Date of Award
University or Center
Interdenominational Theology Center (ITC)
Stephen C. Rasor
Mission Churches in the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) denomination generally located in rural areas often acts as a change agent for its members, neighbors, and community. The church should experience growth and change as it community experience growth and change. Often this process requires a drive of resurgence for the church. The case study reviewed the literature on concept, strategies and tactics involved in building alliances within the CME denomination. Additionally, current research on networking and collaboration with religious involvement in community activities, and faith base organization was reviewed. Using case study methodology, this study examined a small dying church in rural North Georgia. This church is located in an area that had private sector economic revitalization plans in place but needed a church that could function as a representative to and for its community. It was the only church located in the planned revitalized area. An identity assessment was conducted for the church and denominational requirements and support were negotiated. Additionally, interviews were conducted with a wide range of collaborative organizations representing diverse revitalization agencies. Research questions addressed in this study examined the motivation for church participation in this collaborative effort and the extent to which church and community members felt their organizational needs were met. Major findings of the study revealed that the church sectors examined had differing organizational capacity, performance, and perceptions of social impact. Results also indicated that participants were committed to similar core beliefs and values that allowed elastic strategies for collaboration to evolve. Outcomes indicated participants recognized the multiple dimensions of social organizations. This study concluded that while much has been written about the benefits to small churches for involvement in community revitalization, little has been written about the experience of a small rural church’s processes of development involving denominational, non-profit, public, and private sectors.
Brown, Joyce E., "Revision and implementation of ministries that rejuvenated the life and identity of Trinity Christian Methodist Episcopal Church as a change agent." (2008). ETD Collection for Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center. Paper 319.