Pastors operate in highly complex social systems, and even with formal authority may not feel empowered to lead change. The key to building their sense of agency is to build trust among stakeholders and cultivate habits of care.
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Earlier this year, Alfred Street Baptist Church encouraged people to participate in a churchwide fast called "Seek 2019." Image courtesy of Alfred Street Baptist Church
More than 4,000 members of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, committed to a new spiritual discipline earlier this year.
On HBCU Sunday, adult members of Alfred Street Baptist Church show up wearing school colors or paraphernalia representing their Greek affiliations. Photos and video courtesy of Alfred Street Baptist Church
With a spirit of 'irrational generosity,' a church helps pay the debts of Howard University seniors and sustain a historic connection to HBCUs
Alfred Street Baptist Church has a long history of supporting college students and historically black colleges and universities. So when a churchwide fast in January yielded $150,000, they knew where to invest it: in future leaders.
Faith and community leaders join hands during a workshop on community organizing practices hosted by Wake Organizing in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photo from Wake Organizing Facebook page
Small churches struggle to attract and keep congregants, but the issue is not a lack of programs or a younger generation’s disinterest in faith. The problem is that people are exhausted by our economy, writes a pastor.
A crane stretches above a building under construction in Atlanta. The author, who lives in the Atlanta area, writes that advocating for affordable housing is part of his call to the community. iStock/stevecoleimages
Housing is a profound and even holy good, rooted in deeper notions of home, says a Presbyterian minister. Christians are called to re-create communities where people of every income level and race can make our homes together.
The Rev. Thomas Daniel introduces newly baptized Hallie Manuel to a packed congregation at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Photos by Brian Diggs
In an era of dying congregations, a counternarrative is playing out in Austin, where churches are being squeezed by the region’s population explosion.
Small churches learn to evaluate their growth by impact rather than attendance.
Motivational hip-hop artist and painter Jerrold “Just Flo” Anderson in front of a mural he painted for the Whole Foods in Englewood. Photo by Jason Schumer/South Side Weekly
The opening of a Whole Foods in the Englewood neighborhood was the culmination of a congregation’s multilayered efforts to respond to community needs. Top among them: Fresh, healthy food.
Lighting candles, drinking wine and eating challah bread are home-based practices for the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. Many American Jews, especially millennials, are rejecting institutional religion and instead are seeking guidance in practicing Jewish traditions. Bigstock / Photo by Ungvar
The decline in religiosity among American Jews should prompt a reappraisal of how religious leaders are trained and deployed in Jewish institutions, say an academic and a practitioner.
Leading a congregation into the future requires understanding its story -- and helping it envision what new chapters might come next.