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Best Resources for Clergy

In an effort to understand the contemporary social, financial, congregational and personal dynamics that condition clergy lives and ministry, a number of study projects have generated extensive information about clergy and church leadership. These projects created excellent resources to support pastoral leadership, clergy and their work. The Portal contains reference to a number of key research projects relating to church leadership.

The State of Ministry Today

The Hartford Institute for Religion Research conducts a wide range of research into the religious life, including explorations of the changes occurring among clergy. Of particular interest for clergy are the links on the site’s Clergy Leadership Resources page.

Pulpit & Pew was a three-year study to determine the objective and subjective state of clergy. Begun in 2001, the project generated considerable data about clergy supply, pay, ministry practices and more. To explore this groundbreaking research, access the Publications page.

Resources for American Christianity is an archive site for information and reflection about selected Lilly Endowment projects. It contains information on funded projects and resulting books, as well as archived articles and papers. The most accessible point of entry is the drop-down Search by Topics menu.

Congregational Leadership & Administration

Faith & Leadership is the online magazine of the Leadership Education program at Duke Divinity School. Its purpose is to strengthen the practice of Christian leadership through interviews, theological reflection, in-depth articles, selective reading lists and blog posts. Church leaders engaged in revitalization efforts will find the concept of Traditioned Innovation to be a valuable method of introducing change.

Faith Communities Today (often called FACT) is a dissemination tool of a research consortium of more than 25 faith traditions, and religion scholars and researchers. FACT provides free downloadable reports based on its national surveys, free downloadable monographs on select topics, a monthly e-newsletter, online courses and quarterly webinars.

The Hartford Institute for Religion Research:  For a site description see under The State of Ministry Today, above. Explore the material under the Leadership Resources tab on the home page.

Center for Congregations offers hands-on consultation, resources and educational events to strengthen Indiana congregations. Its extensive range of print resources is available through the Resource Database; see especially Center Publications and Resource Guides.

The National Congregations Study project was a two-wave survey of key informants at randomly selected worship communities. The resulting information on a wide range of characteristics and activities of congregations has been distilled into an extensive body of articles and books, as well as an online database of survey responses. Explore the Selected Study Writings.

Resources for American Christianity: See the site description under The State of Ministry Today, above. Explore the subtopics under the Church Leadership topic.

The U.S. Congregational Life Survey is the largest and most representative profile of worshippers ever conducted in America. Unique survey results reveal a view of congregational life from the perspective of those who worship. Of particular value are the Resources page, the opportunity to participate in the survey, the profile of congregational leaders and the blog, which provides ongoing insight into the results of the study.

Worship & Preaching

Calvin Institute of Christian Worship promotes the study and renewal of Christian worship by providing an extensive and continually expanding selection of Web-based resources and links to publications. Material ranges from short how-to articles to scholarly papers, and covers the gamut of worship-related topics. In addition, the institute offers educational events, training events and Worship Renewal Grants to help congregations revitalize their worship practices. This site is well worth exploring for tips, helps and guides on worship, preaching and innovation.

National Congregations Study project: See the site description under Leadership & Administration, above. Explore the Selected Study Writings.

Resources for American Christianity: See the site description under The State of Ministry Today, above. Explore the subtopics under the Worship tab.

The African American Lectionary provides worship helps that emphasize the African American ecclesial tradition, celebrate the liturgical moments that express the experience of being African American and Christian, and highlight moments of religious significance shared across many African American ecclesial traditions.

Managing Change

Faith & Leadership: See the site description under Leadership & Administration, above. In particular, change leaders will find the concept of Traditioned Innovation helpful.

Resources for American Christianity: See the site description under The State of Ministry Today, above. Explore the subtopics under the Church Leadership topic.

Faith Formation in the Congregation

National Study of Youth and Religion examines the shape and influence of religion and spirituality in the lives of American youth. Begun in 2001, the project offers a wealth of insight into the religious programs and opportunities that effectively connect with youth and produce long-lasting benefits.

Practicing Our Faith highlights resources developed by the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith. The site functions as a stand-alone proponent of 12 time-honored Christian practices that form a way of life that promotes faithfulness and spiritual integrity. The site also complements the book Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People, which is suitable for an adult study.

Way to Live addresses the spiritual formation of teens by exploring 18 practices that shape life with God. The website is meant to supplement the book Way to Live; both are products of the Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith. Used together, the book and website constitute a great youth study program.

Resources for American Christianity: See the site description under The State of Ministry Today, above. Explore the subtopics under the Faith Development topic.

Reaching out to Your Community & the World

Hartford Institute for Religion Research: See the site description under The State of Ministry Today, above. Explore the articles and research links under Church Growth in the Leadership Resources tab.

National Congregations Study project: See the site description under Leadership & Administration, above.  Explore the Selected Study Writings.

Resources for American Christianity: See the site description under The State of Ministry Today, above. Explore the subtopics under the Outreach and Public Life topics.

Interfaith Cooperation

Faith Communities Today: See the site description under Leadership & Administration, above. Of particular value is the free, downloadable report “Interfaith Facts: Meet your neighbor.”

Resources for American Christianity: See the site description under The State of Ministry Today, above. Explore the subtopics under the Public Life, Racial/Ethnic Communions, and Religious Organizations topics.

Religious Education & Continuing Education

The American Theological Library Association is an association of theological libraries and librarians that offers online access to more than 140 major religion and theology journals. Graduates of participating seminaries and schools of theology may obtain an access key through their schools. To determine if your school participates, click here.

The Association of Religion Data Archives offers resources, data and online tools for congregational planning, local community profiles and more general information on American and international religion.  The Congregational Resources Center offers a helpful introduction to many of these resources.

The Association of Theological Schools is the accrediting agency for more than 250 graduate schools offering professional and academic degrees in the practice of ministry and in teaching and research in the theological disciplines. Use the site to research prospective schools by accessing profiles of students, student perceptions of their educational experience, peer rankings and each school’s accrediting status.

Resources for American Christianity: See the site description under The State of Ministry Today, above. Explore the subtopics under the Theological Education topic.

The Forum for Theological Exploration supports the next generation of pastors and religion educators and scholars by funding fellowships for gifted young leaders, by supporting education and faith communities that establish mentoring programs for talented young clergy in their first pastorates, and by helping finance church-based programs to encourage promising young adults to explore ministry vocations. Explore the website to learn more about the programs, eligibility guidelines, deadlines and past awards.

Sabbaticals and Grant Programs

The Louisville Institute oversees several grant programs that support thoughtful, reflective pastors through opportunities for sabbatical renewal and creative research. Explore the site to learn more about the grant programs, eligibility requirements, application procedures and past awards.

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