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The Church and the Crisis of Community: A Practical Theology of Small-Group Ministry

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2011 / Paperback

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Product Description

Contemporary society is in crisis, its structures broken and people thirsty for true communion with the sacred and with one another. Although most U.S. congregations have small-group ministries to help address this "crisis of community," too often these small groups fall far short of their potential.

In The Church and the Crisis of Community: A Practical Theology of Small-Group Ministry Theresa Latini lays out both a theoretical groundwork and a practical guideline for successful small-group ministry. Examining the latest sociological research and the real-life practices of small groups in six congregations, she shows how well-developed groups--those with mission statements, leadership training, and solid organizational structure--can be a truly effective tool in the church's work of transforming broken and shallow forms of community into life-giving, life-sustaining relationships with God and others.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 251
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0802865860
ISBN-13: 9780802865861
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Contemporary society is in crisis, its structures broken and fragmented, and its people overstimulated, overstressed, and thirsty for true communion with the sacred and with one another. Yet although more than eighty-five percent of congregations in the United States conduct small-group ministry, too many of these groups begin with no clear sense of purpose, structure, or spiritual focus and end by veering away from Christian tradition and unknowingly settling for shallow versions of popular Christianity.

In The Church and the Crisis of Community Theresa Latini lays out both a theoretical groundwork and a practical guideline for successful small-group ministry. Examining the latest sociological research and the real-life practices of small groups in six congregations, she shows how well-developed groups — those with mission statements, leadership training, and solid organizational structure — can be a truly effective tool in the church’s work of transforming broken and shallow forms of community into life-giving, life-sustaining relationships with God and others.

Author Bio

Theresa F. Latini is assistant professor of congregational and community care leadership at Luther Seminary and an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) serving at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. This is her first book.

Endorsements

M. Craig Barnes
-Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
"Latini offers a refreshingly serious theology of small-group ministry. We have long needed this book.

Kenda Creasy Dean
-Princeton Theological Seminary
Who knew Karl Barth had so much to offer small-group ministries? The Church and the Crisis of Community goes light-years beyond any small-group book I have read, inviting the reader into actual congregations as they seek to address Americans' longing for community through small groups. With abundant concrete examples, profound theological wisdom, and powerful theoretical insight, Theresa Latini establishes herself as a fresh, powerful new voice in practical theology — and a wise companion to those leading congregations in a culture craving communion. The church will be learning from Theresa Latini for years to come.

J. Todd Billings
-Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan
"Points readers to a rich, Christ-centered vision of koinonia and communion, all the while presenting an insightful account of how to integrate the social sciences into a robustly theological vision. This is a groundbreaking book in the field of practical theology!

E. Stanley Ott
-Author of Transform Your Church with Ministry Teams
"In our day of faceless relationships and pervasive social media Theresa Latini offers a wonderful understanding of the theological foundations of genuine koinonia and how to facilitate its growth in congregations through small groups...This is a book I would like to put into the hands of every pastor.

Editorial Reviews

Kenda Creasy Dean
— Princeton Theological Seminary
"Who knew Karl Barth had so much to offer small-group ministries? The Church and the Crisis of Community goes light-years beyond any small-group book I have read, inviting the reader into actual congregations as they seek to address Americans' longing for community through small groups. With abundant concrete examples, profound theological wisdom, and powerful theoretical insight, Theresa Latini establishes herself as a fresh, powerful new voice in practical theology — and a wise companion to those leading congregations in a culture craving communion. The church will be learning from Theresa Latini for years to come."

M. Craig Barnes
— Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
"Latini offers a refreshingly serious theology of small-group ministry. We have long needed this book."

J. Todd Billings
— Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan
"Points readers to a rich, Christ-centered vision of koinonia and communion, all the while presenting an insightful account of how to integrate the social sciences into a robustly theological vision. This is a groundbreaking book in the field of practical theology!"

E. Stanley Ott
— author of Transform Your Church with Ministry Teams
"In our day of faceless relationships and pervasive social media Theresa Latini offers a wonderful understanding of the theological foundations of genuine koinonia and how to facilitate its growth in congregations through small groups. . . . This is a book I would like to put into the hands of every pastor."

Theology Today
"A welcome addition not only in addressing a core aspect of contemporary congregational life, but also in seeking to build a neo-Barthian practical theology."
 

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