Lovett Weems Briefly Reviews Three Books of Interest to Church Leaders

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Rebuilt: Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, Making Church Matter
by Michael White and Tom Corcoran, Ave Maria Press, 2013.

This book will surprise you in many ways. It tells the story of a revitalized congregation near Baltimore that bears some of the familiar marks of other such stories. The differences are what stand out. While this is a Catholic parish (the foreword is written by Cardinal Timothy Dolan), many of the basic principles that underlie the turnaround — not just the strategies — came explicitly from Protestant evangelical training conferences. The three phrases used in the subtitle make this clear. Another major difference from other similar accounts is that, while a gifted priest has led this transformation, the change did not occur quickly or easily. The new leader did not come with answers that solved the stagnation and decline. It took a long time to get it right. Leading Ideas will feature excerpts from this book in coming months. Available at Amazon and Cokesbury.

Greening Spaces for Worship and Ministry: Congregations, Their Buildings, and Creation Care
by Mark A. Torgerson, Alban, 2012.

Churches increasingly want to demonstrate environmental responsibility through their congregational life, practices, and decisions. A helpful website for persons of faith who practice creation care is the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, whose mission is “to encourage people of faith to weave values and programs of care for God’s creation throughout the entire fabric of religious life.” The book noted above on “greening spaces” is particularly designed for churches that are building or renovating, though any church with an active environmental ministry can benefit from it. Available at Amazonand Cokesbury.

Leading God’s People: Wisdom from the Early Church for Today
by Christopher A. Beeley, Eerdmans, 2012.

Books on church leadership draw from a wide range of literature, but there are far too few references from what Christopher Beeley seeks as a rich body of wisdom — the early church leaders. His primary focus is on pastoral identity and practice. From the beginning of the church, Beeley finds that church leaders were addressing debates that are still alive. The wisdom of the early church is consistent with Christ’s teaching that there is no power or fruitfulness apart from close connection with God, and those who would lead must be servants of all. Available at Amazon and Cokesbury.

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About Author

Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

Lovett H. Weems Jr. is senior consultant at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, distinguished professor of church leadership emeritus at Wesley Theological Seminary, and author of several books on leadership.


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