Download and read online Unafraid and Unashamed in PDF and EPUB With the approaching General Conference in 2019, concern that issues related to sexual orientation could cause schism within the United Methodist Church. Wil Cantrell examines various viewpoints in an effort to bring better understanding to members of the church.
Download and read online Fresh Expressions in PDF and EPUB A wave of new Christian churches are emerging to reach unchurched and dechurched people who live in a culture that is increasingly non-religious and multi-religious. These new forms of church gather and network with people who typically have never been to church. The new faith communities listen to people and go where they are on the journey toward Jesus. They are deeply ecumenical but do not lose their distinctiveness because they learn fresh ways to communicate their identity through discipleship. Fresh Expressions began in the United Kingdom where it ignited over 3000 new faith communities. In the United States the movement is putting down roots in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Ken Carter and Audrey Warren offer this book as a group study for church leaders and congregations who are in the grip of Holy Spirit motivation to renew their tradition by reaching people who are dechurched or not yet in a discipleship relationship with Jesus. Each chapter includes two Bible study experiences for group conversation.
Download and read online Born of Conviction in PDF and EPUB Winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters' Nonfiction Award The dominant narrative of the role of white citizens and the white church in Mississippi's civil rights era focuses on their intense resistance to change. The "Born of Conviction" statement, signed by twenty-eight white Methodist pastors and published in the Mississippi Methodist Advocate on January 2, 1963, offered an alternative witness to the segregationist party line. Calling for freedom of the pulpit and reminding readers of the Methodist Discipline's claim that the teachings of Jesus permit "no discrimination because of race, color, or creed," the pastors sought to speak to and for a mostly silent yet significant minority of Mississippians, and to lead white Methodists to join the conversation on the need for racial justice. The document additionally expressed support for public schools and opposition to any attempt to close them, and affirmed the signers' opposition to Communism. Though a few individuals, both laity and clergy, voiced public affirmation of "Born of Conviction," the overwhelming reaction was negative-by mid-1964, eighteen of the signers had left Mississippi, evidence of the challenges faced by whites who offered even mild dissent to massive resistance in the Deep South. Dominant narratives, however, rarely tell the whole story. The statement caused a significant crack in the public unanimity of Mississippi white resistance. Signers and their public supporters also received private messages of gratitude for their stand, and eight of the signers would remain in the Methodist ministry in Mississippi until retirement. Born of Conviction tells the story of "the Twenty-Eight" illuminating the impact on the larger culture of this attempt by white clergy to support race relations change. The book explores the theological and ethical understandings of the signers through an account of their experiences before, during, and after the statement's publication. It also offers a detailed portrait of both public and private expressions of the theology and ethics of white Mississippi Methodists in general, as revealed by their responses to the "Born of Conviction" controversy.
Download and read online Meet the Goodpeople in PDF and EPUB Meet the Goodpeople helps church leaders—clergy, staff, and laity—to reach the growing number of ‘nones’ in their communities. Ross offers seven practical strategies that church leaders can immediately grasp and implement. These strategies are shown to work, equipping congregants to share their faith and their church life with others in ways that are authentic and faithful. Ross derives these strategies from John Wesley’s own teaching and life. I was inspired! This is a terrific read that my leadership team will be reading together. --Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection … helpful to pastors and laity alike! --Scott Jones, Bishop, Great Plains Conference (UMC) … Roger shares the spiritual core that leads and sustains vital, life changing ministry. -Mike Slaughter, Senior Pastor Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church …A beautifully written book… --Bill Easum, Author, Consultant, and Founder, 21st Century Strategies, Inc. … seven practices worthy of conversation, contemplation and promulgation. --Jonathan D. Keaton, Bishop, Illinois Great Rivers Conference (UMC) …helpful to Christians across the denominational landscape. Study it in groups - It will deepen your faith and help you move far beyond church walls. --Martha Grace Reese, Author of Unbinding the Gospel …Roger invites us to see, love and relate to the neighbors all around us with a new heart and new eyes. --Gregory Vaughn Palmer, Bishop, West Ohio Conference (UMC) … Roger shares how pastors and church leaders can shape the culture of their church to reach people. --Jim Griffith, Griffith Coaching
Download and read online That ll Preach in PDF and EPUB Experienced preacher, teacher and author, Charley Reeb, gives readers a 5-step plan for writing and delivering a sermon that can transform lives for Christ. He covers preparation, sermon structure, storytelling, and how to ‘preach with presence’. He examines lectionary and topical preaching models, and shows the reader how to determine which model to use; he further instructs the reader to use the 5-step plan for each model. Finally, That’ll Preach! offers sermon outlines and full sermons, as examples to illustrate the book’s teaching. The entire book stems from the author’s view that sermons must be engaging in order to be effective. This laser focus results in a book that is powerful and immediately useful, concise and purposeful. It is a book for every preacher.
Download and read online Leadership Directions from Moses in PDF and EPUB Author Olu Brown shares principles from the story of Moses, to guide leaders through some of the most gut-wrenching situations they will face. Leadership Directions from Moses answers the question, ‘How can I remain effective in answering my own call, when people around me—some of whom are trusted friends and colleagues—will not (or cannot) stay on the journey we’ve set out to complete? How can I keep moving forward, when the path suddenly becomes so difficult?’ The book covers topics like how to help others leave gracefully, how not to be upended when others choose to leave, how to have difficult conversations, and how to find unexpected opportunity in the challenge of new vacancies. It is full of practical help, including examples from pastors and churches across the US. It is also filled with compassion and wisdom—a pastoral book for pastors facing this difficult, nuanced, and often-emotional topic.
Download and read online Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don t Belong To in PDF and EPUB WHEN LILLIAN DANIEL APOLOGIZED to a total stranger for every bad thing that had ever been said or done in the name of Christianity, he was surprised that she was responsible for all that. "The Inquisition? Don't even raise it, I'm way ahead of you. I was mad about it before you even heard of it, that's how open-minded I am. Salem witch trials? I know! So embarrassing. Can I hang out with you anyway? You're too kind." "Religion is responsible for all the wars in history," they would say, and I'd respond, "You're so right. Don't forget imperialism, capitalism, and racism. Religion invented those problems too. You can tell that because religious people can be found at all their meetings." In this book, Daniel argues that it's time for Christians to stop apologizing and realize that how we talk about Christian community matters. With disarming candor laced with just the right amount of humor, Daniel urges open-minded Christians to explore ways to talk about their faith journeys that are reasonable, rigorous, and real. AFTER THE PUBLICATION of the much talked about When Spiritual But Not Religious Is Not Enough: Seeing God In Surprising Places, Even the Church, Lillian Daniel heard from many SBNRs as well as practicing Christians. It was the Christians who scolded her for her forthright, unapologetic stand as one who believes that religious community matters. The Christians ranted that Christians, by definition, tend to be judgmental, condemning hypocrites, which is why people hate them. By saying religion matters, she was judging those who disagree, they said, proving the stereotype of Christians. Better to acknowledge all that's wrong with Christianity and its history, then apologize. In this book, Daniel shows why it matters how we talk about Christian community while urging open-minded Christians to learn better ways to talk about their faith.
Download and read online The Passionate Church in PDF and EPUB It’s good to talk about ministry. It’s better to do it, and do it passionately. In 2008, the United Methodist Church lifted up “Four Areas of Focus” for ministry, and churches have responded. But at Ginghamsburg Church, in the rust-belt town of Tipp City, Ohio, the church has been doing exciting and effective ministry in those four areas for 35 years and more. Engaging in Ministry with the Poor Improving Global Health Developing Principled Christian Leaders Creating New and Renewed Congregations The work has led to a host of creative ministries and organic growth…because they were meeting the needs of their community and their world as the hands and feet of Christ. The book comes with a built-in facilitator Guide to encourage pastor peer groups and other leadership groups interested in deepening the discussion.
Download and read online Preaching in the Era of Trump in PDF and EPUB Now more than ever, it's time to preach. The election of Donald Trump left countless faith leaders across the country speechless. Now that he is president, silence must give way to prophetic preaching. Christians have long debated whether politics should be addressed from the pulpit. Following Donald Trump's controversial, divisive rise to power and the sweeping changes his fledgling administration has already proposed, that's no longer a question -- political preaching will be the order of the day, even for pastors who try to steer clear of controversy. It's up to preachers to make the church great again by leading it to embrace and embody God's concern for those whose lives are at stake in a Trump administration. Veteran teacher, preacher, and author Wes Allen offers a blueprint for addressing current events through a Gospel lens, persuasively and pastorally-- without engaging in divisive, antagonistic rhetoric. Available in EPUB, EPDF, and paperback
Download and read online What Are We Fighting For in PDF and EPUB With all the issues facing The United Methodist Church today, there are plenty of theories and opinions about what we should do. Frankly, many of us are weary of the relentless squabbling associated with all the rhetoric. What are we fighting for? This question not only points us to the futility of our disunity but also compels us to consider what we are fighting for—what deserves our greatest intensity and effort as we seek to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Thomas J. Bickerton offers a way to move beyond all the discord to a hope-filled future by exploring how we can come together around what matters most so that the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes a vibrant part of our lives and witness. He says that fights, feuds, and uncertainties can distract us, leaving us ineffective and mired in mediocrity and decline; but focusing on what matters most causes our ministries to flourish and the church to become a relevant and vital presence in the community and world. With a warm and practical approach, he leads us on a journey of discernment, inviting us to explore: the spiritual problem at the heart of the issues we’re facing, three foundational reminders, guidelines for determining the essentials necessary to make disciples, a motto for working together in the midst of disagreement, and thoughts about the ultimate essential, love. Each chapter includes practical stories of real people and churches who are attempting to stay centered on what matters most as they live out the calling to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Whether you read the book alone or as part of a group study, you will find the courage to say yes to the things that are worth fighting for and no to the fighting that so easily distracts us.
Download and read online What Are We Fighting For Leader Guide in PDF and EPUB With all the issues facing The United Methodist Church today, there are plenty of theories and opinions about what we should do. Frankly, many of us are weary of the relentless bickering associated with all the rhetoric. What are we fighting for? This question not only points us to the futility of our disunity but also compels us to consider what we are fighting for—what deserves our greatest intensity and effort as we seek to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton offers a way to move beyond all the discord to a hope-filled future by exploring how we can come together around what matters most so that the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes a vibrant part of our lives and witness. He says that fights, feuds, and uncertainties can distract us, leaving us ineffective and mired in mediocrity and decline; but focusing on what matters most causes our ministries to flourish and the church to become a relevant and vital presence in the community and world.With a warm and practical approach, he leads us on a journey of discernment, inviting us to explore: the spiritual problem at the heart of the issues we’re facing, three foundational reminders, guidelines for determining the essentials necessary to make disciples, a motto for working together in the midst of disagreement, and thoughts about the ultimate essential, love. This Leader Guide includes everything a group leader needs to plan and facilitate the six sessions, helping participants to explore what they have read, to view a video, and to discuss the reading and video with the group. The guide walks leaders through the study format and provides options for tailoring sessions to the time-frame and style of each group.
Download and read online A Grace Full Life in PDF and EPUB Grace is God's all-reaching, never-ending, game-changing love for you and me. In this series, Jorge Acevedo and Wes Olds examine God's Word and discover how grace works in our lives and in our world. A Grace-Full Life seeks to answer the questions: In what ways is God an ever-present God?, Why does God want to have a personal relationship with me?, How can I fully experience and respond to God's grace?, How can I die well surrounded by God's grace?. Themes include: Prevenient grace: God's wooing or drawing grace Justifying grace: God's saving grace Sanctifying grace: God's grace that makes us more like Jesus Glorifying grace: God's grace that welcomes us to eternity Additional components for a four-week study include a comprehensive leader guide and a DVD featuring authors and pastors Jorge Acevedo and Wes Olds.
Download and read online The Once and Future Wesleyan Movement in PDF and EPUB Jones argues that several unique factors remain available to The United Methodist Church today from the period of rapid growth between 1800 and 1840. Drawing on the image of Loren Mead’s Once and Future Church and Moises Naim’s analysis in The End of Power, Jones argues that a viable future for United Methodism is to recapture the dynamism of being a movement, with many of the characteristics of early 19th century Methodism coming to the fore. It will draw on three key works about Methodism in the first half of the 19th century: Nathan Hatch’s Democratization of American Christianity, John Wigger’s Taking Heaven by Storm, and Gregory Schneider’s The Way of the Cross Leads Home. The book talks about how the Wesleyan form of church contains important resources for the future of Christianity. It focuses on the United States and the first half is broadly applicable to all denominations in the Wesleyan tradition. The last half of the book discusses obstacles that are currently preventing the United Methodist Church from achieving its potential. It closes with a hopeful vision of what a renewed United Methodism might look like.
Download and read online A New Day in the City in PDF and EPUB Many urban congregations remember days of fame and fortune—days when their prominence downtown or in city neighborhoods mattered. Population shifts, the decline of congregations and neighborhoods, and demographic changes depleted the dreams of many urban churches. But not all churches gave up hope. Many congregations are struggling to survive, but thousands of urban churches are thriving again. Churches with revived hope learn to let go of nostalgic dreams and tired habits and to walk with God into a new day of vibrant mission and ministry. Donna Claycomb Sokol and Roger Owens share lessons they’ve learned on the job and from other urban pastors. Along the way, they challenge clichés about church leadership and strategic planning by showing what congregational renewal can look like and how it can become a reality. Each chapter features a set of practical guidelines for leading a congregation to address the questions that matter most. “The urban church can be quite a challenge. I know because I’ve served a couple. Now, two thoughtful pastors with actual urban church experience take an affectionate, positive, honest, and hopeful look at the urban church and give practical wisdom for the revival of languishing urban congregations. There’s a remarkable revival of the urban church in North America. Donna and Roger can help you be part of it!” —William H. Willimon, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, NC; retired bishop, The United Methodist Church “Three things excite me most about this book: First, these two young pastors understand the strategic importance of urban ministry and are passionately committed to it. Second, they show that when you turn from tired ‘church growth’ and corporate paradigms, choosing rather to model your ministry on Jesus, new life happens. And third, they explain that transformation is about journeying faithfully with the questions rather than looking for quick-fix techniques. This book could change your ministry.” —Peter Storey, South African church leader; W. Ruth and A. Morris Williams Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, NC
Download and read online Fear of the Other in PDF and EPUB In this no non-sense book, reliable spiritual guide, Will Willimon, invites readers to consider the gospel command to love (and not merely tolerate) those considered to be “Other” or outside mainstream Christian culture. Rooted in the faith of Israel and the Christian story and vision, Willimon brings a Wesleyan perspective to bear on what may be the hardest thing for people of faith to do: keeping and loving the "Other" as they are - without any need for them to become like us. Emphasizing biblical teaching to receive Others for who they are and their differences as gifts and mysteries bearing the grace of God, Willimon also offers a strong critique of the privileged who all too often rush to speak of reconciliation and evade the injustice of huge inequalities faced by foreigners and strangers - as well as the antagonism the stranger experiences. He identifies concrete, everyday ways persons are formed in welcoming others without annihilating their differences. Rooted in the New Testament understanding of Gentile outsiders grafted into the covenant community, Willimon invites readers to an on-the-ground faith that remembers the God who comes to us again and again through so-called outsiders, strangers, immigrants, and those without status. Beyond welcome, Christians must become “other” to the world, shaking off the dominant culture’s identity and privilege through practices of listening, humility, and understanding. “I love Will Willimon, and I love this book. Will writes with prophetic sarcasm, a touch of humor, plenty of self-effacement, and a pastor’s heart. And his words will make you laugh, cringe, cry, confess, and repent. This is a very timely book. I urge you, prospective reader, as you read this blurb on the back cover: buy and read it! You’ll be grateful you did.” —Adam Hamilton, senior pastor, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, KS; author of Half Truths “This gutsy, biblically rich, theologically searing book by Willimon gigs everybody’s sacred cow. Not only is the one whom Christ loves Other but God is Other. The ground beneath us shakes the walls that divide us. If you are holed-up happy with people who look like you, don’t read this thing. It will screw up your world.” —Tex Sample, Robert B. and Kathleen Rogers Professor Emeritus of Church and Society, Saint Paul School of Theology, Leawood, KS “Timely and prophetic, Willimon’s call to love the Other will quickly take hold of your soul, changing your preaching and your life. This book is not just a reminder of our Christian calling to welcome the Other but a call to conversion, a new way of seeing the neighbor and a new way of being in the world God desperately loves.” —Karoline M. Lewis, Marbury E. Anderson Chair of Biblical Preaching, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN “Bishop Willimon’s new book should come with a warning: Do not read unless you are ready to be changed and want to change the world!” —O. Wesley Allen Jr., Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX