Sideline Church: Bridging the Chasm between Churches and Cultures
Sideline Church: Bridging the Chasm between Churches and Cultures  -     By: Thomas G. Bandy
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Abingdon Press / 2018 / Paperback
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Sideline Church: Bridging the Chasm between Churches and Cultures

Abingdon Press / 2018 / Paperback

This product will be released on 08/21/18
Email me when this product is available.
Stock No: WW871474


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Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 200
Vendor: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 2018
ISBN: 1501871471
ISBN-13: 9781501871474

Publisher's Description

In 1990 Tex Sample US Lifestyles and the Mainline Church intended to help Protestant churches become more relevant to cultural diversity, but it did much more than that. It revealed the growing crack between established churches of all kinds and the changing, fracturing, multiplying societies around them. Sideline Church is a second installment, so to speak, almost thirty years later. The crack revealed in 1990 has now widened into a chasm. Most churches, regardless of their tradition, are now on the sidelines. They observe cultural change, but don’t care to participate in it.

Like spectators at a ball game, these churches watch. They may sing songs or shout encouragement, or they may shout criticisms and lament mistakes. Occasionally churches will leave their seats to get a hot dog with their friends or quarrel with their enemies. Occasionally there is a "wave" as sections of the Christendom stadium rise to their feet to celebrate their particular denomination or tradition. Often today there are angry confrontations as liberals and conservatives shout insults at one another across the stadium. Churches become so preoccupied with what is going on in the stands that they pay less and less attention to the game. The cheer and boo as some churches leave their seats and change sides. They project their own hopes and fears on individual players who become proxy representatives for a particular cause or policy.

If we were to reverse the metaphor and pretend that the spectators were actually players, we might see the game descend into chaos and become a brawl. Even more obvious, however, would be the empty stands. Fewer and fewer people are watching. The very spectacle of Christians brawling with each other has lost appeal. Nobody will buy tickets. The media won’t bother to cover the game.

Even megachurches are not immune. Their membership is remarkably homogeneous by race, age, income, family status, marital status, language, etc. The membership city does not even come close to mirroring the demographic and lifestyle diversity of the city itself. Typically, its location on the beltway suggests a church on the sidelines of the city, their penetration into demographic diversity limited to offsite outreach away from the "home" campus.

Many churches will never be able to cross that chasm between churches and culture. When push comes to shove, privilege measures risk, many churches don’t want to try anyway. When it comes to change, they will always worry more about members they might lose than strangers they might bless. Some churches can and will cross that chasm. Those that do will discover that the key is empathy. It is empathy of the most intimate and profound kind. It is a true "heart burst" for someone other than yourself.

 "For years Tom Bandy has been attempting to get the once-mainline-oldline-now-sidelined church back in the game.  In this fast-paced, energetic book, Tom shows us how churches can be in mission to the diverse cultures that seem to respond to our stolid mainline moderation with a yawn.  Tom’s book can be the catalyst that, in your church and mine, restores the adventure of being the Body of Christ in motion." William H. Willimon, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School


Author Bio

Thomas G. Bandy is an internationally-recognized church consultant and leadership coach. He works across the spectrum of church traditions, denominations, congregations, contexts, and cultures. Tom coaches transforming and transitioning congregations, church plants, multi-site and cross-cultural churches, and faith-based nonprofits. He is the president of Thriving Church Consulting LLC and can be found in his virtual office at ThrivingChurch.com. He is the author of several books on congregational leadership.

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