This exploratory study examined characteristics of black churches in a small southern city that affected the likelihood that such churches would play an active role in faith-based community services. A formal mail survey of church ministers in black Protestant churches in this city was employed. Results were discussed in light of federal policies that promote faith-based initiatives to meet local social service needs. The results indicated that the majority of the black churches in this study were active in addressing local needs through indirect (sermons, lobbying local governments) rather than direct (program development and implementation) means. Among a range of congregation characteristics examined, only length of time that the congregation had been at its present location appeared to affect levels of community participation. General policy implications of these research findings were examined.

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