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So much of our attention in congregational development is spent dealing with internal issues and opportunities that we turn more and more inward. Even our “outward” work smacks of our “inward” bias as we invite people to our events and ponder how to make our events more compelling for those who aren’t part of our congregations. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, is known for saying “the world is our parish.” Simply stated, the streets are our sanctuary. Our communities are our congregations. Yet too often congregations ignore their neighborhoods. They don’t consider the vast resource of people surrounding their church and seem to forget that Pentecost, the very event that gave birth to the church, happened in the streets. It's time for churches and congregations to engage with the people around them—most of whom have not yet made a faith decision but are hungering for the grace that only God can provide. Participate in this study of Nehemiah and discover what people God is asking you to encourage, what walls God is calling you to repair, what ministry God might be calling you to lead or do, and where you should start. This book will give readers inspiration and practical tools for engaging with their communities in ways that help congregations and communities become whole.
Every Christian is called to a life of missions, and sometimes, you don't even need to leave your neighborhood.
God wants to do a new thing in the African American Church. Author, Douglas Powe suggests that the African American church, while once the bedrock of the community, is no longer on the radar for many. During the Civil Rights movement African American churches initiated and even shaped transformation for an entire country, well beyond their own walls. In this post-Civil Rights era the power of many African American churches remains mired in the assumptions and practices of the past, thereby making them invisible to their surrounding communities. New Wine, New Wineskins helps African American congregations understand and benefit from the cultural shifts we are now experiencing. Many African American churches once thought they were immune to the cultural shock waves in our streets and neighborhoods. They simple argued that they have always been all about participation and being relational; yet like many churches, their numbers continue to decline. African American churches must find a way to reclaim their missional orientation, while at the same time remaining true to their historical identity and witness of speaking truth to power. The worthy goals of justice and bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ in this time, requires new practices and fresh ideas—new wine. The old framework just won’t work any more. We need new wine skins.
In See, Know & Serve, Tom Bandy shows how the transition between Christendom and Post-Christendom is unfolding at different speeds and with different twists in diverse regions and places, and that this development makes standardizing ministry practices, or using collections of "best practices," unsuccessful in growing God's mission. Bandy presents startlingly new ways to view congregations and communities, enabling leaders to understand the people within their reach on a granular level. The author demonstrates with real-world examples how organizations can translate this information into practical strategies and tactics. The book includes helpful charts and diagrams, making the material surprisingly easy to digest and share. This important, groundbreaking and convicting book lays out with depth and clarity a pioneering new way forward for every church and every mission-focused organization. Bandy shows how we can see the people in our communities with unparalleled clarity, so that we can serve them—fulfilling our mission—effectively.
Robert M. Franklin provides first-person advice and insight as he identifies the crises resident within three anchor institutions that have played key roles in the black struggle for freedom. Black families face a "crisis of commitment" evident in the rising rates of father absence, births to unmarried parents, divorce, and domestic abuse or relationship violence. Black churches face a "mission crisis" as they struggle to serve their upwardly mobile and/or established middle class "paying customers" alongside the poorest of the poor. Historically black colleges and universities face a crisis of "relevance and purpose" as they now compete for the best students and faculty with the broad marketplace of colleges. With clarity and passion, Franklin calls for practical and comprehensive action for change from within the African American community and from all Americans.
In today's world, when the pressures of life seem to wipe out any sense of hope or happiness, why even talk about church? Begging for Real Church offers powerful and relevant answers for how an authentic, meaningful and radical church experience helps us with our challenges. Through personal examples and scripture-based stories, Pastor Daniels speaks to the essence of spiritual victory,lasting love and unspeakable joy that can lead us to an abundant life.
With so many injustices, small and great, across the world and right at our doorstep, what are people of faith to do? Since the 1930s, organizing movements for social justice in the U.S. have largely been built on assumptions that are secular origin—such as reliance on self-interest and having a common enemy as a motivator for change. But what if Christians were to shape their organizing around the implications of the truth that God is real and Jesus is risen? Alexia Salvatierra has developed a model of social action that is rooted in the values and convictions born of faith. Together with theologian Peter Heltzel, this model of "faith-rooted organizing" offers a path to meaningful social change that takes seriously the command to love God and to love our neighbor as ourself.
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