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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2011
A New Kind of Big tells the inspiring story of how Perimeter Church in suburban Atlanta started a partnership called Unite! with other area churches in order to increase its reach in a community that desperately needed God's light and aid. This partnership has grown to a network of nearly 150 churches that are bringing kingdom transformation to Atlanta. For instance, on just one weekend in 2007, 6,000 volunteers from over 60 churches in metro Atlanta gathered to work on 250 service projects inside the ten-mile radius around Perimeter Church. Thirty welcome baskets were delivered to refugees, a dozen homes were repaired, a thousand Bibles were given away, 750 "encourage a teacher" gift bags were distributed. And that's not all: volunteers orchestrated 20 block parties in low-income apartment communities and 65 neighborhood food drives that collected 25,000 pounds of food.
Chip Sweney shows Christian leaders how they too can discover the power of this "new kind of big" to pool their resources, energy, and time to minister to their communities, no matter how long or short their membership rolls.
Kitti Murray is a wife, mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. She and her husband, Bill, live in downtown Atlanta, where they are part of a network of urban church planters. Kitti graduated from Agnes Scott College in 1978 with a degree in English/Creative Writing and German.
Chip Sweeney is the author of A New Kind of Big, and is a person who is passionate about being the hands and feet of Jesus outside of the four walls of the church. After years of mission-driven youth ministry, he became the director of Perimeter Churchs Community Transformation Ministry. Instead of seeking to start hundreds of small outreach ministries, the church realized it was best to join God in what he was already doing around them. So as the church sought to have an impact in specific neighborhoods and communities, they sought to partner with people who were already equipped to do the ministry. In some cases, this meant being more intentional in leveraging relationships they already had. In other cases, it meant forging new relationships with leaders where they were seeking to have an impact. The impact on the church and the community through the Community Transformation Ministry has been nothing short of amazing.
The book has much to commend. It advocates for networking and partnering a church's ministry and community outreach. In an age where so many churches are out to build a bigger and better church than the congregation across town, this attitude is refreshing to hear. It gives a model for a church to transition from an "attractional" model to a "missional" model. It focuses the church on building the kingdom of God where the Spirit is working. It offers a decentralized model of community outreach instead of the pyramid scheme of power and control that most churches use.
Yet, I find some things about the book unrealistic. A New Kind of Big implies in the subtitle (How Churches of Any Size Can Partner to Transform Communities)and throughout the book that they are offering a model for all churches to have an impact regardless of size. While I believe that networking and partnering are important for churches regardless of size, I dont believe it would be easy for many small churches to replicate what this book advises in a way that looks similar to Perimeter.
All in all, this was an exciting book. I hope many people read it and dream about what God can do through their churches when they don't have their ministry centered around their buildings and programs, and dont care who gets the credit for their churchs ministry and impact. Clint Walker, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
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