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Leading Beyond the Walls: Developing Congregations with a Heart for the Unchurched

by Adam Hamilton

Good pastoral leadership is not a "by the numbers" proposition. It is a matter of heart and soul, of devoting the whole self to the vision God gives for the congregation in which one serves. Yet neither is it purely intuitive; it requires hard, careful thinking about the directions and details of the path down which God calls. When Adam Hamilton became pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, its membership consisted of himself and his family. Ten years later the church averages between five and six thousand worshipers per weekend. Throughout this remarkable period, Hamilton learned many serious lessons about both the broad visions and the specific details of pastoral leadership. <P> Bringing a depth of analytical skills often lacking in visionary leaders, in this book he goes beyond simply telling the story of Church of the Resurrection. He shares the questions that he learned to ask about the largely unchurched population to which Church of the Resurrection has reached out. Further, he demonstrates what he learned by listening to the answers to these questions, and how doing so has made possible a number of strategically crucial decisions the church has made. One of those crucial decisions was to make more traditional forms of worship and praise the center of the congregation's life. The result is that the example of Church of the Resurrection offers pastors and church leaders (especially those in mainline denominations) the realization that they need not completely change their liturgical and theological identity in order to reach out to the unchurched. <P> Drawing on his own experience, as well as the detailed research on the characteristics of highly successful congregations he undertook during a sabbatical leave, Hamilton offers pastors and other church leaders solid, substantive thinking on steps that congregations can take to become centers of vibrant outreach and mission.

Knowing Me, Knowing God

by Malcolm Goldsmith

In Knowing Me, Knowing God, Malcolm Goldsmith provides an easy-to-follow introduction to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as it pertains to the spiritual life. The heart of this book is a spirituality questionnaire and its interpretation in connection to spirituality. The intent of the book is to explore ways in which persons might best open their hearts and minds to God. Knowing Me, Knowing God is a valuable resource for retreat leaders, worship committee members, spiritual directors, prayer group members, and others who are looking for material that help them focus on the needs of their community. The spirituality questionnaire is designed for personal completion as an integral part of the total book. It can, however, be used in small groups to stimulate discussion.

Jesus' Parables of the Lost and Found

by James W. Moore

This six-session short-term study series from Jim Moore is organized around the general theme of parables. This study serves as a third volume to Jesus' Parables of Grace (Spring 2004) and Jesus' Parables of Life (Spring 2005). Each chapter focuses on a particular parable, and features Jim Moore telling readers what Jesus was saying through the parable, both to listeners of his day and to us today in our own lives. The planned parables include "The Lost and Found Sheep" (Luke 15:1-7), "The Lost and Found Coin" (Luke 15:8-10), "The Lost and Found Son" (Luke 15:11-24), "The Lost and Found Gifts" (Luke 15:11-24), "The Lost and Found Elder Brother" (Luke 15:25-32), and "The Lost and Found Celebration" (Luke 14:15-24). The book also contains a study guide.

Jesus' Parables of Life

by James W. Moore

This six-session short-term study from Jim Moore is organized around the general theme of parables of life. Each chapter will focus on a particular parable, and will feature Dr. Moore telling readers what Jesus was saying through the parable, both to listeners of his day and to us today in our own lives. The chapters will focus on such stories as "The Laborers in the Vineyard," "The Pharisee and the Tax Collector," "The Weeds Among the Wheat," "The Ten Pounds," "Dives and Lazarus," and "The Unmerciful Servant." The book also includes a study guide.

Jesus' Parables of Grace

by James W. Moore

Parables studied are: The Sower, the Seeds, and the SoilsThe Prodigal SonThe Elder BrotherThe Unjust JudgeThe Good SamaritanThe Least of These

Jesus' Parables about Priorities

by James W. Moore

James W. MooreParables slip up on us. They flip our values. They turn our world upside down. They surprise us. This is the great thing about the parables of Jesus: They are always relevant and always personal. They speak eloquently to you and me, here and now. In this book, we will examine some of Jesus' thought-provoking parables, parables about priorities, to see if we can find ourselves and God's truth for us in these magnificent "truth-stories." They are, after all, truth-stories from the mind of Jesus that can change our lives as they proclaim God's truth for you and me. --adapted from the introduction Each of the six chapters features a key passage of Scripture and is centered on a theme from one of Jesus' parables, including The Priority of Love The Priority of Grace The Priority of Being Prepared The Priority of Courage The Priority of Forgiveness The Priority of Strong Foundations JAMES W. MOORE, popular speaker and preacher, is the author of Yes, Lord, I Have Sinned, but I Have Several Excellent Excuses; God Was Here and I Was Out to Lunch; When Grief Breaks Your Heart; There's a Hole in Your Soul That Only God Can Fill; and many other books. He and his wife, June, live in Fairview, Texas.

Jesus' Parables About Making Choices

by James W. Moore

This six-session short-term study series from James W. Moore is organized around the general theme of "Making Choices." This study serves as a fourth volume to Jesus' Parables of Grace (Spring 2004), Jesus' Parables of Life (Spring 2005), and Parables of the Lost and Found (Spring 2006). The book also contains a study guide.

Jesus' Parables About Discipleship

by James W. Moore

This six-session short-term study series from Jim Moore is organized around the general theme of Discipleship. This study serves as a sixth volume following Jesus' Parables of Grace, Jesus' Parables of Life , Jesus' Parables of the Lost and Found, Jesus' Parables About Making Choices, and Jesus' Parables About Priorities. The book also contains a study guide.Each chapter will focus on a particular parable, and will feature the author telling readers what Jesus was saying through the parable, both to listeners of his day and to us today in our own lives. The chapters will focus on key characteristics of discipleship such as unconditional love, humility, service, vision, listening, and action.

Jesus on Death Row

by Mark Osler

What does the most infamous criminal proceeding in history--the trial of Jesus of Nazareth--have to tell us about capital punishment in the United States? Jesus Christ was a prisoner on death row. If that statement surprises you, consider this fact: of all the roles that Jesus played--preacher, teacher, healer, mentor, friend--none features as prominently in the gospels as this one, a criminal indicted and convicted of a capital offense. Now consider another fact: the arrest, trial, and execution of Jesus bear remarkable similarities to the American criminal justice system, especially in capital cases. From the use of paid informants to the conflicting testimony of witnesses to the denial of clemency, the elements in the story of Jesus' trial mirror the most common components in capital cases today. Finally, consider a question: How might we see capital punishment in this country differently if we realized that the system used to condemn the Son of God to death so closely resembles the system we use in capital cases today? Should the experience of Jesus' trial, conviction, and execution give us pause as we take similar steps to place individuals on death row today? These are the questions posed by this surprising, challenging, and enlightening book

Jesus Laughed

by Robert Darden

"Agony and hilarity," said Norman MacLean, "are both necessary for salvation." We Christians seem to know a lot about the agony part, but what about hilarity? Why do we have to remind ourselves so often that the Bible is full of funny and ridiculous stories and situations? Why do so few of the pictures we've drawn of Jesus show him laughing? Because we've forgotten the redemptive power of humor, that's why. In Jesus Laughed, Robert Darden-senior editor of The Wittenburg Door, the world's oldest, largest, and pretty much only religious satire magazine-draws on his years of experience deflating religious pomposity and making the faithful laugh to show why humor is so central to the faith, and how to make it a big part of your daily walk with God. Click here to listen to Terri Gross's interview with Robert Darden on NPR's Fresh Air about the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project. Darden runs the project at Baylor University where he is a journalism professor. The purpose of the project is to identify, acquire, preserve, record, and catalogue the most at-risk music from the black gospel music tradition, primarily between 1945 and 1970. Robert Darden is Associate Professor of Journalism at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He served for 12 years as Gospel Music Editor for Billboard magazine, and since 1988 has been Senior Editor of The Wittenburg Door, the world's oldest, largest, and "pretty much only" religious satire magazine. He is the author of more than 25 books, including the definitive People Get Ready! A New History of Black Gospel Music, which has been featured on National Public Radio, and Reluctant Prophets and Clueless Disciples, also published by Abingdon Press.

Introduction to Christian Worship 3rd Edition

by James F. White

Introduction to Christian Worship, 3rd Edition traces the development of the major forms of Christian worship, and includes discussion of the newest service books of the principal churches of North America and the British Isles. This staple of liturgical history is used widely in Protestant seminaries and is read by clergy and laity alike as an accurate, informative, and accessible introduction to all aspects of Christian worship. This revision keeps pace with the latest scholarship and includes more maps, tables, woodcuts, and photographs.

Introducing the Bible

by William Barclay

"If you want to keep alive, keep learning. . . . To think is a necessity of the Christian life."

Inside the Leader's Head

by Stephen L. Martyn Virginia T. Holeman

Right relationships begin with the leader's spiritual maturity. For better and worse, the church is the family of God; and as families, congregations are also susceptible to the glories and dysfunctions of family living. Some church family members can even sap the strength and drain the life from the leader's soul. When pastors reel from wave after wave of real and perceived pressures, the church family is set adrift with no firm foothold. Using a system framework, this book will show leaders ways they can develop spiritual, emotional, and relational stamina so that they can better minister to the family of God and help them walk through the inevitable dark valleys and continue to grow closer to God together. From the Circuit Rider review: "Inside the Leader's Head does a masterful job of weaving psychological analysis and Wesleyan theology to produce a practical guide for leading a congregation. For those who are new to family systems theory, they provide an accessible and brief introduction to the subject. For those who are familiar with the theory Holeman and Martyn cover familiar terrain from a refreshing perspective that shows how these themes are connected to the Trinity and holiness." (Click here to read the entire review.)

I Want My Life Back!

by Lorraine Bosse-Smith

We live in a fast-food society and seem to live on the trend mill at warp speed. This book offers help, guidance, and encouragement to the woman on life's journey who wishes her life had more quality. And to be honest, she feels like someone has taken her life, and she wants it back! "Lorraine Bossé-Smith provides counsel, examples, and plans to help the reader find a quality of life that is enriching and rewarding. Her book is chock-full of personal testimony and positive ways of meeting and overcoming stress." -Johnnie C. Godwin, author of Syzygy: Living a Powerfully Aligned Life "How very impressive! Bossé-Smith gives us workable, simple, and inspiring ways to take control of our lives. All of my Regional VPs will have this as required reading." -Amy S. Harrison, CEO, Innovative Solutions for Youth, Inc. Lorraine Bossé-Smith is a consultant, coach, trainer, and writer. She is the President of Concept One located in Murrieta, California, but serves clients across the country. She helps people to enhance their communication, create stronger relationships, increase productivity, and improve the quality of their life. Lorraine is in the 2005 Who's Who of Female Executives and the 2000 Who's Who of Entrepreneurs. In addition, Lorraine is an AFAA Certified Fitness Instructor able to teach: Precision Cycle, Sports Conditioning, Kickboxing, aerobics, Forever Fit (seniors) and Pilates Mat. She is an active individual who loves to play tennis, hike, bike, and enjoy life to its fullest!

God Was Here and I Was Out to Lunch

by James W. Moore

Explores how, due to our rigid preoccupation with our busy-ness and routines, we fail to sense or appreciate the presence of God all around us; consequently, we miss out on the chance to tap in to common sense, we miss out on the chance to love God and others, and we miss out on the chance to connect with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. In fifteen chapters, Moore highlights hallmarks of the Christian faith that are essential and life-giving for all persons, and which can be ours if only we will learn to recognize God's majesty when it is near and open our lives to the change God offers. 15 chapters with a study guide. Appropriate for individual or group use.

Go BIG with Small Groups

by William M. Easum John Atkinson

Most churches that begin small groups find that within a couple of years two things happen - the number of small groups has dwindled in size and few if any of them have birthed other small groups. So, the only way most churches keep small groups going is by reinventing them over and over, usually with the same people. The authors of this book know God has much more in store for these churches. Bill Easum and John Atkinson have both led congregations in which small group ministry proved crucial to the church's growth. Both know the pitfalls that endanger all attempts to center a congregation's life around small groups. More importantly, they understand how to make small groups growing, self-reproducing centers of Christian discipleship.

Following Jesus Leader Guide

by Carolyn Slaughter

First produced by Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church, this 12-session group is perfect for groups just beginning their faith walk or for anyone looking for a deeper foundation. Following Jesus leads adults to rediscover Jesus, grow in the spirit and learn to live in faith and in service to the church, community and world. The Leader Guide includes guidance in setting up and teaching the entire series with flexible teaching plans, a varity of teaching activities, discussion questions, additional commentary. Includes a fruits of the spirit inventory, membership interview form and other helpful tools. Session topics for the study: Part 1 - Rediscovering Jesus Jesus the Messiah Unique Characteristics of Jesus Savior of the World Our Lord Part 2 - Growing in the Spirit The Holy Spirit Understanding Spiritual Fruit Understanding Spiritual Gifts Sharing the Spirit Part 3 - Living in Faith and Service Session Nine: Spiritual Disciplines: Keys to God's Heart Session Ten: The Church Session Eleven: Understanding God's Call Session Twelve: God's Place for You Also available: Following Jesus: Steps to a Passionate Faith (participant book)

Five Practices of Fruitful Youth Ministry

by Robert Schnase Terry B. Carty

Lead youth to live radically, passionately, intentionally, extravagantly--taking risks to become fruitful disciples of Jesus. These ten ready-to-use sessions teach the fundamentals of Christian living. Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission, and Extravagant Generosity--these five practices, designed to shape both heart and mind, will help youth grow in their discipleship as they transform the world. Features: 2 ready-to-use interactive sessions for each practice Reproducible pages Scripture references Suggestions for discussion Questions for reflection Planning helps Tried-and-true activities from youth groups across the country Robert Schnase is Bishop of the Missouri Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and bestselling author of Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. Terry B. Carty is Director of The Youthworker Movement.

Five Practices of Fruitful Living

by Robert Schnase

How do I cultivate a life that is purposeful, deep, and fruitful? What are the commitments, critical risks, and personal practices that open me to God's grace? How can I discover the spiritual life and the difference God intends for me to make in the world? Radical Hospitality. Passionate Worship. Intentional Faith Development. Risk-Taking Mission and Service. Extravagant Generosity. Five Practices of Fruitful Living provides an honest, practical, and winsome guide to the spiritual journey. By repeating and deepening certain fundamental practices, we cooperate with God in our spiritual growth. These five practices - to receive God's love, to love God in return, to grow in Christ, to serve others, and to give ourselves fully - as we attend to them and develop them, help us settle ourselves in God and become instruments of God's grace. Following Christ will change your heart; and through you, God will change the world. FROM THE INTRODUCTION - "Five Practices of Fruitful Living moves the discussion of Christian practice from the congregational level to the personal practices of discipleship. The fruitful, God-related life develops with intentional and repeated attention to five essential practices that are critical for our growth in Christ. Radical Hospitality. Passionate Worship. Intentional Faith Development. Risk-Taking Mission and Service. Extravagant Generosity. These practices open our heart--to God, to others, to a life that matters, a life rich with meaning, relationship, and contribution. They help us flourish."

Five Practices - Radical Hospitality

by Robert Schnase

Focus on the Five Practices: A Congregation-Wide Initiative Based on the book, Five Practices of a Fruitful Congregation by Bishop Robert Schnase Imagine a congregation-wide focus on these practices that includes a five week sermon series, five weeks with every household reading daily devotions and sharing prayers on these practices, five weeks of leadership teams and small groups stimulated to take new initiatives, five weeks of conversation and commitment focused on the mission of the church. These are the practices that lead to excellence and fruitfulness, and they can change your church. Imagine! Five Practices - Radical Hospitality is a planning workbook for use in group study. It helps lead the group to develop a plan to implement Radical Hospitality in your congregation. FREE TEACHING GUIDE! Click here to download the free Teaching Guide for "Radical Hospitality."

Find Your Way Home

by Becca Stevens The Women of Magdalene

I remember the first day I came home. There were four beautiful women walking out onto the porch to say hello. This was the home I'd almost forgotten about. Thank you, God, for leading me home. Have you ever felt lost?Do you long for a group of friends?Will you ever find your way home? In this remarkable book, the women of Magdalene ask questions that all of us ask, and they share their own joyous, painful, uplifting answers. Inspired by the classic Benedictine Rule, the women have written down 24 rules they live by in the Magdalene community, a place of healing and grace. "Magdalene is living out the call and making something of the Kingdom happen." -Tony Campolo, author of Speaking My Mind"With honesty and urgency, Becca Stevens and her fellow pilgrims from Magdalene reveal the insights gained on their personal journeys to wholeness." -Gloria Gaither, Christian recording artist "Magdalene has a tremendous track record of bringing recovery, hope, and independence to women in need." -Bill Frist, M.D., Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader "In Find Your Way Home there are 24 rules...designed to provoke people into discovering that God loves you as you are right now. And that God loves the possibility within you." -The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, Episcopal ChurchMagdalene is a residential community of women who have a criminal history of prostitution and drug abuse. The women live together in a series of Magdalene homes, supporting themselves and each other through the work of Thistle Farms, a bath and body-care business run by those in the program. For more information, go to www.thistlefarms.org. Becca Stevens is the author of Hither & Yon, Finding Balance, and Sanctuary, nominated by Christianity Today as best spirituality book of 2005. Featured on CNN and in other national media, she is an Episcopal priest at St. Augustine's Chapel at Vanderbilt University.

Faith Beyond Borders

by Joyce Hollyday Don Mosley

For more than thirty years, Don Mosley has traveled the globe, working for the cause of justice on behalf of two organizations he helped to found: Habitat for Humanity and Jubilee Partners, a community of believers who have welcomed 3,000 refugees from danger zones around the world. In this book, he uses stories from his remarkable walk of faith to issue an action call for Christians to live out the teachings of Jesus, no matter where they take us or what they require us to do.

Effective Small Churches in the 21st Century

by Carl Dudley

Dudley's work in Making the Small Church Effective (1978) broke new ground in understanding the dynamics of life in the small congregation. In this revised edition, Dudley revisits the small church, posing new questions reflective of the considerable changes that have swept over small churches in the last two decades. Among the most significant recent developments are shifts in institutional loyalty and individual's sense of identity in relation to larger groups and organizations. Dudley explores the key components that contribute to a small congregation's sense of unity and that motivate its members to more faithfully live out their faith.

Earthy Mysticism

by Tex Sample

This book, says the author, is "a testimony of narratives where [a] strange God appears. Such appearances supply the mystical states that have come to shape my life. I am not helped much by conventional approaches to spirituality. I find it almost impossible to do 'devotions.' Daily Bible study in the sense of devoting twenty to thirty minutes a day never worked for me. I cannot get around to scheduled times for prayer on my knees with head bowed. I find labyrinths and prayer beads boring. I am ever and again distracted in silent meditation. I simply cannot sustain a spirituality based in such things. "I do not regard myself as unusual or special. My hunch, and it is more than that, is that a host of people will recognize themselves in what I describe here. What is here is, clearly, my story, but it is not about me. It is about a God of surprises, of One who comes in the ordinary and the seamy. It is about a God who will goose you. It is about mystical moments when clearly the only thing that finally matters is this God who will never leave us alone, especially in the ordinary and angular places of life. It is, I hope, a spirituality for unspiritual people." From the Circuit Rider review: "Tex Sample's new book, Earthy Mysticism: Spirituality for Unspiritual People, simultaneously says a whole lot and very little about the subject of mysticism. The word "mysticism" itself only shows up in the introduction and the last chapter, bracketing the book with a concept that Sample doesn't fully define or even directly reflect on the meaning of. That being said, Sample never claims to be writing a scholarly view of what mysticism might be, but instead attempts to show how one can recognize the presence of the holy in everyday life. In this he succeeds powerfully." (Click here to read the entire review.)

Direct Hit

by Paul D. Borden

Lead the kind of ministry you've always dreamed of... Many congregations are declining due to an inward focus, and see their pastor as someone who should only minister to their needs. But pastors must anticipate a better future. Direct Hit offers hope to leaders of congregations that have lost their outward focus. By preparing for and leading systemic change, pastors can bring new life into the culture of a congregation, guiding it to answer God's call to reach people with the good news. Direct Hit offers practical explanations for how to: Develop a vision and communicate a strategy for its implementation Motivate a congregation to embrace the vision Develop resources, ideas, and personnel to prepare for change Embrace and implement change Embed a new DNA into the life of a congregation Systemic change occurs as a result of hard work, but the gain far outweighs the pain. Once change has occurred, a whole new world of opportunity opens up--a world in which you are privileged to equip, lead, and oversee a congregation that has joined God's mission. Ready. Aim. Go for it!"Church leaders need more than motivation and inspiration. In Direct Hit, Paul Borden explains how to change dysfunction to health and decline to growth."Leith Anderson, Senior PastorWooddale Church, Eden Prairie, MN"Direct Hit gets to the heart of the matter. Pastors--it's about Christ and leadership. Congregation--it's about Christ's purpose and mission. There is plenty of interpretation and coaching here for both sides of the pastoral relationship, but above all there is urgency. It's time to stop dithering and get on with it."Tom Bandy, PresidentEasum, Bandy, and Associates Paul Borden, is Executive Minister of Growing Healthy Churches (formerly American Baptist Churches of the West) and is in demand nationally as a church consultant. Direct Hit is the second Abingdon publication by Borden, whose first book, Hit the Bullseye, has sold 11,000 copies.

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