Building from Within: Pastoral Insights into Community Resources and Assets


  • Cassandra D. Ford Ph.D., R.N.

    Corresponding author
    1. The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    • Correspondence to:

      Cassandra D. Ford, Capstone College of Nursing, The University of Alabama, Box 870358, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. E-mail:

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To explore perceptions of community pastors regarding the extent of community resources and assets in a rural, Southern, African American community.

Design and Sample

Utilizing a qualitative, descriptive design, interviews were conducted with six African American pastors.


Interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide based on an assets-oriented approach.


Pastors discussed various resources and assets, probable within the community that may be considered as support for program development. Key themes included: (1) community strengths, (2) community support, and (3) resources for a healthy lifestyle. The church was identified, throughout the interviews, as a primary source of strength and support for community members.


In this study of African American pastors, various perceptions of community resources were identified. Findings indicate that a sample, rural, Southern, African American community has a wealth of resources and assets, but additional resources related to health promotion are still necessary to produce optimal results. Specific programs to prevent chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease can provide an effective means for addressing related health disparities. Programs implemented through churches can reach large numbers of individuals in the community and provide an important source of sustainable efforts to improve the health of African Americans.