5 Important Books for Native Church buildings to Thrive! [April 2021] – Bible Type

5 Important Books for Native Church buildings to Thrive! [April 2021]

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Thriving local churches Thriving local churches

by ERB Editor,
C. Christopher Smith

2020 was a difficult year for most churches. Not only did the raging global pandemic largely confine churches to virtual gatherings, but it was also a year of public reckoning with our history of racism and sexism, sins that have both plagued (and continue to plague) churches. In addition to all of these struggles, the churches are facing an escalating exodus of members that began well before 2020.

What must the churches do in the face of these diverse challenges? There are of course no clear paths through this wilderness, but there are guides whose wisdom can help us find our way through these brutal times. The following five books are exceptional in their ability to help our churches navigate this wilderness.

Hardcover: WJK Books, 2017.
Buy now:
(IndieBound) (Amazon) (Kindle)

While this book is strictly a commentary, it is not an ordinary commentary. Unlike many of the comments, this one is worth reading from start to finish. Through his careful reading of the origins of the Church and its earliest years, Jennings reminds us of deep realities in which our Christian faithfulness is embedded, realities that are often obscured by modern Western culture. It helps us to see that many of our deepest struggles (for example against racism and nationalism) were ones not unknown to the earliest churches. This book will be one of the most important biblical and theological works that will guide the churches of the world after 2020 and likely through much of the remaining decades of this century.

*** READ a key excerpt from this book

Paperback: Church Publishing, 2021.
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(IndieBound) (Amazon) (Kindle)

This book was written primarily for bishops, but it contains a great deal of wisdom for all churches on how we are going to move forward after the pandemic.

In this critical but loving book, the author explores American history and episcopal history to discover how racist, establishment, and privileged communities can finally fall in love with Jesus, humbly walk with the most vulnerable, and embody the beloved community on our own broken but beautiful way. "

*** LISTEN to a talk the author gave on this book

Thriving local churchesThe Congregation in the Secular Age
Andrew Root

Paperback: Baker Academic, 2021
Buy now:
(IndieBound) (Amazon) (Kindle)

Many of the challenges the churches face are at least partly due to the fact that we are orienting ourselves towards the ever-accelerating late modern culture and trying to remain relevant to it. The Congregation in the Secular Age is a meaty book that explores the work of philosopher Charles Taylor and sociologist Hartmut Rosa to help us understand the 21st century social dynamics in which churches must operate. “Living in the late modern age means our lives are constantly quickening, and calls for change in the Church often support that call to quickening. Root claims that the recent surge in innovation in the churches has accelerated church life that has torn the sacred out of time. Many communities just can't keep up, leading to burnout and depression. When things move too fast, we feel alienated from the life and voice of a living God. The Congregation in a Secular Age calls on churches to reconsider what change is and how to live in this future, and to help them move from relevance to resonance. "

Thriving local churchesA church called Tov: Form a culture of kindness that resists abuse of power and promotes healing
Scot McKnight / Laura Barringer

Hardcover: Tyndale Momentum, 2020
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(IndieBound) (Amazon) (Kindle) (audible)

“A church called Tov deals with the way church cultures of all kinds form members and warns of signs of toxic church culture, including narcissism and power through fear. Scot and Laura also name the way toxic church cultures respond to healthy criticism. Their overview summarizes the core drivers of toxic communities, but is not intended to be a complete examination of the dynamics of power, abuse, or cover-up. (There are a number of other books and blogs that have looked more deeply into these topics, many of which are mentioned in Tov's endnotes.)

The focus of the book is not on sketching the idle, but on what it takes to create a culture of kindness in a church – tov is the Hebrew word for good in the book's title. Scot and Laura claim that good churches are not perfect churches, but they are committed to promoting empathy, grace, people above the institution, truth, justice, service, and Christ-likeness in and within their unique culture.

“… Creating a grace-based family of siblings requires trust, the invisible glue that holds people together. Power and fear can undermine trust, but grace does it. There can be no real sibling without trust. Trusting someone means believing in them in a way that will make the world safe. Unfortunately, trust collapses in fear-based power cultures and makes life as a sibling almost impossible. When a collection of siblings called the church has untrustworthy relationships, the family breaks down into cliques, tribes, and interest groups. & # 39; "
(Read the full review from a review by ERB employee Michelle Van Loon.)

*** Listen to a podcast interview about this book

Thriving local churchesRadiant Church: Restoring Our Witness Credibility
Tara Beth Leach

Paperback: IVP Books, 2021
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(IndieBound) (Amazon) (Kindle) (audible)

"Something is wrong. The Church's testimony is dwindling in North America. Many Christians are alarmed by the decline in church attendance and are looking for someone to blame. Too often we point the finger away from the church, making culture the enemy and building walls between us and us others. But our antagonism and hostility are toxins that continue to devour our testimony. What better way? Tara Beth Leach could easily be one of those millennials who are giving up the church. Instead, she is a pastor who loves the church, and paradoxically hopes for her future. At a time when the Church has lost much of its credibility, Leach casts a bright vision for Christians to rediscover a robust, attractive testimony. We must name the poisonous soil on which we were grown Repent of past mistakes and borrow in a better way to become the church that Jesus proclaimed we should be in would. Leach throws down idolatrous false images of God in order to regain a profitable image of a kingdom of abundance and goodness. We can be sustained by practices that align our hearts with God's and shape us into the brilliant communities that God intends for us and our fellow human beings. "

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