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Writings about Church Growth and Decline

Church growth and decline research and reflections are the focus of this collection of scholarly articles, housed on the website of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. This extensive resource... read more >

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Evolving Visions of the Orthodox Priesthood

The majority of American Orthodox priests oppose the idea of parishioners electing clergy and bishops, encourage obedience to established rules in the church, and do not tolerate differences of opinion... read more >

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Hearing the Call: Vocational Reflection Gets Renewed Attention

Nevell Owens remembers when he first felt called to pursue a doctorate in theology. He was working as a criminal prosecutor when he looked into the eyes of a 13-year-old boy accused of murder. He saw that they were empty, and he wanted to know: Where was God in the life of this boy?

“I knew the boy’s mother was active in church,” Owens says. “I wanted to know, why isn’t the minister here? Why aren’t members of the church here?”

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What Clergy Do All Week

What do pastors spend their time on? Insights into Relition Lilly Foundation Grants

Many church members might think the life of the pastor is spent preparing for that one-hour Sunday worship. A survey of Roman Catholic and Protestant pastors shows they do a lot more.

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A Reflection on the State of Pastoral Leadership

When Jackson Carroll began “Pulpit & Pew,” his large research project on pastoral leadership, he considered pastors a “troubled profession,” and braced himself for what his investigation might reveal. But five years of study, including a major national telephone survey and 23 focus groups across the country, convinced Carroll his gloomy forecast didn’t stand up.

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The Changing Nature of Worship

A church in Illinois streams video of a sermon from the home church miles away and displays it on a large screen.  A church in California offers half a dozen “video cafes,” each featuring different types of worship music to correspond to the different tastes of its participants. These are just a few of the changes taking place as U.S. congregations grapple with new technologies and contemporary idioms in worship.

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Transition into Ministry program helps new ministers flourish

Moving from seminary to first assignment at a congregation is always a challenge for a new pastor, but it’s even more so today. Helping young graduates become confident and effective is the goal of the Transition into Ministry program.

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Beyond the worship wars; creative ideas for renewing church services

In moving traditional churches to embrace new forms of worship, experts say start small and be sure to communicate.

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Sabbaticals help clergy reconnect, recharge

The 24/7 nature of ministry can lead to burnout. Thanks to the Clergy Renewal Program at Christian Theological Seminary, ministers are finding the time and money to recharge their spiritual batteries.

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Christian education programs vital to congregational health

Some churches are seeing a consumer mentality when it comes to religious education. The trend highlights the importance of preparing Christian educators for the future.

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Serving its Community Transformed a Dwindling Church

"Trinity’s building is surrounded by the bleaker symbols of urban life, including graffiti-covered billboards, a...

Caring for Creation

"Whether it is Wendell Berry, Michael Polan, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Pope Francis, Prince Charles, Mondragon or...

Looking for Online Resources?

The Congregational Resource Guide (CRG) is an online tool designed to help leaders of all congregations find the right...

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