January is a time of fresh beginnings. Congregational leaders wanting to take a new look at their work might consider this resource: Thriving Communities: The Pattern of Church Life Then and Now by C. Kavin Rowe with L. Gregory Jones. This compact but substantive book is for leaders who want a practical, Biblically-based discussion guide to address the questions How are we doing as a Christian community? and What will make us thrive?
Drawing from recent scholarship on the Book of Acts, the authors show how the early church developed six practices that enabled their fledgling movement to thrive. These practices emerged as church leaders sought to grow communities that were distinctively Christian in a multicultural environment. Paradoxically, these practices also kept Christian communities in real and engaged relationship with the world around them.
Contemporary Christian communities can use these practices as guides to keep themselves thriving today.
The six practices are:
- networks and networking
- provision for the weak
- articulacy of belief
- processing disagreement and conflict
This book, available only as an ebook, can be read in a sitting. Each short chapter is followed by three discussion questions. It is a book intended to be used by groups. It is an accessible study, appropriate for Christian leaders from anywhere along the theological spectrum. This book offers a simple way for leaders to develop fresh new eyes as they begin the new year.