Saving Souls, Serving Society: Understanding the Faith Factor in Church-based Social Ministry

Book, 2005, 323 pp
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As public funding for social services has been slashed, there has arisen an unprecedented interest in the potential (and dangers) of faith-based institutions as agents of social change. Now, as President Bush begins his second term, he has placed government funding of faith-based programs at the top of his domestic agenda. What distinguishes church-based from secular social activism? What is particularly religious about church-based social services? How do churches express their religious identity in the context of social services, and how does this affect their access to resources and partners?

This book, based on a Lilly-funded study of fifteen Philadelphia churches with active outreach, seeks to answer these and other pressing questions surrounding this important and controversial issue. Providing a far more objective understanding of faith-based initiatives than previously available, this study will be of interest not only to scholars of sociology of religion, social work, and social policy, but to denominational leaders, non-profit professionals, social policy analysts, community development practitioners, and others with the common goal of aiding struggling communities.

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