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Among the treasures expressed in this book is: The deeper root of consumerism in the church context is sensuality. When that root has been cut in the individual life, then genuine ambition for God, and pride in the cross, can flourish. Success is redefined by the spread of Kingdom presence throughout the community.

The co-pastors of Oak Hills Church came to know this through their own personal growth together—often in the travail and tumult of congregational processes and the pain of radical authenticity between them. First, you must intend to do that, and must lead your people into that intention. Disciples are self-starters in kingdom living, on the road with Jesus day in and day out. The gospel of life now in the present kingdom of the heavens Matthew 4: It has been done, repeatedly in Christian history, and can be done now. The Trouble with Twilight: Add To Cart 0.

The Simple Truth Bible: The Best Minute of Your Day. The Furious Sound of Glory: Daily Reflections for Highly Effective People. Why Still Care about Israel?: Finding Love in all the Right Places - eBook. Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered. Healing the Wounded Heart: Removing Obstacles to Intimacy with God - eBook. Copastors Kent Carlson and Mike Lueken tell the story of how God took their thriving, consumer-oriented church and transformed it into a modest congregation of unformed believers committed to the growth of the spirit--even when it meant a decline in numbers.

As Kent and Mike found out, a decade of major change is not easy on a church. Oak Hills Church, from the pastoral staff to the congregation, had to confront addiction to personal ambition, resist consumerism and reorient their lives around the teachings of Jesus. Their renewed focus on spiritual formation over numerical growth triggered major changes in the content of their sermons, the tenor of their worship services, and the reason for their outreach. But the health and spiritual depth of their church today is a testimony of God's transforming work and enduring faithfulness to the people he loves.

Honest and humble, Renovation of the Church is Kent and Mike's story of a church they love, written to inspire and challenge other churches to let God rewrite their stories as well. Read it for the church you love. InterVarsity Press Publication Date: Mary Poplin , Dallas Willard. This certainly serves a purpose and I am in high agreement with Carlson and Lueken's criticism of the American church and its pastors but their was more to be told there.

Peterson told stories on himself as well as members of the church he pastored. His stories could speak to the transformation that can occur in church and to churches under the reality of the Gospel.

Carlson and Lueken never reached this level of reflection and expression. May 15, Jon Stephens rated it it was amazing. I recently finished reading Renovation of the Church: In fact they hold Willow Creek and Bill Hybels in high regard. Instead the focus of the book is about how they have come to depend less on attractional models of ministry and are now pursuing the unique direction and vision God is specifically leading them in, focusing on spiritual formation not unlike the focus at Willow Creek with their Reveal study. The chapters of the book focus on subjects like: Here are a few quotes that stood out to me: We take up our cross and follow him.

It is daily death. We engage in the challenging work of putting on the new self. We decrease so he can increase. We live in the name of Jesus. This is not a calling for the elite few. The final quote that caught my attention was one from Henri Nouwen: This is a great book that wrestles with vital questions for the Church gathered and for the individual follower of Jesus. I think this is a must read for those in vocational ministry, pastors, directors, support staff, and church boards. Mar 18, Shaun Lee rated it it was amazing.

Dallas Willard in the forward makes the observation that "we [in the dominant form of church life today] have trained Christians to be demanding consumers, not disciples From the get go, I appreciated the humility of the a Dallas Willard in the forward makes the observation that "we [in the dominant form of church life today] have trained Christians to be demanding consumers, not disciples From the get go, I appreciated the humility of the authors in admitting that they did not have their act all together and did not fall into the trap of over promising success by following an x-number point plan.

With Ecclesiology being my second most favourite topic in theology first being biblical theology , it was surreal to agree emphatically with the authors page after page after page even though the church context I have been observing and reflecting about in far away Singapore.

I too long for the day that my church would seek to grow spiritually formed Christians, rather than consumers addicted to week after week of worshiptainment. That powerful encounters at the altar would translate into lives forever changed by the Gospel, so much that believers cannot live in their old sinful ways. Their authenticity kept me constantly engaged, because their ten year or so struggle to transit from Willow's seeker friend model to one whereby the unchurched are faced with the invitation to repent rather than receive countless blessings upon blessings.

If you enjoy books by established church consultants like Gary McIntosh or Aubrey Malphurs, this book complements them so very well! The authors do not just know ecclesiological theories or doctrinal philosophies, as co-pastors they have sought to put many of these into real life application. On the topic of co-pastoring, this is the first time I have heard of such a notion, but it seems to be a really great idea having considered their reflection of the pros and cons of it. I heartily recommend this book, especially if you are a pastor frustrated with your congregation's disinterest in missions, evangelism, social justice, christian education etc.

I received this book from InterVarsity Press for the purposes of providing an unbiased review. All views are my own. Oct 01, Luke rated it really liked it. This is a very interesting book. A complete indictment of much of mainstream, contemporary Christianity and call to greater discipleship. I like the theology of vocation and they certainly support that.

Core Issues for Churches - Spiritual Formation

At times I felt they had a reverse theology of the cross - "we are growing smaller so we must be more faithful than those large, worldly churches. The smaller we are, the more faithful we are. Maybe we are so far out of date that we are becoming the new fad. May it be so! I agree with much of what they said, but thought they made changes that were needlessly drastic and shocking. Jesus is calling us, as his disciples, as his apprentices in the art of living righteously, to establish beacheads for his kingdom, wherever God has planted us. And so the kingdom of God breaks out not so much when we gather together in the church on the weekends, although that certainly happens, but when a mother cares for her children, a carpenter frames a house, a businesswoman leads a strategic planning meeting, a mechanic tunes an engine, a student sits in class, a couple develops a relationship with their nonchurches neighbors.

To be faithful to the Great Commission, church leaders must push back at a religious culture that measures success by how large our church is, by how many programs we have, by how popular we are. When a church remembers that it exists to supply followers of Christ with realistic, reliable and practical means to live in the reality of the kingdom of God and establish new beachheads, then it is doing what it is called to do. Apr 01, Lindsay Hall rated it really liked it. Carlson and Lueken are courageous pastors to be so transparent about their decade-long journey of finding the balance between pastoring beleivers and reaching the lost.

Every question they wrestled with was grounds for deep reflection within my own heart, and as I would often find myself discouraged by the instricacies of this balance, I would again be encouraged by their journey.

Foreword: Renovation of the Church: What Happens When a Seeker Church Discovers Spiritual Formation

They don't claim to have all the answers. In fact, they are very humble in their claim to any sort of knowledge. The Carlson and Lueken are courageous pastors to be so transparent about their decade-long journey of finding the balance between pastoring beleivers and reaching the lost. The book is simply their story of what has happened and what challenges they continue to face.

As an elder in my own church, I'm so glad to be asking questions I didn't before think to ask. This book is an easy read. For a topic as profound as how to run a church, it reads like a light memoir. I enjoyed it immensely and found myself talking about it to many people after I finished it. The only reason I didn't rate it 5 stars was that they make many generalized jabs at the church. Their plight is obviously tough: And with their specific gripes, they actually did a pretty classy job.

But the other side of the coin when it comes to critical writing is the attacking the mass syndrome. People become a little more bold and brazen when they can direct their complaints at a mass instead of to an individual. In parts, it felt like they were poking at the mass of the church in a way that was not productive. All in all, however, I appreciate this book and how it has challenged me. I greatly encourage others especially leaders in the church to read it and engage in the conversation with their own churches.

Feb 20, Reid rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is the story by two pastors of a Sacramento CA church that decided to intentionally move in this direction. Moving from 'consumerism' approach to programing they now emphasize thoughtful programing that helps disciples become more 'apprenticed to Jesus'.

Attendance dwindled from to but the core is larger and more focused on the advancement of the kingdom of God where the disciples are. No more feeding the monster of bigger, better church programs to get more people into the building but more intention of feeding and growing the people of the kingdom to 'go and make disciples'.

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Gone is the Willow Creek model, although are reasonable in critiquing that as well. I really liked this story of this church. I especially liked the musings on the worship service and the focus on the Content of the service. They break it down into four parts: Music style flowing from thoughtful focus with the above in mind, then takes side stage not center stage in a sense. Sincerity and devotion is not the center, but the Story of God and the content is the focus. Large doses of 'denial to self' vs 'consumerism' is appropriate in working through how to participate and receive the church service.

This is not another blueprint or 'how-to' so much as it is a Biblical, authentic discussion. High fives, all the way around. The message and the thoughtful struggle evident in this book speaks coherently to the voices in my head as I attend my own church's service each week. Jun 02, Amy rated it it was ok. I am was a member of the Oak Hills Church which these two pastors call home.

I saw this transformation and while I can certainly understand their reasonings for it and even appreciate the need for some change as a Christian, I am more and more drawn to the realization that they have missed the mark entirely. Throughout the book they preach the need to look inside and find spiritual formation; to fight against the consumerism of the modern church. And while I can applaud their words, the fact of I am was a member of the Oak Hills Church which these two pastors call home. And while I can applaud their words, the fact of the matter is that these two pastors one of whom I adore have forgotten the Great Commission itself.

They have so blatantly rejected the seeker model that they turned away 1, attendees - and bragged about it! At one point they even mentioned dropping down to "truly devoted" believers quotations is not an actual quote from the book, just FYI. I have nothing but respect for Kent Carlson far less for Mike Lueken , but this book has seriously disappointed me.

I'm taking my consumerism and looking for another church. Oh, and by the way, for two pastors who hate consumerism so much, they sure can put it aside to sell specialty coffee in the church AND hold a book fair where this book is on sale. Sep 30, John Foster rated it it was amazing Shelves: I read this one because Jim Herrington recommended it. In some ways I wish he hadn't. It cuts a little too deep for some of us "lifers" who have spent our entire lives doing church to try to get more people "in the door". Which, by the way, was never something Jesus actually did.


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He had a funny way of having "membership drives" - that is, sending many pretend-followers away in favor of sinners who were drawn to his deeply passionate message of Grace and a new way of living called The Kingdom li I read this one because Jim Herrington recommended it. He had a funny way of having "membership drives" - that is, sending many pretend-followers away in favor of sinners who were drawn to his deeply passionate message of Grace and a new way of living called The Kingdom life.

This journey or model of church isn't for everyone, just those who taking this idea of following Jesus to be like Him and to be made into people who make disciples who do the same. I appreciated the authors' candor about the struggle to transition from an attractional model to a transformational one without getting too far into the weeds of de-construction.

This is a very good read for those hungry for more out of church life. And it's a dangerous one for those currently content in our age of spritual consurism. It conicts us of our "self oriented", what's in it for me, kind of church evalutation and participation. It's good medicine, even if it does taste a little bitter.


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  • Jun 10, Keith Regehr added it Shelves: We in the dominant form of church life today have trained Christians to be demanding consumers, not disciples. The Kingdom of God is now. The Gospel as an invitation to be an apprentice of Jesus. If Christ is King, everything, quite literally, every thing and every one, has to be re-imagined, re-configured, re-oriented to We in the dominant form of church life today have trained Christians to be demanding consumers, not disciples.

    If Christ is King, everything, quite literally, every thing and every one, has to be re-imagined, re-configured, re-oriented to a way of life that consists in obedient following of Jesus. Eugene Peterson Change starts with leaders, and it starts with their formation as followers of Jesus Implications for our work: To what extent are we facing the absence of formation in our client congregations? To what extent is spiritual formation a response to the issues our client congregations are facing?

    Renovation of the Church: What Happens When a Seeker Church Discovers Spiritual Formation - eBook

    In what circumstances should orienting towards spiritual formation be part of our recommendations? How do we as consultants support our client congregations in orienting themselves toward spiritual formation? Dec 19, Ben Zajdel added it. What does it look like to turn a megachurch into something smaller, slower, and more quiet? As the pastors at Oak Hills, they resided over the growth of one of the fastest growing churches in the region. But it wasn't long before they felt God was leading them in another, smaller direction.