This project synergizes the mission of a progressive Baptist denomination, the Alliance of Baptists, with the mission of three dedicated sociologists of religion who focus on racial/ethnic dynamics in American congregations: Gerardo Martí of Davidson College, Mark Mulder of Calvin University, and Kevin Dougherty of Baylor University. The Alliance’s mission to center its leadership and congregational development on racial justice dovetails with that of the three scholars, who seek to understand and disseminate knowledge regarding the challenges of racism in white-dominant churches and denominations. A diverse set of Alliance THRIVE churches distributed across the U.S. and Canada (about 15-25 churches total) pilots a five-year protocol that applies the values and commitments of the Alliance and elaborates on Lilly’s Thriving Congregations Initiative, with a focus on building capacity for confronting racial justice and sustaining momentum beyond the grant. The project employs a learning community model within both the individual churches and the denomination as a whole by leveraging established communication networks, as well as the annual gathering of Alliance churches, to collaborate and share what is being learned. Each year involves data collection and reflective development with members, guests, lay leaders, and pastoral staff of each THRIVE church.
Churches that THRIVE for Racial Justice