This book examines why liberal churches remain appealing, where they are growing and why liberal theological approaches to ministry are more widespread than many assume to be the case. "Why Liberal Churches are Growing" is a fascinating journey through different case studies, social science reflection, and theological analysis. The contributors include sociologists, theologians, and practical theologians. The book has four sections. The first, 'defining themes', looks at the social justice witness (community organizing), church growth as conversational, and the challenge of turning liberal churches around. The book then looks at three case studies - starting with congregations and moving to a denomination. Under the heading 'macro issues', it explores in more detail the underlying disposition of liberal churches and revisits such themes as social justice, homosexuality, and alternative indicators of vitality. The book concludes with three essays on 'clergy and growth'.
Table of Contents
Foreword; Introduction; Defining Themes; Chapter 1 Community Organizing as Lived Faith; Chapter 2 Conversational Church Growth; Chapter 3 Reorganizing the Chairs on the Titanic; Case Studies; Chapter 4 The Lord is Here: The Nine o'Clock Service; Chapter 5 The Shape of Things to Come; Chapter 6 It's, Not All About Us; Macro Issues; Chapter 7 Paradox and Persuasion; Chapter 8 Social Justice and Church Court; Chapter 9 Open and Affirming of Growth; Chapter 10 Oldline Protestantism; Clergy and Growth; Chapter 11 Theological Match between Pastor and Congregations; Chapter 12 Two Conditions for a Growing Liberal Church; Chapter 13 A View from the Pew.
Ian Markham is Dean of Hartford Seminary, Connecticut, USA Martyn Percy is Principal, Ripon College, Cuddesdon, UK.