We're living in a postmodern society where mainline church membership is declining and congregants are aging. What's the key to bringing about true renewal? Arguing that "cultural change" goes deeper than just adding new programs, Robinson suggests concrete strategies for leading life-transforming worship; implementing Christian formation for all ages; and actively involving people in ministry. 152 pages, softcover from Eerdmans.
Many recent books have attempted to address the "crisis" in the mainline church. Anthony Robinson here makes a significant -- and in many ways unique -- contribution to this discussion by bringing his personal insights as a pastor to bear on the issue of renewing congregational life.
Writing from twenty-five years of experience in four congregations of differing size, location, and ethnic makeup, Robinson prescribes concrete changes in the practice of ministry that have been tried, tested, and lived out to great success. At the heart of his framework for church renewal is what he calls "cultural change." According to Robinson, technical or programmatic change is not sufficient to address the needs of the day. He argues for changing the very culture of mainline congregations, which involves recognizing and fostering their particular gifts and genius rather than trying to remake them into something they are not. His fruitful strategies for renewal touch every aspect of congregational life, from personal spiritual formation to church leadership.
ANTHONY B. ROBINSON is founder and president of the Seattle-based Congregational Leadership Northwest and senior consultant for the Atlanta-based Center for Progressive Renewal. His other books include Transforming Congregational Culture.
"This book is a 'must read' for all clergy and lay leaders in the twenty-first century. Anthony Robinson offers rare gifts -- the honed observations of an experienced pastor, gracious humility and honest repentance for his own mistakes, a keen comprehension of the massive changes in our society, and urgent challenges for churches to be biblically transformed into missional communities. These are gems your church needs."
Ben Campbell Johnson
"Too many mainline congregations operate on old assumptions about their role in today's world. Robinson, a pastor, has worked his way through these misperceptions to new goals of ministry. He calls us back to the purpose of the church -- the transformation of life -- and he gives practical, workable approaches for making the necessary shifts. Every mainline pastor should read and utilize the insights of this book."
E. Stanley Ott
"An excellent compass giving direction to transforming the culture of mainline congregations in our postmodern world. Robinson here offers genuine hope to mainline churches. I want every leader in my congregation to read this outstanding guidebook."
"Journeyman relief pitcher Dan Quisenberry once announced, 'I have seen the future, and it's much like the present, only longer.' This is a book for church leaders who suspect that that's not true for mainline Protestant congregations. Few will agree with everything Tony Robinson has to say, but he's given us a wonderful guide to shaping a new future for old congregations."