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Community and Church Context

Community and Church Context Chapter 2 “Community and Church Context” surveys the setting of your ministry project, namely, the church or organization you currently serve and the wider community in which it is located. Accordingly, this chapter will have two parts, focusing on each of these contexts. Community Context: Much of the data you will need for a survey of your city, area, and region can be found at local libraries and state universities and through federal, state, and local government websites. Economic development agencies and research universities often conduct extensive regional and local surveys on a wide variety of demographic issues. This section of the chapter will include the following information: Historical background of your region and community, including information on settlement, development, and recent events. Be sure to include the history of the earliest churches in the area, particularly those of your denomination, and influential churches and leaders. Demographic information regarding population trends, education, employment/income, crime, homelessness, leisure activities, healthcare/wellness, mental illness, and alcoholism/drug use, etc. Psychographic information, such as survey data on activities, interests, beliefs/values, and opinions. Information on religious affiliation and participation. Look for research on identification with denominations/traditions as well as attendance. Information on community issues related to your ministry project. You will need to be selective in choosing the regional and community issues that are most relevant for your project. This is an area where it is easy to go off on tangents that are interesting but not directly related to your project. Church Context: This section of the chapter will present a detailed portrait of your church or ministry setting as it relates to your project. A helpful description will include the following information: Historical background, including information on the founding of the church or organization, locations and buildings, key events in the life of the church or organization, and significant leaders. Demographic information regarding membership, attendance, age, gender, racial/ethnic background, etc., as needed. Be sure to note any trends over time. Theological profile, including denominational affiliation, and any significant issues that bear on the project. Leadership philosophy and structure, including clergy and lay staff roles, church officers, and other leadership positions. Information on ministry programs or initiatives, particularly earlier efforts to address the ministry issue addressed by your project. Be sure to include an assessment of why previous efforts are no longer effective. By the end of the chapter a reader should be able to understand the following: The history and current role of religion in your region and/or community Key social and cultural factors that influence your church/ministry The specific community issues your ministry project will address The history and mission of your church or organization Key factors that either prevent or promote the successful implementation of your project Specific needs of your church or organization that your project will address Typically, this chapter is organized as follows:]]>

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