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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
BLESSrevAustell GAAge: 35-44Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5The way the church was meant to be!December 30, 2010BLESSrevAustell GAAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5In my final year of seminary (Fall 2005), I wrote a paper on collaboration amongst churches and particularly why so little actually happened. In my research, people told me I needed to talk to a man that was making it happen in Atlanta, Chip Sweney of Unite! Since writing that paper, I've had the opportunity to become a part of Unite! and it has changed my ministry and my church forever.
A New Kind of Big tells the story of how churches, large and small, have come together to achieve what they can't on their own- community transformation. The book is an easy, quick read with real-world examples and stories. Whether a pastor or lay leader in a small or large church, this book will lead you forward in the Kingdom task that our Lord has given us.
Sweney contends that the local church has responsibility for the welfare of its community and leads churches step-by-step through the process of becoming a catalyst for community transformation. Sweney paints the vision for churches coming together as the Body to accomplish a task too large for any one church- taking a city from floundering to flourishing.
I gained four key revelations or reminders reading the book:
1. The emphasis on partnerships. So often a church wants to start and run a ministry by itself. Sweney advocates for the power of working alongside the experts already in the trenches, organizations that know the needs more intimately and have already strategized effective ways to help. It's important to point out that churches shouldn't just dump money and ask for an update every so often. Instead, churches should find a lay champion and engage its people in the ministry.
2. Real ministry is done through relationships: relationships with those in our community, relationships with other churches' leaders, relationships with partners, relationships with the people we serve.
3. The Kingdom call to become an externally-focused church of influence in our city.
4. The concept of "Channels of Cultural Influence" (Chapter 10) - These eight channels- education, health care, business, art and entertainment, media, nonprofits, government, and law/justice- are the playing field for our Kingdom work. By leveraging the members of our churches who are already living and working in these channels, we can increasingly reflect the characteristics of the kingdom of God throughout society and that is when true community transformation takes off.
RobMcQuearyDuluth, GAAge: 35-44Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5A New Kind of BookDecember 7, 2010RobMcQuearyDuluth, GAAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5First a disclaimer... I am proud to call Chip Sweney my friend. That said, if his book sucked there is no way I would write a review. I would just quietly say, "Wow, buddy, that sure was interesting."
I loved this book for so many reasons. To make the review (hopefully) easier to read, I'll bullet-point them here:
* this book is NOT about an individual church's "do it like us" perspective
* this book is NOT a "wait 'til you become a megachurch" perspective
* this book IS humble yet honest
* this book IS valuable for the stories it tells
* this book IS valuable for the questions it answers
* this book IS valuable for the questions it asks
* this book IS valuable for the space it leaves for dreaming what BIG can be
* this book IS a potential template for all kinds of trans-denominational ministry
* this book SHOULD be a required reading textbook for anyone seeking justice for their city
* this book WILL become a modern classic
If you read only one book in 2011... this is your read. Thanks for sharing your journey, friend.
John KarnowskiDuluth, GAAge: 35-44Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Great way to view ministryDecember 2, 2010John KarnowskiDuluth, GAAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I couldn't put the book down. I loved the way Chip humbly presented the idea that churches (note the lowercase 'c') can collaborate to do the work the Church was meant to do. He paints a picture of what the Church should be doing for those outside the walls of buildings, in the communities in which they exist. Any faith-based organization at any level can read what Chip and many leaders around him have done and are doing and apply it in their local field of harvest. I am a first-hand witness to the transformational principles espoused in "A New Kind of Big" and the miraculous works of God in Duluth, GA.
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