Tuesday, May 19, 2015


On Saturday my new book CHURCH launched.

This first book is a sizable text of over 540 pages; over 30 of them footnotes. It is a historical and futuristic view of the potential God has in store for the denominational Church.

Regardless of denomination, if you are a thought leader, clergy, pastor, deacon, theologian, missionary, a social communicator,or lay leader working on God's mission - this is a book for you. If you are trying to understand the changing context in which we find ourselves undertaking ministry I think you should read this book. If you love the history of the denominational church and are interested in how that history prepares us for our future you will enjoy this book.

You can purchase CHURCH by clicking HERE.

This is the product of my sabbatical and an essential piece of understanding the bedrock research from which our strategic plan has emanated and to where we are leaning. I believe as a friend says - leaders make the future. We must step into our future by taking action today that will help us find our way in world that is volatile, uncertain, chaotic, and ambiguous. With the Gospel in hand, and the Holy Spirit within us, we are to groan towards the future of creation intended by God.

Where the church is not making headway or does not reflect the kingdom we must be willing to change. I find that the denominational church has a tendency to want to be resurrected before it is willing to die. Truly this is the characteristic of human institutions at their worst. But God is calling us forward into a new something that resembles more the kingdom God has in store for all of creation.

My hope is that this text will offer leaven to feed the Church's imagination around the work before us. It is an offering to God and the Church. It is an offering to all those who have lost hope in their denominational church over the last two decades. Most of all, it is an offering for those who deeply desire to be part of what God is doing in the world around us. It is you, the imaginative lover of Jesus, passionate missionary, and worldly pilgrim, whom I hope to engage in a discussion about the future. 

I am ever grateful to my pre-readers across the country, my reviews who have been excited about the text, and Virginia Theological Seminary Press for supporting my efforts. I am also grateful to the Diocese of Texas for the space and support to write the book. 

I hope you, as a thought leader in your denomination, read CHURCH (from VTS Press) then gather a small group of friends together and read GENEROUS COMMUNITY together (from Church Publishing which publishes in October of 2015). 

Together these two books will help create a cadre of leaders, conversation partners, that can help transform your congregation, lead you to plant new missional communities, help you transform the community and context in which you find yourself.

A GENEROUS COMMUNITY: BEING THE CHURCH IN A  NEW MISSIONARY AGE is a brief book of stories and reflections to help create an imaginative synergy between leaders and people who wish to ponder and act upon God's invitation to be at work in the world on his behalf. The book goes deeper with a set of questions, further reading, and opportunities for action which can make a vision of who we are becoming come to life in the midst of the community in which you serve.

I am grateful to Church Publishing for seeing the value of this book as a partner text to CHURCH and for the resources they put behind the effort. I am especially grateful to the Rev. Canon John Newton for assisting me in writing the reflection questions. I am also especially indebted to my new friend and editor Richard Bass who dreamed this dream with me and who did the laborious work of editing down CHURCH. Eager to keep the history and technical information in the hands of denominational thought leaders, Richard saw immediately the gift that A GENEROUS COMMUNITY could have for the parishes across the denominational church. He quickly became an essential team member and I am so glad that Church Publishing saw fit to attach him to the project.

You can purchase A GENEROUS COMMUNITY by clicking HERE.

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  • "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • "Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • "Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others." Kathleen Norris
  • "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." John Wesley
  • "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton
  • "One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans." C. S. Lewis
  • "When we say, 'I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,' we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks us for forgiveness." Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
  • "Christians are hard to tolerate; I don't know how Jesus does it." Bono
  • "It's too easy to get caught in our little church subcultures, and the result is that the only younger people we might know are Christians who are already inside the church." Dan Kimball