Use­ful books to help your church grow

The Church of England - - BOOKS / SUNDAY - Steve Mor­ris

100 Ways to get your church no­ticed Neil Pug­mire CHP, pb, £15.58 Ev­ery­day Church Tim Ch­ester and Steve Tim­mis IVP, pb, £11.99

Lead­ing a church can be an iso­lat­ing busi­ness. So many things need to be done, but it can be hard to get the re­sources and peo­ple to help.

But with my busi­ness back­ground I tend to think a bit dif­fer­ently. I ask ques­tions: what things can we do that cost noth­ing but will make a dif­fer­ence? (Pick some low-hang­ing fruit). What sto­ries have we to tell and who wants to hear them? What about all those peo­ple on our doorsteps? How do we connect with them and their lives? Why should we ex­pect them to come to us?

Both th­ese ex­cel­lent books help us to an­swer th­ese ques­tions. 100 Ways to get you church no­ticed, should be in the pos­ses­sion of at least one per­son in ev­ery church in the land. Lit­er­ally, it is so packed with ideas I’d sug­gest just open­ing it at ran­dom and do­ing what­ever it says on that page. Want to spruce up your noticeboard – this tells you how. Need to re­cruit a wel­come team – look no fur­ther. Want to do bet­ter posters – Pug­mire’s your man. This isn’t a glam­orous book but it is pro­foundly use­ful.

Now I may be sad, but I’ve taken to read­ing a chap­ter a night of this book. I found my­self in need of the ser­vices of a pen and note­book and I am al­ready mak­ing changes at St Cuth­bert’s, North Wem­b­ley, where I am vicar. This book is a snip. It could do with more on so­cial me­dia, but what is here is help­ful. But this is just a tiny moan.

Ev­ery­day Church is also a use­ful book. Its aim is to help us get out of the men­tal­ity that peo­ple ac­tu­ally want to come to church. Quite bru­tally we are told that our whole ap­proach to evan­ge­lism needs to change. Some­thing I agree with. The need, Ch­ester and Tim­mis, ar­gue is to stop think­ing about putting on events and start build­ing gen­uine at­trac­tive com­mu­ni­ties. We need the Gospel and a Com­mu­nity – much as the early church did. The best chap­ter here is that on pas­toral care. It will con­front you deeply and make you think again. I also loved the chap­ter on ev­ery­day mission and could have bro­ken out into ap­plause. It is so good on tips for con­nect­ing with lo­cal peo­ple – not in one of those cheesy “in­ten­tional” ways, but nat­u­rally and gen­uinely.

If you buy both th­ese books and act on what they say – your church will be a bet­ter Gospel church and com­mu­nity and it will grow. Plus you’ll have much more fun do­ing church.

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