Training and staff availability Essay

Published: 2020-02-23 23:00:30
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Training and staff availability was cited as a difficulty in all the studies outlined above. Even the survey methodology of many of the surveys was affected by the lack of staff availability; in many cases, churches did not even have a full-time staff member to answer the phones, making getting the attention of the pastor a difficult task. In Rubins study, a high number of pastors declined to participate due to lack of time to complete the survey. In Markens study, several pastors alluded directly to the demands on their time that impaired their ability to participate in community programs as much as they wanted to.

Because many Black churches do not have a full-time pastor, their ability to implement these social programs can be impaired. Additionally, training and education of pastors or other church leaders was cited as a deciding factor in whether or not a church would implement social programs; this was noted particularly in Rubins study of youth outreach programs.

CHURCH RESOURCES Church resources were consistently cited as a determining factor in whether or not social programs would be offered by a given church.

While some poorer or smaller congregations offered a limited subset of social programs (often assisted by outside agencies or targeted tightly to their congregations demographics), larger, wealthier churches with their own grounds and full-time pastors and other staff were far more likely to offer youth, mental health and community health programs than those that did not have these resources. This was particularly noted in the establishment of youth ministries by Rubin, but was also significant in other contexts.


The timeliness and application to modern social problems is particularly important when it comes to mental health services and youth ministries. Issues such as teen pregnancy and parenthood and pregnancy prevention, crime prevention, substance abuse treatment, community programs for homelessness and hunger prevention and amelioration, youth services and literacy are all sensitive to current social and economic wellness in the community; a program intended to treat these social problems must be targeted to the demographic and attuned with the realities of the congregations and communitys needs.

Particularly within the youth programs detailed by Rubin, there was an emphasis on some programs such as sports and fellowship programs, but relatively few programs designed to address youth social problems.

INTERACTIONS WITH OUTSIDE AGENCIES A final area of common difficulty in implementing the church social programs discussed, successful or otherwise, is the interaction between the informal care network provided by the church and the formal care system, including professional nurses, doctors and therapists as well as government social service agencies, research groups and philanthropic organizations.

This difficulty was most pronounced in Blanks investigation of mental health services within churches in the rural South; tensions between pastors, formal care providers and congregants made the relationship between formal and informal care networks practically nonexistent. Adkinson, addressed some of the methods for easing the interaction between therapists and Black church congregations.

Even in a study which considered successful programs, interactions between pastors and formal care providers were noted to be an area of special concern, with a lot of attention paid to cultivating personal relationships and promoting cultural understanding between formal care providers and the church leadership.

Among the specific research studied examined, there were many commonalities between programs generally considered to be successful and those that can be considered to be less successful. Common threads that determine successful establishment of personal relationships between outside care providers and church members and leadership, timeliness and appropriateness for the congregation demographic and enthusiastic endorsement by church pastors.

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