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CFCM Research Projects

Bridging the Gap between Church and Community

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Clergy Sexual Misconduct with Adults

This project was designed to identify the socio-cultural and institutional factors that allow Clergy Sexual Misconduct (CSM) to occur, with the goal of developing strategies for lowering the incidence of CSM, using public (not just religious leader) education. It has four components:

  • a national survey
  • a literature review
  • a study of prevention strategies using key informant interviews
  • a communication strategy

We gathered data with the goal of learning the structural and institutional factors that allow CSM to occur. Our hope is that these factors help congregations and communities learn to prevent CSM. We interviewed people directly involved with CSM-the offended and their families, the offenders, and professionals who respond to CSM. We wanted to understand the processes of how CSM initially develops, suggesting ways it can be prevented. We believe that understanding the processes of CSM is essential before public understanding of this situation will shift the language and perception from "affair" to "abuse of power."

Faith and Service Technical Education Network (FASTEN)

In April 2002, the CFCM received a grant of more than $2 million for its part in a larger $6 million initiative from The Pew Charitable Trusts. Through the Faith and Service Technical Education Network (FASTEN), the School of Social Work, engaged in a study of how urban congregations and faith-based organizations (FBOs) are making a difference in the lives of families and communities facing poverty.

Dr. Diana Garland served as project director; Dr. Gaynor Yancey, Dr. Rob Rogers, and Dr. Jon Singletary served as associate directors. The project also involves partners in other settings: Dr. Ellen Netting and Dr. Mary Katherine O'Connor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Dr. Ray Engle and Dr. Hide Yamatani at University of Pittsburgh, and Dr. John Orr at University of Southern California.

The research team demonstrated ways in which congregations and FBOs collaborate with other organizations and funders, including government. The project served to help smaller congregations and organizations put evaluation tools in place to document the difference they are making in people's lives.

Service and Faith: The Impact on Christian Faith and Congregational Life of Organized Community Caring

The Service and Faith Grant, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., was a three-year $702,000 grant to the CFCM. Much recent research has focused on congregations as a community resource and how professionals who seek to address community needs can relate more effectively to congregations. This research took the opposite tack-how does community service impact the faith of congregation members? What patterns of organized community caring deepen and mature the faith of congregational volunteers and what depletes their resources for caring? The project was carried out by six research partners representing the faculties of four universities in four regions of the country: Baylor University (Texas/Southwest), University of South Carolina (South Carolina/South), Calvin College (Michigan/Upper Midwest), and Whittier College (California/West). The project director was Diana Garland, with Dennis Myers, associate project director, Associate Dean of the graduate program in the Baylor School of Social Work. Research partners included Paula Sheridan (Whittier College), Beryl Hugen (Calvin College), Terry Wolfer (University of South Carolina), and David Sherwood (George Fox University).

City Core Initiative (CCI)

City Core Initiative (CCI) is a BGCT Church Missions and Evangelism Section project designed to refocus the church to the core of the city for community transformation. In its initial research phase, the City Core Initiative has one immediate goal. It is to create gospel-centered strategies that will aid local churches in achieving holistic community transformation. In its later stages, CCI aims to help Texas Baptist congregations to implement these strategies in order to see community transformation come about in their own communities. At this time, CCI aims to build a knowledge base to help local churches to:

  • Understand the major issues of the city core
  • Discover what programs, resources, and "best practices" already exist
  • Identify and build upon existing community resources and assets
  • Identify areas of community need

Working with partner churches and organizations, CCI seeks to launch new missional strategies for reaching the economic, ethnic, and culturally diverse mission field of America's urban communities. CCI will initially focus on four Texas cities: Abilene, Dallas, San Antonio, and Tyler.

Congregational Resources

In partnership with Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Baylor University's Center for Family and Community Ministries received a $664,661 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. in January 2001. The funding was used to launch two initiatives: a book series on family ministry and a series of resource guides surveying the literature on various facets of family ministry. "This is an exciting opportunity to strengthen the ministry of congregations with families by providing them with resources grounded in the developing research on families and faith," said Dr. Diana Garland. Dr. Garland and Dr. Bradley Wigger, director of the Center for Congregations and Family Ministries at LPTS, are among the book writers for this series. Titles include After Ecstasy, the Laundry: Spiritual Practice and Family Life by Wendy Wright, God at Home: Learning in Families and Congregations, by Wigger, and Sacred Stories of Ordinary Families: Living the Faith in Daily Life, by Garland. The resource guides published in Family Ministry: Empowering Through Faith survey and review the resources on key issues for family ministries such as caregiving, marriage, sickness and dying as family experiences, parenting, and others.

Family Partnership Program

The Family Partnership Program is a model of church-community partnership that utilizes professional social workers for case management. This model was developed and evaluated by the Center for Family and Community Ministries in the Baylor University School of Social Work. This powerpoint presentation provides more information about the program design, its effectiveness, and lessons learned.