Conversations, Reading Guides

Deepening Congregational Life – 10 Authors You Should Be Reading

Here at the outset of 2020, it seems that a good deal of my energy this year will be devoted to several projects focused on helping churches deepen their congregational life …

As I’ve been preparing for these projects, I’ve compiled this reading list on some of the most essential thinkers who guide us into the work of deepening our congregational life together in our local churches. I chosen to focus on authors/thinkers rather than books because most of these authors have written more than one relevant book. 
 
 

Philip Kenneson

Although perhaps the least-known of the thinkers on this least, Kenneson’s work is not to be dismissed. Like most of the authors here, Kenneson has written a number of relevant books. I’ll only mention two here.


Deepening Congregational Life

The Shape of Our Lives

The Shape of God’s Reign

These two workbooks are two parts of a singular work on congregational formation, an effort that Kenneson led in conjunction with the Ekklesia Project. This work is perhaps the most practical guide to deepening our life together of the books listed here.


Deepening Congregational Life

Life on the Vine: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in Christian Community

Many books–many fine books–have been published on the fruits of the Spirit. But none are quite like Life on the Vine. Philip Kenneson combines in this book rich, theologically grounded reflection on Christian life and practice with stunning analysis of contemporary culture. After a probing introductory chapter on the necessity and complexity of cultural analysis, Kenneson takes up each of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. He explores what each fruit means in its biblical context, then investigates how key traits of late modern Western culture inhibit the development and ripening of each fruit. Life on the Vine is that rare book that will reward the reader on many levels. It may be read as a biblical and theological study, as an inspirational work on spirituality, as incisive cultural criticism and as a practical guide to Christian discipleship.

*** LISTEN to Phil Kenneson’s related talk
from the 2014 Slow Church Conference…

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