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Paracletos and Coaching in our NEXT and Present Church

Each month, we post a series of blogs around a common topic. This month will focus on the art of coaching and the practice of ministry. Some posts will layout insights or frameworks of coaching and some will be stories of coaching that transformed a pastor or congregation. We hope they will inspire you. We hope that inspiration will turn into actual movement in your own life and ministry so that we might move closer to that vision of the church we long for, closer to the vision of the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. We invite you to join the conversation here, on Facebook, or Twitter!

by Tom Tate

Our annual statistical report to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) this year records 156 members at Plaza Presbyterian Church. Many are older. Many are no longer able to get to church. Some have moved to be closer to family members but won’t give up their membership; and we won’t give up on them, either.

homecomingForty-eight people worshiped at Plaza on Transfiguration Sunday 2016. Twelve of them were not yet members – four were first time visitors; four attend regularly but have not joined; four are choir section leaders. All of us gathered around the communion table for the last part of worship where we sang and prayed together, celebrated the Lord’s Supper, received the blessing, and passed the peace. Fifteen minutes following worship many of us were still visiting, not yet ready to head home.

Without a coach for the past few years that Sunday experience might never have happened.

Jeff Krehbiel, pastor of Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, D.C. and our coach, came into our lives in June 2013 as part NEXT Church’s Paracletos experiment. Coaching was part of the vision for that program and a concrete way NEXT came along side us to support us in ministry.

In September of 2013, after only a couple of months of coaching, and following a summer in which we were unable to use the sanctuary because of air conditioning problems, we engaged in a two-week process in which we removed some pews, moved others, and changed the look and feel of our sanctuary. (You read that right – only two-weeks for a transformation of our sanctuary.) Today, worship in our seventy-year-old sanctuary has a fresh intimacy for us. It’s almost as if the change has communicated in a way that stimulates us with creative ideas for embodying the values of the Gospel.

During the Paracletos year, Jeff got to know the Session and me and lead a retreat for about forty members. It was there we established a new direction for our church which has become an integral part of our worship and community life. Our once-a-week, thirty minute phone conversations during the first year kept me grounded and focused. They proved so useful that they continue still. Without the coaching I am quite certain the positive things happening inside the church as well as in the community around us would not now be taking place.

We have discovered that we want to be a congregation that recognizes that God is calling us at this moment in time, not just for something out there in the future.

There’s new life in our Room In the Inn homeless ministry that provides hospitality and a warm place to stay during the coldest three months in Charlotte. We have reached out to community members, parents from our Week Day School, friends, and family to be partners in this ministry, helping us serve others as Jesus taught us.

Last November, when a regular visitor suggested that we have “Cookies and Carols” for thirty minutes each Wednesday evening during Advent, we jumped at the idea and gladly got to know twenty-five folks who live nearby and are presently unchurched. We are becoming a resource for worship for many, if not for all.

When a former member recently returned to Plaza she wanted us to become involved with the parents and children living in a nearby shelter. We said an enthusiastic “yes!” to monthly meals and fellowship that have drawn members together who had not been previously engaged in the community and are helping us define what it means to be all accepting and present in the community, learning to identify and respond to the needs of others and ourselves.

We took over the medical transportation ministry for older adults in our part of Charlotte when the agency that had been providing it went out of business. We are becoming a renewing resource for ministry for many, if not yet all.

And the Session has a greater sense of community, purpose, outreach, and faith than ever before as we are seeking to be a living testament to Jesus Christ and the teaching of the Gospel.

While we’ve all benefitted from Jeff’s coaching it is transforming me. Every week we talk about how things are going. Every Friday morning I reflect with Jeff regarding where we are and what I’m doing. The result is encouragement, guidance, perspective, challenge, and help for the week and the ministry ahead.

The result of our initial work with Jeff as coach and NEXT Church as partner has been a new vision for us, a vision that is continuing to inform everything we do, everywhere we go.

At this moment in time, God is calling us
to be a living testament to Jesus Christ and the teaching of the Gospel;
to better serve others as Jesus taught us;
to be present in the community,
identifying and responding to the needs of others and ourselves;
to be all-accepting;
to be a renewing resource for worship, education, and ministry for all;
and to communicate in a way that stimulates us with creative ideas
for embodying the values of the Gospel
everywhere we go.

To be coached, or not to be coached was not even a question three years ago at Plaza. The reality of being coached, though, has breathed new life into our congregation. It has literally changed lives, especially mine.


Tom Tate is pastor of Plaza Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC and a member of the Charlotte Mecklenburg school board.

Adding to the Offering

By Tom Tate

[Editor’s Note: Plaza Presbyterian Church was one of the pilot churches in NEXT’s Paracletos Project.]

Our worship service has changed a great deal over the year to create some new patterns that give life to our worshipping community:

  • forty-five minutes rather than sixty,
  • two hymns rather than three,
  • scripture being “told” like a story more than “read” like a treatise,
  • moving furniture to get an “in the round” feeling, and conducting worship from the Communion Table.
photo credit: miuenski via photopin cc

photo credit: miuenski via photopin cc

But, the offering was the same as it always had been. Ushers came through the congregation with offering plates. The choir sang or the organist played. Worshipers put something in the plate or didn’t. We usually sang the Doxology while the full plates were brought forward.

Recently, in a conversation with Jeff (who has served as my coach this last year) I began to wonder what we could do differently?

What could we do to engage worshipers, during worship, to make a different kind of offering?

Last January Plaza’s leaders wrote a purpose statement describing the kind of church we want to be and have printed it in the bulletin ever since. It reads,

“At this moment in time, God is calling us to be a living testament to Jesus Christ and the teaching of the Gospel;

to better serve others as Jesus taught us;

to be present in the community, identifying and responding to the needs of others and ourselves;

to be all-accepting;

to be a renewing resource for worship, education, and ministry for all; and to communicate in a way that stimulates us with creative ideas for embodying the values of the Gospel everywhere we go.”

Prayers have been based on the commitments in the statement. We’ve read it in unison. Sermons have been preached on individual sections and on the statement as a whole.

A few Sundays ago we began to use it in the offering.

A bulletin insert was prepared that reads,

“At this moment in time God is calling us to better serve others as Jesus taught [or one of the other sections of our statement].”

Instructions are also printed:

“As part of your offering today please write a sentence or phrase describing how you will seek to live into this commitment from our NEXT Church statement. Please put this in the Offering plate.”

The response has been fascinating – and more numerous than we expected, with almost 75% of worshippers participating.

Here is a sampling of what we have received thus far:

At this moment in time God is calling us…to be a living testament to Jesus Christ and the teaching of the Gospel.

  • Helping a friend through grief.
  • With my limitations of distance, age, and financial resources, I will continue to use my talents to the best of my ability.
  • I will do my best to be an active Christian in Plaza Presbyterian Church, and a “neighbor” to those about me.
  • I just began mentoring a new teacher at the high school. I hope to share my faith and love for Christ with her.
  • I am going to listen to my co-workers and be calm as a new school year begins.
  • To sing praises to God everyday.

At this moment in time God is calling us … to better serve others as Jesus taught us.

  • To say or do something for someone else every day!
  • I will call and pray for some close friends who are going through a very difficult time right now.
  • Help certain ones at Plantations Estates who are experiencing dementia.
  • Pray that The Lord will show me how to serve others around me if I can’t see them.

At this moment in time God is calling us …to be present in the community, identifying and responding to the needs of others and ourselves.

  • Ask seniors in my neighborhood how I can help them.
  • I will reach out to Shamrock Gardens Elementary and Plaza Place Family Shelter to welcome them to our fitness classes that I teach.
  • I will continue to coordinate the medical transportation service, help my mother after her surgery, and support my friends in their endeavors.
  • Lend an ear when someone needs to “vent.”
  • To possibly retire and get more involved in the homeless population.
  • I will try to learn to pray without ceasing.

The offering statements written by the congregation are being incorporated into prayers, proclamation, and announcements on subsequent Sundays. But more importantly, each and every Sunday people are seeing their lives as ones of discipleship and they commit themselves in very particular ways.

photo credit: seanmcgrath via photopin cc

photo credit: seanmcgrath via photopin cc

Our theology of worship teaches us that,

The Christian life is an offering of one’s self to God. In worship the people are presented with the costly self-offering of Jesus Christ, are claimed and set free by him, and are led to respond by offering to him their lives, their particular gifts and abilities, and their material goods. (PCUSA Directory for Worship, W-2.5001)

We’ve always offered material goods. We’re starting to offer our lives.

Tom Tate is the pastor of Plaza Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.

Changing Worship Space — Notes from the field

Editor’s Note: Periodically, we will be sharing “notes from the field” from Plaza and Community Church. We hope their experiences will help inform your own… Perhaps to shape your thinking, spark a new idea, lend some energy to tackle something new, or invite leaders in your community to reflect on a particular guiding question.If this is the first you are hearing of this project, click here for the full introduction to this pilot program. If you missed the introduction to Plaza Church, click here

By Tom Tate

Five months back in the Sanctuary after our summer experience in a much more intimate and informal setting, we are finding that some of the things we did last summer have stuck.

This was our summer worship space.

This was our summer worship space.

Our worship is now forty-five minutes in length, (11:00 to 11:45 a.m.) using a modified version of the  “Service for the Lord’s Day.” It’s the same order but with parts missing depending on the emphasis of the message. Two hymns instead of three. More expressive readings of the Bible. And we pass the Peace following the Blessing as we move back into the world. We are also singing the Peace, using a version written by Charles Austin, our former Director of Music/Organist. (One reason for the forty-five minute service is so all our members can remain for the entire service. Some who live in retirement communities have had to leave during the final hymn to get home in time for lunch. Now they can stay for the entire service.)

New "in the round" space

New “in the round” space

We have moved pews and introduced chairs in an attempt to re-create some of the intimacy we found in the Conference Room. With the Communion Table moved deeper into the congregation we are almost worship-in-the-round.

There is some informality to the service even though I am wearing a robe again and so are our choir members. While our central pulpit and the Baptismal Font remain on the “chancel platform,” most of the service is conducted from the Communion Table with members in front and on both sides, and the choir behind in the choir loft. We have continued the use of different styles of praying sometimes interspersing spoken prayer with sung verses of a hymn, lining-out the prayer for congregation participation, even singing the prayer. There is less formal liturgy. When the choir sings with piano accompaniment, and they are doing that more often, they move from the loft to surround the piano. The piano itself is moved to a more central location on those occasions.

homecoming

Preaching from the table, with the people

These changes have brought us closer together. We naturally see each other face-to-face as we worship. We are lingering after worship in a time of informal fellowship. And we seem to be more engaged in hearing the Word. Now we are working on doing the Word outside our sanctuary walls.

 


Tom Tate is the pastor of Plaza Presbyterian Church. He and Jeff Krehbiel will be offering a workshops on some of the learnings from Paracletos at the NEXT Gathering in Minneapolis!

Notes From the Field #1 – Community Church

At CPC we were proud to say about ourselves that “Community Presbyterian is a small church with a big heart.” At the outset of this revitalization work, our coaches have challenged us to see ourselves in a different context:

“Community Presbyterian Church, while having a self-identity of being a small church, is, in fact, a larger-than-normal sized church.  The perception is that in the heyday the church had 400-450 members, and now the membership stands at 143.  First, that 143 reflects a clean roll.  Good job!  Second, you are averaging 109 in worship.  That is an incredibly high ratio when compared nationally.  Again, a dramatic sign of good health.  Third, 5-6 new members joined recently, and another 6 are expected to join in before the end of the year.  That is a 7-8% increase in membership annualized – a healthy growth rate.”

Slide1

The fact that we are not considered a small church is a paradigm shift in our mindset.  Does it tell us what to do?  No, but it does cause us to think as we consider our role in the building of the kingdom of God in this community. Pastor Mike has referenced change and reform a lot in his recent sermons.  One statement was, “The world and our culture have changed and are changing radically – and we need to be open to the possibility that God is not threatened by that.”  Another crucial point Pastor Mike made recently: “God is still in charge!”

Change is not easy.  Retooling old programmatic efforts may not be the most effective approach for the future, but we think we have huge opportunity in our community and we need to explore that.  To that end, a Revitalization Team has been commissioned by Session to explore these opportunities, to engage all of us as a congregation, and to seek God’s will in this community.  Love, forgiveness, and community are why churches matter today.  We want to move forward to matter more!

Our Revitalization Team is a mix of long-term members, newer members, recent attendees and potential members and will look at opportunities with fresh eyes. Please pray for our work as we seek to see ourselves more clearly and be faithful to God’s vision for us in this day and place.

Notes From the Field #1 — Plaza

Editor’s Note: Periodically, we will be sharing “notes from the field” from Plaza and Community Church. We hope their experiences will help inform your own… Perhaps to shape your thinking, spark a new idea, lend some energy to tackle something new, or invite leaders in your community to reflect on a particular guiding question.

If this is the first you are hearing of this project, click here for the full introduction to this pilot program. If you missed the introduction to Plaza Church, click here

Notes from the Field #1 – Plaza

The summer at Plaza Presbyterian Church was refreshing, different, and energizing! We spent the summer exploring a number of church “practices” that have helped other congregations turn the corner to vibrant ministry. (Thanks to Diana Butler Bass’ Christianity for the Rest of Us for outlining these practices.) We have learned that there is no single path.

Last Spring we discovered that the air conditioning in the sanctuary was not working. Since every crisis is also an opportunity we took this one to move worship out of the sanctuary (a beautiful space that will seat at least 400) into a multi-purpose meeting room that will seat around seventy. With individual seats arranged “in the round” we’ve discovered how much we like being together, how we could recapture good times of fellowship, how helpful it is to be so close to the choir when they sing/pray with and for us, how we can be led in our singing in a variety of ways (piano, guitar, unaccompanied, as part of prayer, with poetry read between stanzas, and more).

Every week we worshiped at 10:00 a.m. and explored a practice together. We practiced and discussed it during Sunday school at 11:00. We left the church building for lunch at 11:45 to practice what we were learning.

We began with hospitality when we welcomed every worshiper with a cup of coffee or a bottle of water, a smile, a pastry, a tour of our summer worship space including a family bowl that became our baptismal font that first Sunday, a personal Bible represented the Word, a wooden chalice and platter served as reminder of the Lord’s Supper, and a small oil lamp was lighted with the flame of Pentecost’s Holy Spirit. Each week a different member brought the bowl and the Bible. Each week the waters of baptism welcomed us. Each week we gathered around the Word and sacraments.

Recognizing that we all want to find home we considered how some of us simply knew we were home when we first arrived, others had to learn our particular language, but all of us were seeking to become followers of Jesus Christ.

We discovered that when it came to the work of justice all of us had wanted to fund and build a Habitat house to begin our Second Century of service in 2007. But we didn’t know how different our reasons were until this summer. One group (among them some of our longtime members) thought we built the house to get a new family in our church. (That didn’t happen and was quite a disappointment for some.) Another group (among them our younger and newer members) said their rationale was because our community needs affordable housing and it was the “right thing” to do and they wanted a “hands on” experience in ministry. Gil Rendle’s The Multigenerational Congregation gave us a framework for recognizing such differences without having to change each others’ minds.

We entered shalom as we considered how important peace and harmony are for a people.

We found that we could pray in a variety of ways, using prayers printed and read in unison, lined out and repeated one section at a time, read responsively, and sung. We can even pray in silence encouraged with a variety of prompts, or none at all.

We have wondered about the place of testimony in our lives and whether what we have to share is something we want to include as part of our weekly worship.

We discovered that we don’t have to be alike for the church to prosper.

We’ve experienced God’s presence during our Sunday mornings together and we’ve reflected theologically, coming to the conclusion that we know something about what it means to think theologically. We even used a case study regarding the decision to exclude a hymn from the new hymnal because of theology. (Read the case study written for our Sunday School.)

This is written in September 2013. We have moved back into the Sanctuary for worship and resumed our old schedule: Sunday school begins again at 9:45; worship at 11:00. We’re taking some of what we did during the summer with us, though. Worship is still forty-five minutes in length. We are considering ways to make worship in the Sanctuary more intimate; we may even return to the Conference Room for worship on fifth Sundays. We are more creative. This Sunday, for example, the sermon will be incorporated in the Assurance of Pardon since it is about how we live in the world of God’s grace.

What’s NEXT? We’ll see.

Paracletos — Who Is Involved?

[First you’re hearing of Paracletos? Welcome! Read the introduction here.]

Paracletos LogoThe Two Congregations

Plaza Presbyterian Church is an urban-residential congregation located just outside uptown Charlotte, NC, in a rapidly changing community. Ours is a familiar story in the PC(USA):

  • From the heyday in 1958, with a peak membership of just over 1000, Plaza has experienced steady decline over the past five decades.
  • Our current worshiping congregation averages less than fifty on Sunday morning, with the average age well above sixty. There are a handful of younger families, with two teenagers and one young child in regular attendance. The majority of Plaza’s members are in retirement.
  • The pastor, Tom Tate, has been at Plaza for 25 years. Over the years strong relationships have developed between Tom and the congregation and we appreciate greatly his care and thoughtful sermons.
  • Sunday worship is traditional. The music program includes four paid soloists/section leaders.

Our church plant consists of three buildings constructed over a number of decades, in various stages of repair: A large gothic sanctuary with a fellowship hall below, facing the intersection; a two story office building, housing the church offices and a non-profit employment agency; a two story education building, housing a weekday school and community room. Of the three, the education building is in the best shape; the office building shows the most signs of aging.

Financially, Plaza faces a crisis. Current pledges and other offerings total just under $168,000 (with an average pledge of $3,300), with $32,000 of other income, toward a $250,000 budget, leaving a $50,000 shortfall that is being paid out of reserves (which currently total $330,000). Compounding the budget shortfall, the AC unit in the sanctuary has malfunctioned, requiring close to $50,000 in repairs.

In 2012 the Session projected that if current expenses did not change the congregation’s level of funding could be sustained for only five more years. A series of congregational lunch meetings were held to face this reality and talk about future. Here’s some of what we uncovered:

  • There is a certain amount of wistfulness and frustration among us. Older members remember when the sanctuary was full, with Sunday School and youth groups thriving. Even though this has not been the case in many years, for many it is still the model of a healthy congregation.
  • As the neighborhood around us has changed and many church families moved out of the immediate community, we have a less organic relationship with the surrounding neighborhood. In recent years, many areas of the nearby community have experienced gentrification, with younger, more affluent residents. The congregation has not figured out how to connect successfully with this changing reality around them.
  • Over the years, we have been involved in a variety of community outreach efforts, including active involvement in local Habitat for Humanity.
  • The big question before us is this: Are our best years behind us, or do we still have one more chapter in our future?

The lunch meetings led to two things. First, a special summer of worship and Sunday School based on Diana Butler Bass’ Christianity for the Rest of Us. Second, entering into a relationship with NEXT Church in which Jeff Krehbiel, pastor of the Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, D.C., would serve as a coach to Plaza and our pastor, Tom Tate.


Community Presbyterian Church (CPC) is located in San Juan Capistrano, CA – a small historical (18th Century Catholic mission) town surrounded by modern suburbs and connected by the I-5 freeway as part of a long corridor of communities stretching from Los Angeles to the southern border of Orange County. At the founding in 1919, Community Presbyterian was the first Protestant Church in San Juan Capistrano. The congregation grew steadily to a peak of 400 members in the mid-twentieth century.

Our current community includes 160 households with weekly worship attendance of 110 at either our contemporary or traditional worship services. The median age in the congregation is 67. There are 8 families with young children on the rolls, with some additional children and youth who are regular participants in church programs. In recent memory membership and programmatic growth has been limited.

In recent decades, our congregation’s leadership has attempted many self-studies.  In 2005-2007 CPC undertook a two-year process to refocus our direction, mission, vision, etc.  CPC engaged in a Congregation Mission Study in 2003 and completed the Natural Church Development survey in 2005.  This survey clearly told us we were very strong in loving each other, but weak in evangelism.  The outcome of the refocusing effort was a strategic ministry plan.  This largely was begun with energy (e.g., we spearheaded building 27 Habitat for Humanity houses in cooperation with the city and many other organizations).  Energy began to dissipate when we lost our pastor of four years and then had two interim ministers before our current pastor, Mike Vaughn, joined us in 2010. CPC completed a three-year growth plan in October 2012 and many portions have been implemented to date.  Most notable is our communications plan, culminating in our new website. That said, there is much left to do.

Today our identity remains strongly vested in mission and the Reformed tradition. There is a progressive and inclusive emphasis in our congregation that puts us in tension with other churches in our area (like Saddleback Church, just down the road) and with some of our sister churches in the presbytery.

CPC has a beautiful church plant, well-maintained, nestled below a major local road (add photo??).  We are very blessed with talented staff in many roles (office, accounting, preschool/kindergarten, music leaders, children’s ministry) and have an unfilled youth ministry role.  Our finances are OK.  With an annual budget of $349,000 our shortfall is about $11,000 for 2013, funded from reserves.  We have an exceptional Preschool and Kindergarten which are financially healthy and we house a Head Start program on our campus as well.  Our pledges continue to shrink as our congregation ages and some of our large givers have to cut back.

We feel confident God is not done with us but feel stuck as we look toward our second hundred years of ministry.

The Coaches

JAMES M. KITCHENS, Principal, PneuMatrix   Jim Kitchens was most recently the Interim Pastor of Calvary PC, San Francisco.  A native of Mississippi, he holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from Ole Miss, and a M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion.  Prior to coming to Calvary, he served three pastorates, including Oakland’s First Presbyterian Church, Davis Community Presbyterian Church (CA), and Second Presbyterian Church in Nashville (TN). Jim played a major role in the development of the Bread of Life Center for Christian Formation in Davis, served a term as moderator of the Presbytery of Sacramento, served as Pastor-Theologian in Residence at the Center of Theological Inquiry (Princeton, NJ), and on the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Committee on Theological Education while also mentoring first-call pastors. He has served on the Board of the Company of Pastors, and is one of four Regional Directors.  Jim is a published author, whose book, The Postmodern Parish: New Ministry for a New Era, focuses on creatively engaging rapidly changing cultural trends in the light of the Gospel. He has just completed a Coolidge fellowship at Auburn Seminary researching the application of Positive Deviance Theory for use in congregations and judicatories.

DEBORAH LONDON WRIGHT, Principal, PneuMatrix   Ordained by the PC(USA) in 1978, Deborah London Wright has specialized in adaptive change management, strategic planning, program development, and Positive Deviance implementation as a Corporate Chaplain.  With degrees from Duke University and San Francisco Theological Seminary, she served as Associate Pastor of Calvary SF, was a Trustee of the Presbyterian Foundation, adjunct faculty at SFTS, host of the KPIX-TV talk show Mosaic (CBS Affiliate), and Director of Major Gifts at SFTS.  Following Ph.D. studies at the Graduate Theological Union, she formed Avalon Enterprises, a consultancy practice specializing in funds development, corporate chaplaincy, strategic planning, and project management for NGOs in religion, education, healthcare, film and video. Clients have included The George Lucas Educational Foundation, Alvin H. Perlmutter Productions (NY), KERA-TV (Dallas PBS Affiliate), Google, The California Film Institute, the County of Marin (CA), Kaiser Permanente, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation.  Creating and implementing innovative business models for entrepreneurial non-profits has been the hallmark of Ms. Wright’s career.

THE REV. DR. JEFFREY K. KREHBIEL is pastor of Church of the Pilgrims Presbyterian Church in the District of Columbia. He is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a graduate of Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Rev. Krehbiel also completed a Doctor of Ministry degree in “Gospel and Culture” at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, in May 2004. A Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastor with over twenty-five years’ experience in urban ministry, he previously served pastorates on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City, and in an inner-city neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware, before becoming pastor in August 2000 of Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, D.C. Located near Dupont Circle, Church of the Pilgrims is the former “national church” of the Southern Presbyterians. Today it reflects the diversity of its thriving urban neighborhood, with Embassies, hotels, and high rises on one side, town houses, apartments, bars and restaurants on the other. During his tenure the congregation has experienced revival in its worship life, renewed engagement with the city through participation in a city-wide church-based community organizing effort, and invigorated outreach to young adults through innovative programs such as “Theology on Tap,” a weekly Bible study held in the tavern across the street from the church.

Paracletos Reading List

Brownson, James V. et al: Storm Front: The Good News of God. Eerdmans 2003

Butler Bass, Diana: Christianity After Religion. Harper One 2012

Hudson, Jill M.: When Better Isn’t Enough: Evaluation Tools for the 21st Century Church. Alban 2004

Kitchens, Jim: The Postmodern Parish: New Ministry for a New Era. Alban 2003

Mancini, Will: Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture, and Create Movement. Jossey-Bass 2008

Merritt, Carol Howard: Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation. Alban 2010

Rendle, Gil: The Multigenerational Congregation: Meeting the Leadership Challenge. Alban 2002

Whitsett, Landon: Open Source Church: Making Room for the Wisdom of All. Alban 2011