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Churches often realize they need to change. But if they're not careful, the way they change can hurt more than help.
In this culmination of his well-received Ministry in a Secular Age trilogy, leading practical theologian Andrew Root offers a new paradigm for understanding the congregation in contemporary ministry. He articulates why congregations feel pressured by the speed of change in modern life and encourages an approach that doesn't fall into the negative traps of our secular age.
Living in late modernity means our lives are constantly accelerated, and calls for change in the church often support this call to speed up. Root asserts that the recent push toward innovation in churches has led to an acceleration of congregational life that strips the sacred out of time. Many congregations are simply unable to keep up, which leads to burnout and depression. When things move too fast, we feel alienated from life and the voice of a living God.
The Congregation in a Secular Age calls congregations to reimagine what change is and how to live into this future, helping them move from relevance to resonance.
Part 1: Depressed Congregations 1. The Church and the Depressing Speed of Change 2. Speeding to the Good Life, Crashing into Guilt: Why 1.6 Billion Dollars Isn't as Good as You Think 3. Fullness as Busyness: Why Busy Churches Attract and Then Lose Busy People 4. The Strip Show: When Sacred Time Is No Longer the Time We Keep Part 2: Examining Congregational Despondency; Our Issue Is Time 5. When Time Isn't What It Used to Be: What's Speeding Up Time? 6. When Brains Explode Dimension One: Technological Acceleration 7. Minding the Time: Why the Church Feels Socially Behind Dimension Two: Acceleration of Social Life (Part One) 8. Why The Office Can't Be Rebooted: The Decay Rate of Social Change Dimension Two: Acceleration of Social Life (Part Two) 9. When Sex and Work Are in a Fast Present: The Church and the Decay Rate of Our Social Structures Dimension Two: Acceleration of Social Life (Part Three) 10. Why Email Sucks, and Social Media Even More: Reach and Acceleration Dimension Three: Acceleration of the Pace of Life (Part One) 11. Reach and the Seculars Dimension Three: Acceleration of the Pace of Life (Part Two) Part 3: Moving from Relevance to Resonance 12. Time-Famine and Resource Obsession: Another Step into Alienation 13. Why the Slow Church Can't Work: Stablization, Alienation, and Loss of the Congregational Will to Be 14. Alienation's Other: Resonance 15. When Bonhoeffer Time Travels: Resonance as Carrying the Child 16. To Become a Child: Matthew 18 and Congregation That Is Carried 17. Ending with a Little Erotic Ecstasy Index