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. 
 
 

Marva Dawn

Although Marva Dawn has written a number of helpful books for Christian communities on themes such as discernment, suffering, and children, two books stand out as especially relevant for this guide:

Deepening Congregational Life

Truly the Community: Romans 12 and How to Be the Church

Many writers have decried the lack of intimacy and community in our contemporary culture. Few of them, however, provide a fully biblical description of community or give specific methods for its recovery. Through an intensive study of Romans 12, Marva Dawn here offers precisely this kind of practical guidance for building vital Christian community life. Originally published as The Hilarity of Community, this volume continues to be one of the best sources for understanding what it means to live together as the church of Christ.

Deepening Congregational Life

Powers, Weakness, and the Tabernacling of God

As we embark on the new millennium, uncharted challenges await the church. This volume by one of today’s most valued voices on modern church life offers a wealth of insight into the role of local churches in the twenty-first century.

Rooted in solid biblical research and extensive experience, Marva Dawn’s newest book will help churches and their leaders avoid falling to the temptations of contemporary secular culture, including the popular “success” models of church management. Dawn offers groundbreaking scholarship–from the first significant critique of Walter Wink’s work on “the powers” to a relevant new translation of 2 Corinthians 12:9–and challenges readers to rethink the goals and mission of the congregation, to develop practices that follow God’s “hidden” way of weakness, and to expand their sense of what it means to be a faithful church.

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