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Heidi Unruh

Heidi Unruh Director, Congregations, Community Outreach and Leadership Development Project


M.A., Eastern Baptist Seminary (Palmer Seminary)
B.A., Wheaton College
Full Curriculum Vita

Selected Publications

  • "Evangelical Strategies to Maintain Connections Between Faith Communities and Their Nonprofits," co-authored with Jill Sinha, Isaac Morrison and John Belcher (University of Maryland College Park: Faith and Organizations Project, 2010).
  • "Building the Church's Readiness for a Transformational Ministry Journey," Journal of Family and Community Ministries v. 22, no. 4 (Winter 2009).
  • Hope for Children in Poverty: Profiles and Possibilities, co-edited with Ronald J. Sider (Valley Forge: Judson Press, 2007).
  • Saving Souls, Serving Society: Understanding the Faith Factor in Church‑Based Social Ministry, co-authored with Ronald J. Sider (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).
  • Churches That Make a Difference: Reaching Your Community with Good News and Good Works, co-authored with Ronald Sider and Philip Olson (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2002).

Research Interests

  • Congregation-based community ministry
  • Community study
  • Faith-based initiatives
  • Religious elements of social services
  • Child poverty / strengthening families in poverty


As director of the Congregations, Community Outreach and Leadership Development Project, Heidi Rolland Unruh is a researcher, trainer, writer and consultant focused on church-based community outreach, social welfare and faith-based initiatives. Books she has co-authored include Churches That Make a Difference (2002); Saving Souls, Serving Society (2005); and Hope for Children in Poverty (2007). Her work has grown out of several studies of churches and ministry groups engaged in community outreach, contributing to the development of a typology of faith-based organizations and a theoretical framework for exploring the relationship between faith and social services as well as practical ministry resources for congregations.

Heidi enjoys a long association with Evangelicals for Social Action and contributes to its public policy blog and PRISM magazine. She has partnered with Compassion Coalition in Knoxville, TN to produce Salt & Light: A Guide to Loving Knoxville, and also served as a consultant with World Vision's Faith in Action initiative. She served as an advisor to the Faith and Organizations Project (University of Maryland College Park), which examined the relationship between nonprofits and their sponsoring faith community across various faith traditions. Heidi is an alumna of Wheaton College, with a degree in Theology and Public Policy from Palmer Seminary. Heidi shares life and ministry with her husband Jim (a Mennonite pastor) and three children in Hutchinson, KS.