often think otherwise. As Robert Bellah has observed, American individualism—that image of the lone individual seeking self-gratification—powerfully shapes how we experience ourselves. Individualism lies at the very core of American culture. . . . We believe in the dignity, indeed the sacredness, of the individual. Anything that would […]

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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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26 OCTOBER 2017

Lighthouse Church: A Place of Belonging for Inmates

Northern Lighthouse Church did not set out to start a prison ministry. It happened when Sam and Karen Keyzer moved their family to Lincoln, Nebraska in 1997 to plant a new church. With seventeen years pastoral experience in the Christian Reformed Church, Sam had been trained in church planting and understood its methods. Yet despite this, […]

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30 AUGUST 2017

Do Congregations Set Up Barriers To Entry?

Do congregations unwittingly set up “Keep Out” signs to entry? A simple fact: a majority of congregations in the U.S. do not look demographically like their neighborhoods. Sadly, in terms of makeup and self-identity, who they are and how they identify themselves, most congregations do not reflect the neighborhood where they are located. It’s not […]

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Congregations can overcome political dysfunction through civic engagement
18 JANUARY 2017

Can Congregations Address Political Polarization?

  Sad to say, American society has become a place of increasing deadlock and dysfunction. At the same time, American religious life, centered in its congregations, can offer a unique model for overcoming dysfunction.  Conversations take place there—in worship, in small group study, in team meetings. What if we practiced healthy, respectful conversation? Would the […]

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13 NOVEMBER 2016

Twinning: Pairing Up High and Low Income Congregations

Many congregations struggle with how to help persons who struggle financially (often by providing food, clothing, cash assistance) without falling into cold, impersonal patterns of relating. Can we be neighbors? The problem is that we have learned to imitate the bureaucratized social agency: Wait here; fill out this form; answer a few questions for me. […]

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Video: From “Helping” to Building Relationships

In this video, Kevin Frank explains why it’s important for congregations to move beyond direct assistance, such as feeding, clothing and building homes for low-income persons, to building relationships with the people we serve and working together to strengthen the common good.  Frank is the Executive Director of the Brady Faith Center in Syracuse, NY.

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