Typically, congregations look externally for help specific to an area of perceived need. Most discover a dizzying array of programs, services, coaches, consultants, and agencies that exists just “a click away.” How do congregational leaders choose wisely from among so many options? We offer a means by which congregations first learn to think creatively about their needs and then generate the best possible solutions utilizing their own resources as well as more wisely chosen outside resources. Please reference our informational brochure for more details on the programs available.

Current News

Dr. Jennifer McClure, Assistant Professor of Religion and Sociology, and Congregational Research Strategist for the CCR, has recently published an article from the data she gathered in her 2017-2018 study of social networks among congregations. Check out this report to learn more about the different ways that congregations connect with each other.


Congregational Grants

Many smaller membership churches are unable to access the resources they have identified as best for their needs due to the lack of financial means. The CCR makes available a limited number of matching grants for use by such churches. You may refer to this document for detailed information on how to apply for a grant, deadlines, acceptable uses of funds, and other important details for your church.

Grant Request Form and Application Information

Resource Strategists

A team of strategists is available provide assistance to churches. Our Resource Strategists are each experienced and active in pastoral and/or congregational ministry. They have been trained in the Center’s method of facilitated self-directed learning, which we use when working with congregations. What this means is our Strategists do not function as experts, making pronouncements or offering a “fix” for the congregation. They listen to clergy and congregational leaders and help them ask the right questions. They do not always have answers to questions. Their goal is to help both clergy and congregations articulate more clearly what they are thinking, with the result being understanding and clarity about what needs to be done and how best to move forward, utilizing their own creativity and initiative.

Resource Strategists

  • Calvin Bell
  • Dick Bodenhamer
  • Peggy Sanderford Ponder
  • Alvin Pelton

Resource Guides

The CCR provides resource guides for use by clergy and congregations. These guides are compiled from direct feedback from clergy and congregations. Think of these guides as being like an “Angie’s List for churches. Needs of congregations vary widely depending on context and each church’s unique challenges and opportunities. These needs can be of a practical nature such as how to better utilize space, conduct a search process for a minister, or a financial stewardship emphasis, to name a few. In other cases, resourcing needs may be more philosophical in nature including, for example, assessing core values and the implications these values have on future mission and ministry.

  • Congregational Resource Guide; the Indianapolis Center for Congregations extensive online resource guide - including live "chat now" function.
  • Annotated Resource Guide - housed at the offices of the Center for Congregational Resources on Samford's campus, this library of books and resources offer materials related to a variety of topics related to ministry and congregational life. The guide is organized alphabetically by subject.  Please contact the office to visit the library.
  • Audio resources -  Sermons, workshops, lectures, etc. of various topics are available to stream or download for free.  Visit our page on Vimeo.com, or refer to this list of available audio files.
  • The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) The ARDA’s Congregational Resource Center offers resources and tools specifically designed for religious congregations and ministers. Through the Congregational Resource Center, people can: (1) generate demographic profiles for the neighborhoods around their congregations; (2) learn about Americans’ religious practices, beliefs, and views on moral issues; (3) examine differences among congregations and religious traditions; (4) explore religion around the world; (5) find religion research in the news.
  • Studying Congregations Toolkit; The Congregational Studies Team is an informal collaboration of scholars and researchers who share an interest in the disciplined study of congregations. The Toolkit is a series of easy to use PDF downloads.
  • Hartford Institute for Religion Research; The Institute has a thirty-four year record of rigorous, policy-relevant research, anticipation of emerging issues and commitment to the creative dissemination of learning. This record has earned the Institute an international reputation as an important bridge between the scholarly community and the practice of faith.
  • Union Presbyterian Seminary Libraries Instructional Resource Center; maintains a list of links including digital tools for ministry, faith formation, mission, pastoral care, and worship.

Educational Events

The CCR periodically offers seminars and conferences on topics of interest to groups of clergy and/or congregations. These events are intentionally planned to be smaller in size to afford greater interaction among participants and conference presenters. Educational events are held on the campus of Samford University as well as other locations.