African Americans; Church; Church – Authority; Health education – Religious aspects – Christianity; Health programs; Health promotion; Health promotion partnerships; Medicine – Religious aspects; Pastors; Religious leaders Research; Southern States


Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Medicine and Health | Practical Theology | Public Health | Religion


Churches, in the United States, are recognized essential players in addressing our mounting health and social service needs. Yet, even though they implement a relatively large number of programs, few are research-based. Focus groups were conducted with pastors from 11 Baptist churches in a small Southeastern town to explore factors that influence the implementation of research-based health programs. Transcripts were coded for domains resulting in four themes: congregant needs, shared programming ethics, common understanding of programming processes, and care for the church and congregation. Pastors value research and seek church-based programs that enhance the health of congregants. Yet, future study must focus on how to create and maintain strong formal networks that help them to meet this goal.