The book selections made by the Co-Moderators of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) for church-wide book study provide an opportunity for PC(USA) members, mid councils, and staff members to read, reflect, share, and listen, with the help of a variety of resources and conversation-starters provided with each selected book.
The 2019 selection is Neighborhood Church: Transforming Your Congregation into a Powerhouse for Mission, by Presbyterian leaders Krin Van Tatenhove and Rob Mueller.
You can learn more about the book below. As resources are made available, you will be able to find them here.
The Study Experience
On May 20, 2019, a pre-presbytery book discussion on Neighborhood Church was sponsored by Mid-Kentucky Presbytery and well attended. A very lively discussion ensued. Here’s what John Odom, Presbyter for Community Life, had to say about the experience:
“Neighborhood Church gave congregations in Mid-Kentucky Presbytery stories of hope and real-world examples from churches throughout the U.S. of what embodying the gospel with neighbors can look like. It emboldened congregational leaders to name and claim deep resources for ministry already present, and stirred them to dream of concrete ways that their congregations can become the embodiment of Christ with their communities.”
How can we embody the values of love, grace, and justice?
This is a resource to inspire churches to become a vibrant and engaging community partner with the families and neighborhoods living around them. Drawing on their combined sixty years of parish experience, wisdom from Asset-Based Community Development, and compelling case stories, Van Tatenhove and Mueller do more than just call us to incarnational ministry. They give practical, essential tools that lead to communal conversion, develop the DNA of listening, spur fruitful partnerships, promote integrated space, and sustain long-term visions.
Download a short, Korean-language book summary.
Praise for Neighborhood Church
"As a pastor of a small, urban church in a city where church attendees are in the minority, I have had to reconstruct what it means to be church in the 21st century. Mueller and Van Tatenhove not only address the realities and ministry challenges churches face but give constructive framework on how to shift towards a transformational and missional way of being that is refreshing and enlightening."
Theresa Cho, Co-pastor of St. John's Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, California
"This is precisely the book the majority of mainline Protestant churches must read. Most are in a very different neighborhood from their founding and must find a new incarnation to faithfully follow Jesus in this place."
John Fife, retired pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Moderator of the 1992 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and co-founder of the Sanctuary Movement in the 1980's.
"Every Christian faith community would tell you that they have a desire to emulate the compassionate heart of Jesus in the world, but when the rubber meets the road, they can find the task difficult. In Neighborhood Church, Krin and Rob give ministers, leaders, and pew-sitters everything they need to begin the transformative work of living outwardly. They remove both the mysteryand the excuses!"
John Pavlovitz, author of A Bigger Table and Hope and Other Superpowers
"The authors offer a vision of robust, authentic, passionate, risk-embracing ministry that shifts the focus from self-absorption to outward engagement, from constructing facilities to building partnerships, and from maintaining an institution to forming relationships."
Robert Schnase, United Methodist Bishop and author of Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, Revised and Updated