USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

2021 Reimagining Church: Thriving Congregations Conversations Series

2021 Reimagining Church: Thriving Congregations Conversations Series

Conversation 1: Election Dissection

Election Dissection: Understanding Faith and Politics in the 2020 Presidential Election
Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The November 2020 US Presidential election marked the end of the Trump presidency. The election also revealed new shifts in the way that Americans vote and self-identify in electoral politics. What does exit polling data reveal about our understanding of faith and politics in the US today? How do these developments manifest themselves on the local communities and congregations?

Join the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture’s Critical Conversation series as Program Manager of the Cecil Murray Center for Civic Engagement, Pastor Najuma Smith Pollard moderates a conversation with experts focused on understanding exit polling data from the November 2020 presidential election. This conversation will be focused on nuancing our understanding of how communities of faith voted in the 2020 Presidential election highlighting exit polling data on Muslim-Americans, Latinx communities, the Evangelical vote, Asian-Americans along with discussions of how the “nones” are voting.

Conversation 2: The Realities of Good Intentions

The Realities of Good Intentions
Wednesday, March 10, 2021

In our work at CRCC, we often interact with faith leaders who have wonderful plans for publicly engaged ministries and outreach programs. Indeed, our definition of a thriving congregation includes the twin ideas that they provide both a context for the development of the personal and spiritual lives of their members and that they are outward-facing, seeking to serve the needs of their communities. But is working in the community as simple as coming up with an idea and a few volunteers? What must churches consider when developing an external-facing ministry or program? What are the opportunities and potential pitfalls? How can you build on your good intentions in a way that makes both your church and your community stronger?

Conversation 3: Technology, Innovation, and Thriving Congregations: Changing our Mindset

Technology, Innovation, and Thriving Congregations: Changing our Mindset
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 

The COVID pandemic has highlighted the contingent nature of the ability of the local congregation to survive, let alone thrive. As limitations on meeting in person have been instituted, most congregations have developed some form of an online weekly gathering (whether Sunday services or something else) as a substitute for their traditional (in-person) worship services. But what effect does this introduction of technology have on the life and culture of the local church? What changes in how we think about church and gathering together need to be made so as to take into account the new realities, and to maintain, and even increase the sense of community and belonging that all thriving congregations have?

The Reimagining Church Initiative is supported by a grant from The Lilly Endowment