If you or a group in your church would like to read more about connecting with your community, here’s a bibliography of books our staff has found helpful. Perhaps one would be a good study for your church council or mission team.
Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, John C. Maxwell, Thomas Nelson publishers, 2010. This is a book for those wishing to improve their ability to connect with others in many different context. It’s described as a practical, step by step guide for relating better.
The Externally Focused Church, Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson, Group, 2004. A great guide to shift the focus of your church from inside to outside, find the balance between service and worship, and get lots of practical ideas.
Growing an Engaged Church, Albert L. Winseman, Gallup Press, 2007. Based on the research of the Gallup organization regarding the engagement of church members, this is a good resource for those wondering about the difference between “pew-warmers” and deeply engaged disciples.
Jesus Insurgency: The Church Revolution from the Edge, Rudy Rasmus and Dottie Escobedo-Frank, Abingodon Press, 2012. Written by two creative urban pastors, this book shows how the church can live out its mission and ignite a movement.
The Power of Asset Mapping, Luther K. Snow, The Alban Institute, 2004. If your congregation isn’t sure what it has to offer the community, try this simple, energizing approach to learning how to act on the gifts God has given you.
New Wine, New Wineskins: How African American Congregations Can Reach New Generations, F. Douglas Powe, Abingdon Press, 2012. A resource for African American congregations who need to reclaim their missional focus while remaining true to their historical identity.
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Barbara Ehrenreich, Metropolitan Books; 10th Anniversary Edition, 2010. Individuals and churches who want to be in ministry with the poor will get an inside view of what it is like to survive on minimum wage in America.
The Race to Reach Out: Connecting Newcomers to Christ, Michael J. Coyner and Doug Anderson, Abingdon Press, 2004. Help in turning visitors into members and new members into fully committed disciples. Here’s a challenge to move beyond being a “friendly church.”
Renovate or Die, Bob Farr, Abingdon Press, 2011. Practical, no-nonsense advice on moving congregations from maintenance to mission-driven ministry. The author is the architect of the Healthy Church Initiative developed in the Missouri Annual Conference.
You Only Have to Die, James A. Harnish, Abingdon Press, 2009. A compelling story of one church and one pastor, describing how to discern God’s mission for your church and put it into action.
Rev. Evelyn Fisher, director
Great Plains Congregational Excellence