If the divine liturgy really is as beautiful as we claim, wouldn’t more people attend? Wouldn’t the church grow? Driven by our desire for growth, we count, we analyze, we make charts, and we strategize, but often with few discernible results. That is probably the result of focusing on secondary aspects of church life. As we know, the very existence of a church is a gift of God’s presence and not the result of any particular actions taken by human beings. For that reason, church is primarily about being something rather than doing or achieving something. So the growth of the church is not reflected in ever-increasing numbers, dollars, and activities, but rather in steadily growing conformity to the divine ideal. So in order to evaluate ecclesial growth, we will first have to ask what the church is supposed to be. One answer to that question is captured in the four marks of the church given in the creed: Oneness, Holiness, Catholicity, and Apostolicity. These four characteristics serve as a matrix or framework within which we can focus on the primary aspects of ecclesial being and help it grow and become what it was intended to be.
Kirchengemeinschaft – communio wurde zu einem Schlüsselbegriff ekklesiologischer Überlegungen in der Ökumene. Dieser Band dokumentiert ein Lehrgesprächsergebnis, das die Vollversammlung der GEKE sich 2018 zu eigen machte. Es zieht eine Bilanz der seit 1973 auf der Grundlage der Leuenberger Konkordie verwirklichten Kirchengemeinschaft und präzisiert das theologische Konzept von Kirchengemeinschaft unter Berücksichtigung der neuesten ökumenischen Diskussionen. Ferner diskutiert es die Herausforderungen, vor denen die GEKE als Gemeinschaft von Kirchen in Europa gegenwärtig steht, und zeigt Perspektiven für eine weitere Vertiefung dieser Gemeinschaft auf. Abgedruckt ist auch ein bislang kaum verfügbarer Text, der Vorüberlegungen zur Leuenberger Konkordie enthält und für das Verständnis ihres Modells wesentlich ist. Church communion – communio has become a key concept in ecclesiological deliberations in ecumenical contexts. This volume presents the result of a doctrinal conversation, adopted by the General Assembly of the CPCE in 2018, evaluating the church communion realised on the basis of the Leuenberg Agreement since its signing in 1973 and specifying the theological concept of church communion in the light of the latest ecumenical discussions. In addition, it contemplates the challenges that the CPCE currently faces as a communion of churches in Europe and suggests potential approaches to further intensifying this communion. This volume also contains a reprint of a previously scarcely available text revealing key considerations prior to the conclusion of the Leuenberg Agreement, which provides an invaluable tool for understanding this model of church fellowship.
Is your church facing a period of change? Are you overwhelmed with too much to do? Or are you searching for a new vision? If you are looking to take your church in a new direction, then How to Develop Your Local Church can help you decide which path to follow. Written by an experienced practitioner, it will help you to understand your congregation better: how it operates, what its members take for granted, what their priorities are and what the 'character' of the congregation is. The book then explains some of the reasons for frustration and conflict in church life, and points to positive ways forward, giving guidance on planning and decision-making. Just as no two churches are the same, there is no 'one-size-fits-all' answer to how your church might develop. Rather, it is only by drawing upon the collective wisdom of the local congregation that worthwhile change will begin to happen.
The cross is a sign of evil, of consolation for all those tortured and suffering, a sign of hope, of liberation. Christ takes on the socio-political, cultural and economic conditions of those who have been depriced of their rights. The church needs to risk its sustainability by being with and for the poor. The Spirit works freely in people and the world, therefore also in other religions besides Christianity. Rather than only focused on the person or individual, a more communal ecclesial focus for resistance and transformation is essential. 5 sections in English, 4 in German (Series: Series: Radicalizing Reformation, Vol. 5) [Subject: Theology, German Language]
We are living in a time in which we are seeing a rapid unravelling of institutional structures in Western society and a re-alignment of values. The church is not faring well in this process. This book takes the form of an earthed and practical theology and asks the question ‘what is the church?’ Rather than a purely theoretical, or a purely pragmatic approach, it looks to the radical Reformers of the sixteenth century and finds there an emphasis on the church’s invisible realities and on community both of which have a relevance to the twenty-first century.
Many of us long to experience the fullness of God and his purpose for our lives. Not a whole lot of us ever do. The reason is that we have departed in some significant ways from the biblical view of Christian life and growth. The New Testament highlights the communal, missional, and eschatological aspects of our walk with God. We grow in our faith as individual Christians to the degree that we are (a) deeply rooted relationally in a local church community that is (b) passionately playing its part in God's grand story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration, and (c) intently anticipating the summing of all things in Christ when Jesus returns. In recent decades, American evangelicals have traded away community, outreach, and the Bible's teaching about eternity future for the pursuit of individual religious experience in the here-and-now. Why We Need the Church to Become More Like Jesus traces this departure from biblical Christianity through recent decades of popular evangelical trends and reminds us that faith centered on community, mission, and the story line of Scripture remains the key to the spiritual formation of the individual Christian.
Das Dokument Kirche und Israel gilt als die erste gemeinsame Positionsbestimmung der reformatorischen Kirchen Europas zum Verhältnis von Christen und Juden. Es bietet Analysen der biblischen Grundlagen und der geschichtlichen Entwicklung des Verhältnisses von Kirche und Israel, erörtert bisherige Versuche einer Klärung der schwierigen Beziehung und entfaltet schließlich eine eigene Bestimmung dieses Verhältnisses. Praktische Empfehlungen zur Berücksichtigung des Judentums in Theologie und Kirche sowie ein Aufruf zur Wahrnehmung der gemeinsamen Weltverantwortung schließen die Studie ab. In der Neuauflage wird der Text, der 2001 von der Vollversammlung der Gemeinschaft Evangelischer Kirchen in Europa verabschiedet wurde, unverändert abgedruckt, ergänzt wurden ein Bericht von einer Auswertungstagung des Jahres 2011 und zwei dort vorgetragene Bewertungen der Studie von Peter Scherle und Micha Brumlik. The document Church and Israel is regarded as the first endeavour by European Reformation churches to define a common position on the relationship between Christians and Jews. It offers analyses of the biblical foundations and historical development of the relationship between the Church and Israel, discusses previous attempts to clarify the difficult relationship and finally develops its own definition of this relationship. It concludes with practical recommendations on considering Judaism in theology and the church, and a call to take joint responsibility for the world. The document was adopted in 2001 by the General Assembly of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe and is reprinted without change in this new edition. It is supplemented by a report of the conference held to evaluate its reception 10 years later, in 2011, and by two assessments of the study presented on that occasion by Peter Scherle and Micha Brumlik.
Die erstmals 2001 veröffentlichte Studie widmet sich in exegetischen, historischen und systematischen Analysen sowie Fallbeispielen aus einzelnen Ländern dem spannungsvollen Verhältnis der evangelischen Kirchen zu Staat und Nation. Sie kommt zu dem Ergebnis, dass der Protestantismus gerade aufgrund seiner Vielfalt und seiner Verwurzelung in nationalen und territorialen Identitäten eine besondere Rolle bei der Einigung Europas zu spielen hat. In Zeiten von Europaskepsis und wachsendem Nationalismus hat sie neue Aktualität gewonnen. [Church – People – State – Nation. A Protestant Contribution on a Difficult Relationship] First published in 2001, this study deals with the fascinating relationship of Protestant churches to state and nation. This is shown in exegetical, historical and systematic analyses as well as case studies from different countries. It comes to the conclusion that Protestantism has a special role to play in the integration of Europe, precisely because of its diversity and roots in national and territorial identities. In times of Euroscepticism and growing nationalism, the study has only gained in relevance.
"Starting a new organization is risky business. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, most startups fail; half of them do not reach the five-year mark. Protestant churches are not immune to these trends. Most new churches are not established with denominational support-more than 50% are actually non-denominational-and, therefore, have many of the same vulnerabilities other infant organizations must overcome. Research on both congregants and congregations has shown that millions of Americans are leaving churches, half of all churches do not add any new members, and thousands of churches shutter their doors each year. These numbers suggest that American religion is not a growth industry. Yet, more than 1000 new churches are started in any given year. What are the forces that move people who might otherwise be satisfied working for churches to the more risky role of starting one as a religion entrepreneur? In Church Planters, sociologist Richard Pitt uses more than 125 in-depth interviews with church planters to understand their motivations. First, he uncovers themes in their sometimes miraculous, sometimes mundane answers to the question: "why take on these risks?" Then he examines how they approach three common entrepreneurial challenges-recognizing opportunities, marshalling resources, and framing success-in ways that reduce uncertainty and lead them to believe they will be successful. The book combines their evocative stories with insights from research on commercial and social entrepreneurship to explain how these religion entrepreneurs come to believe their organizational goals must be accomplished, that they are capable of being accomplished, and that they would accomplish them over time"--
The John Coltrane Church began in 1965, when Franzo and Marina King attended a performance of the John Coltrane Quartet at San Francisco’s Jazz Workshop and saw a vision of the Holy Ghost as Coltrane took the bandstand. Celebrating the spirituality of the late jazz innovator and his music, the storefront church emerged during the demise of black-owned jazz clubs in San Francisco, and at a time of growing disillusionment with counter-culture spirituality following the 1978 Jonestown tragedy. For 50 years, the church has effectively fought redevelopment, environmental racism, police brutality, mortgage foreclosures, religious intolerance, gender disparity and the corporatization of jazz. This critical history is the first book-length treatment of an extraordinary African-American church and community institution.