Where do we start?

Where do we start?

Evangelism basics and theology

Discerning Your Congregation's Future. Roy M Oswald, and Robert E. Freidrich, Jr. An Alban Institute Publication. 1996.

This book combines practical planning tools with practical means to develop the spiritual life of congregations. It is a serious tool for lay leaders and pastors who want to guide their congregations into a productive and intentional future. Excellent for congregations who are between pastors, or just starting with new leadership.

Twelve Keys to an Effective Church: Strategic Planning for Mission Kennon L. Callahan, Jossey Bass Publishers 1997

In this book you will learn how to: develop a realistic assessment of your present standing and stature in relation to other congregations, make fundamental decisions about the primary direction of your congregation's future, study your own church's strengths in relation to the central characteristics of successful churches, decide which strategic objectives will advance your congregation's long-range effectiveness in mission address problem areas that are inhibiting growth, devise an effective program for church life and mission that is future-oriented, scripturally based, and primed for success.

You will find this book is filled with the practical ideas, tips, and long-range planning tools, plus rich foundational understanding, that your congregation needs. More than 50,000 churches have used this program to function more effectively as they seek to grow and better serve their members. A workbook is also available with this book.

Prepare Your Church for the Future. Carl F. Fleming H. Revell, 1996.

By analyzing the present-day church and examining societal trends, Carl George presents a model that can mobilize your church for outreach. The author draws from his own extensive church-planting and church-growth experience to provide you with step-by-step strategies, based on a biblical understanding of the church and its mission.

Developing a Vision for Ministry in the 21st Century. Aubrey Malphur,. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1992.

Malphurs believes many churches have no clear vision for ministry--some have the wrong goal and some have too many. With practical principles and helpful worksheets, Malphurs shows how to define an organization, give it direction, and build popular support. While Malphurs' theology does not fit many UCC churches, his methodology is worth noting.

The Purpose Driven Church Warren, Rick. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995

What drives your church? Every church is driven by something. Tradition, programs, personalities, events, seekers, and even buildings can each be the controlling force in a church. But Rick Warren believes that in order for a church to be healthy, it must become a purpose-driven church, built around the five New Testament purposes given to the church by Jesus. Warren recommends a five-part strategy to grow . . .Warmer through fellowship—Deeper through discipleship—Stronger through worship—Broader through ministry—Larger through evangelism. The Purpose-Driven Church shifts the focus away from church-building programs to emphasizing a people-building process. Warren says, "If you will concentrate on building people, God will build the church." Again, once you get past Warren's theology, his methodology is worth noting.

Transitioning Dan Southerland, Zondervan Publishing House 2000

This book takes readers through a step-by-step process that can help any church make the transition from being program driven to purpose driven. It is practical, and down to earth. Again, it's theology is not as strong as its methodology.

Spiritual Entrepreneurs. Michael Slaughter,. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995.

Spiritual Entrepreneurs tells the story of an innovative pastor and leadership team who intentionally led their church to take spiritual risks. By using six principles, renewal can come to any church. These six principles are focus on: (1) Jesus Christ (2) the Bible (3) new forms of worship (4) a commitment to membership (5) equipping lay people for ministry (6) spiritual leadership. Slaughter believes that church leaders are inspired to work tirelessly when they hear or learn of good-news stories. He also believes that covenants, Christianity training, and an innovative small-group structure are vital in producing high-commitment members


Growing Spiritual Redwoods. William M. Easum and Thomas G. Bandy, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997.

Growing Spiritual Redwoods is an effort to help church leaders answer the kinds of questions that confront congregations and Christians in this era of rapid and uncertain change. Easum and Bandy argue that the congregations to whom the term "spiritual redwoods" can be applied are grown slowly, becoming vigorous centers of witness and mission.

Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism: Living in a Three-Storied Universe Walter Brueggemann Abingdon Press

Describes evangelism as a drama: God's victory over chaos and death, announcement of victory, and its appropriation by hearers; inquires how the Bible portrays evangelism. Bruggemann here describes evangelism as a drama in three scenes in a sequence which recurs throughout the Bible. Recommended by David Schoen, Evangelism Ministry Team Leader

Reclaiming Evangelism: A Practical Guide for Mainline Churches Jan G. Linn, Chalice Press 1998

Reclaiming Evangelism offers detailed practical steps for reclaiming this essential ministry, plus a model for restructuring congregational life to implement these steps. This book offers a view of evangelism that takes seriously the need to achieve a balance between what works and biblical faithfulness. Church leaders concerned about this ministry will find it both provocative and practical. Recommended by David Schoen, Evangelism Ministry Team Leader.


The Celtic Way of Evangelism. GeorgeG. Hunter. Abingdon Press. 2000.

Celtic Christianity—the form of Christian faith that flourished among the people of Ireland during the Middle Ages-has gained a great deal of attention lately. George G. Hunter III points out that, while the attention paid to the Celtic Christians is well deserved, much of it fails to recognize the true genius of this ancient form of Christianity. What many contemporary Christians do not realize is that Celtic Christianity was one of the most successfully evangelistic branches of the church in history. The Celtic church converted Ireland from paganism to Christianity in a remarkably short period, and then proceeded to send missionaries throughout Europe.

North America is today in the same situation as the environment in which the early Celtic preachers found their mission fields: unfamiliar with the Christian message, yet spiritually seeking, and open to a vibrant new faith. If we are to spread the gospel in this culture of secular seekers, we would do well to learn from the Celts. Their ability to work with the beliefs of those they evangelized, to adapt worship and church life to the indigenous patterns they encountered, remains unparalleled in Christian history. If we are to succeed in "reaching the West . . . again," then we must begin by learning from these powerful witnesses to the saving love of Jesus Christ.Recommended by David Schoen, Evangelism Ministry Team Leader.

Christian Chaos: Revolutionizing the Congregation. Thomas G. Bandy. Abingdon Press. 1999.

Thomas Bandy continues his exploration of congregational life by arguing that the organization of a congregation—its boards and committees—constitutes a crucial ingredient in its vitality and mission. The way in which a church is organized will make all the difference in whether it becomes what Bandy has named elsewhere a thriving church system or a declining one. The book concludes with a compelling call for "turning the laity loose" through cell group ministry, unleashing the Spirit-driven Christian chaos by which a congregation can thrive in the challenging days ahead.


Out of the Saltshaker & into the World: Evangelism as a Way of Life Rebecca Manley Pippert, Sandy Larsen and Dale Larsen InterVarsity Press / August 1999 Through stories, biblical insight and plain common sense, Becky Pippert helps us feel relaxed and enthusiastic about sharing our faith.


The Church and the Dechurched: Mending a Damaged Faith. Mary Tuomi Hammod. St. Louis: Chalice Press. 2001.

"Dechurched" people are those who have lost a faith they valued or left a faith community because of a bad experience. They are our coworkers, classmates, family members, even church members, whose wounds make it difficult for them to trust the church or in many cases even to believe in God. The book is about reaching out to the dechurched to help them restore their damaged faith—and about how churches can repair the damages to their own faith that lead to dechurching.

In Search of the Unchurched: Why People Don't Join Your Congregation Alan C. Klaas An Alban Institute Publication

What's working and not working in your congregation? You'll explore the factors that inspired and motivated changes to reverse decline as other congregations wrestled with the same issues you're facing: ministry to current members, ministry to the unchurched, worship, changing neighborhoods, and more.. This book is based on comprehensive studies of the characteristics of congregations that are growing and congregations that are not growing. Easily understandable for clergy and congregational leaders.Recommended by David Schoen, Evangelism Ministry Team Leader.


Becoming a New Church: Reflections on Faith and Calling Malcolm Warford, United Church Press. 2000.

The church is being challenged to renew and redefine itself and its ministries by liberating itself from past constraints and crafting new ways of "being church." Warford offers well-reasoned, articulate reflections on what meeting this challenge means. Renewal is not a matter of restoring what already has been, but being committed to thoughtful, faith-based innovation. He invites us to think of ourselves as pilgrims in a community where there are no clearly marked road signs, but where we have a shared memory of Jesus who made us free to live open to the world and its potential for transformation



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