Changing Church in order to Change the World: A study of worshipping congregations practicing deep solidarity

“… to orient themselves toward social justice concerns and how they are able (or unable) to create measurable social change in their communities. ”

Team Members/Contributors

Melissa D Browning McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University Contact Me

About this project grant for researchers

This qualitative research project seeks to explore how Christian congregations can create measurable social change in their communities of interaction. In a time when churches and people of faith are being called upon to respond to injustices like mass incarceration, police violence, or chronic poverty and inequality, more tools and models are needed to help congregations move from inaction to action. Through conducting research with worshipping congregations who fully welcome those who are often marginalized by church and society, generative themes and models will emerge that help the church in North America better understand the dynamics of faith-based social change. The project will pay close attention to the ways in which solidarity functions between those with certain privileges and those without, as well as the sometimes changing relation between margin and center. Attention will be given to particular systems of oppression such as racism, ethnocentrism, sexism, economic inequality, and homophobia and how these intersectional forces can shape and form congregations or how congregations can work against these structural forces to create change. The project will also examine the power of storytelling by asking how stories have helped congregations engage a social justice issue or provided an invitation for a previously unmotivated actor/community to engage a social justice concern.