FCS is a grateful recipient of the Lilly Endowment Inc Thriving Congregations grant. Through our partnership with Lilly we have been launching 2-year, place-based cohorts that we call City Shapers. City Shapers is inviting churches to build and participate in multi-sector, collaborative tables that are working to bring about flourishing in the disadvantaged neighborhoods of their city. We are doing this because FCS believes that part of being a thriving church is being connected to your neighborhood and participating in efforts that aid its well-being.
As a part of this grant, we have also been doing some research in partnership with The Barna Group, a Christian research organization that provides data and insights on trends affecting faith, culture, and ministry today. Surveying over 400 church leaders we have been looking at the connections between the traditional metrics of church health with community engagement, poverty relief, and justice. So, what do you think the surveys revealed? How much impact does neighborhood engagement have on our perception of the health of churches?
Listen in as three of our team members, David Park, Stacy Brungardt, and Bekah Klein, talk to Daniel Copeland and Dave Kreasta about this research.
David Park, Lead Trainer and Consultant at FCS
David Park is a Lead Trainer and Consultant with The Lupton Center. David comes to FCS with over a decade of experience as a local church pastor in a community development setting where he collaborated with and advised many nonprofit organizations to impact local communities. David also brings a variety of experience to this work as an entrepreneur, creative, and affordable housing advocate and investor. As a member of FCS’s Training and Consulting Team, David brings a unique blend of strategic thinking, facilitating, and compassion to the work of community building. He loves being a part of a diverse team that practices and seeks to grow personal and collective wholeness.
Dave Kresta, PhD
Dave Kresta is an author and researcher. His current project, “Jesus on Main Street“, equips church leaders and church planters to bring the healing effects of the gospel to local economies. Building on his PhD in Urban Studies and an MBA , Dave brings the following knowledge domains and specializations within reach of churches, denominations, and faith-based organizations: reimagining religious spaces, community economic development, neighborhood change (gentrification, poverty, segregation). Dave keeps sharp teaching community and economic development courses at Portland State as an Adjunct Professor, and is also a Fellow at the Ormond Center at Duke Divinity School.
Daniel Copeland, Associate Vice President of Research at Barna Group
Daniel Copeland is the Associate Vice President of Research at Barna Group and oversees the strategy, operation and execution of the firm’s published and proprietary research. Daniel is trained as a social researcher and is passionate about producing objective knowledge that inspires meaningful and significant change in the world. In his Barna tenure, he has designed and conducted more than 100 individual studies. Daniel works closely with organizations across the globe to help them critically consider best practices in navigating this cultural moment. Daniel has a B.A. and an M.A. in Sociology from Georgia State University, as well as an undergraduate minor in Religious Studies. He lives with his wife, Heidi, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Bekah Klein, Development Coordinator / Research and Knowledge Coordinator at FCS
Bekah is a Development Coordinator at FCS as well as the Research and Knowledge Coordinator for the Lupton Center. Bekah comes to FCS from the University of Florida, where she graduated with a B.A. in English, focused on literary works by women and people of color, prophetic activism, and the formation of the beloved community. She recently completed her Master of Divinity at Candler School of Theology, where her studies focused on Feminist and Womanist Theologies, nonprofit leadership and management, and cultivating a theology of place. Prior to working at FCS, Bekah worked as an Associate Producer for award-winning documentary Refuge: The Movie. She also led research efforts at the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library to formally document Emory University’s history with particular attention to social and racial injustice following desegregation and into the twenty-first century, as well as student activist movements on campus and in the Atlanta area. As a member of the FCS team, Bekah brings attention to detail, deep empathy, and a strong desire to learn and grow. She enjoys collaborating with her colleagues who are passionate about the true flourishing of all people. In her free time, Bekah enjoys reading, running, spending time with family and friends, and doing anything outdoors.
Stacy Brungardt, Lead Trainer and Consultant at FCS
Stacy Brungardt is a Lead Trainer and Consultant with the Lupton Center. Drawing from both her lived experiences in chronic, material poverty and her professional experiences as the director of community development for an Atlanta-based nonprofit. Stacy is an innovator gifted at building bridges that connect people, groups, and efforts to reduce poverty. Her educational background in psychology and sociology has fueled her passion for disrupting the traditional paradigms of charity for developing healthier models of holistic neighborhood engagement that maximize impact. Stacy is also a winner of the 2014 Technical College System of Georgia’s Award for Occupational Leadership.
- For more information about the work of the Lupton Center, please visit our website: https://www.luptoncenter.org/
- For more information about the work of Focused Community Strategies, please visit our website: https://fcsministries.org/
Special thanks to our podcast editor, Tim Rhodes, for making this episode possible. If you are interested in working with Tim, you can contact him via email at email@example.com, or through his website, whistlingblue.com. If you have questions, feedback, or wish to contact us, please email Rose Silva at firstname.lastname@example.org