Books reviewed by James Woodward

Measures of Faith

Faith-Based Social Services: Measures, Assessments, and Effectiveness, Ed Stephanie C Boddie (The Haworth Press), 2007, xiv+301pp, pbk, $36

There is much discussion in the UK about faith-based services with the present Labour Government (2007) encouraging the churches to extend their interest in the provision of care and services beyond their accepted role (for example in education with Church schools)

The Charitable Choice provision and the Bush Administration’s National Faith Based Initiative have broadened the scope of social services achieved through faith based organisations in the U.S.A.

In both the UK and America there is an assumption that faith based organisations deliver more effective services.  This is reflected in the UK through the performance of Church Schools as consistently excellent deliverers of education.

This collection of essays is a wide ranging attempt to gather in detailed studies to explore the complex issues of measuring effectiveness.  Subject areas include: detecting the ‘faith-factor’; empirical research; measuring intervention-based impact; welfare provision and work amongst young people.

This book will be a useful starting point for those of us required to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of their work.  There are also some useful links to be made between community and congregation – it is possible to measure the effectiveness of worship, ministry, pastoral care and discipleship?  How do we make a decision to close down a church and on what basis might such a decision be made?  Some of the work in this book can help the reader frame the right questions.  It is work in progress.

James Woodward