USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

Thriving Congregations

Our Goal

The USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture’s efforts to support Thriving Congregations seek to help faith leaders reimagine their ministries in a time of declining religious affiliation and increasing political polarization.

Why it matters

Fewer Americans are affiliated with religions or involved in congregational life than ever before. Christian churches are no different in this regard; attendance and membership are both declining, and many see churches as either irrelevant to their lives and to social issues or as pawns of larger political interests.

Yet, faith leaders continue to be called to care for others in times of great need. Congregations must provide members with spiritual fulfillment, social and emotional support, community, and practical help through crises. We seek to support faith leaders in figuring out how best to meet the needs of their communities, while also caring for their own personal needs.

What is the program?

Through Thriving Leaders, Thriving Congregations (2024-2027), CRCC will work with the Long Beach Church Collective to provide 100 pastors from Southern California with support for their spiritual, emotional and professional lives, along with leadership and congregational development training. 

CRCC previously hosted the “Reimagine (Again)” conference in 2022 and facilitated the “Reimagining Church” cohort program in 2023. During the pandemic, CRCC hosted a series of online conversations on Thriving Congregations in 2020 and 2021.

Who can participate?

The cohort experiences are for Christian pastors in Southern California. We seek to include leaders representing Southern California’s diversity of denominations, race and ethnicities, genders and locations.

Online and public programming are open to leaders from all faiths as well as those who are outside of Southern California or who cannot participate in the in-person aspects of the program.

How do I learn more?

Sign up for CRCC’s newsletter to stay informed about future programming.

To check out resources developed from past programs, scroll down.

The Reimagining Church initiative is supported by a generous grant from The Lilly Endowment.

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