A new study opportunity: Christianity for the Rest of Us
Accepted wisdom has been that America’s mainline Protestant churches are in decline. In this study we will look at how some small to medium size mainline churches with certain Christian practices have been thriving in the 21st century.
Why do some small to medium size mainline Protestant churches grow while most seem to struggle? Diane Butler Bass investigated the rich spiritual life of various Episcopal, United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and Lutheran churches, and found that Christian practices—such as hospitality, contemplation, diversity, justice, discernment, and worship—emerged as core characteristics of vital, healthy congregations seeking to rediscover authentic Christian faith and witness.
This is not a “how to” study. It is not a list of prescriptions. There is no twelve-step method here that is going to turn a declining church into a booming one. It is rather an opportunity to see how consistent application of some Christian practices have characterized other mainline churches that are vital growing congregations.
Participants in this study will read the book – Christianity for the Rest of Us, by Diane Butler Bass. There are no videos. The cost of the book is about $12, available online from Amazon, Cokesbury, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers.
We will start with zoom discussion sessions, but perhaps change to “in-person” at some point before the end of the study.
The study will be eight or nine weeks in length, on either Sunday or Monday evenings, subject to consensus of those participating. If you are interested, please contact Charlie Walden ([email protected]) or send an email to the church office. Let us know which evenings (Sunday or Monday) you would be available, as well as your preference of evening, if you are available for both.
If enough people are interested, we will begin the study in late July or early August.