When theology calls for more : how Evangelical churches address the needs of urban communities
Author(s)Risdon, Mee Heh, 1976-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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This thesis adds to the richness of literature on faith-based organizations by focusing on a narrow subset of them - Evangelical Christian congregations in the United States. Using three Evangelical churches in the Boston area as case studies, the thesis examines how Evangelical Christian churches' theological beliefs and values impact their decisions on programming, personnel, place, political activism, partnerships, place, and people as they pursue community development activities to serve their local community. The findings from these cases will enable community-based organizations, government agencies, and funding agencies to identify opportunities for partnerships or collaborative efforts, the strengths and weaknesses of Evangelical churches with regards to service provision, and ways in which they can encourage Evangelical churches to increase their level of activity in communities. After carefully examining the experiences of three evangelical churches in the Boston area, the thesis concludes that evangelical churches have a lot to offer their local communities and that there are opportunities for CBOs, government agencies, and other non-profits to partner with Evangelical churches to address needs in their communities. Evangelical churches are deeply interested in providing for the needs of people in their community and they are flexible about the types of services they offer and who they serve. In addition, Evangelical churches are not afraid of investing a significant amount of their resources to provide a much-needed service in the community. However, they do have firm boundaries and principles based on their theological beliefs, which are not negotiable. Consequently, organizations that seek to partner or collaborate in some way with evangelical churches to address the needs in their communities must respect those boundaries and principles. The most feasible types of partnerships between Evangelical churches and non-Evangelical organizations are one that focus on educating congregations' about the community's needs, providing congregations concrete ideas for services, providing funding, as well many forms of informal support.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2003.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 116-118).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.