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. 
 
 

Willie Jennings

Although Willie Jennings’s landmark book, The Christian Imagination, is a vital resource for understanding the effects of race on Christian communities, the following commentary is perhaps more pertinent to this guide. 

Deepening Congregational Life

Acts: A Theological Commentary on the Bible (Belief Series)

n this new commentary for the Belief series, award-winning author and theologian Willie James Jennings explores the relevance of the book of Acts for the struggles of today. While some see Acts as the story of the founding of the Christian church, Jennings argues that it is so much more, depicting revolution—life in the disrupting presence of the Spirit of God. According to Jennings, Acts is like Genesis, revealing a God who is moving over the land, “putting into place a holy repetition that speaks of the willingness of God to invade our every day and our every moment.” He reminds us that Acts took place in a time of Empire, when the people were caught between diaspora Israel and the Empire of Rome. The spirit of God intervened, offering new life to both. Jennings shows that Acts teaches how people of faith can yield to the Spirit to overcome the divisions of our present world.

*** LISTEN to Willie Jennings’s related talk
from the 2014 Slow Church Conference…

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