Item description for The Indispensable Guide for Smaller Churches by David R. Ray...
Overview This title complements Ray's earlier books "The Big Small Church Book" and "Wonderful Worship in Smaller Churches." He expands on the subject by treating subjects such as communal theology as a tool for understanding smaller churches.
Publishers Description The Indispensable Guide for Smaller Churches is filled with solid theology on the one hand and practical applications on the other. Ray shares the best of his discoveries during more than 30 years as pastor, denominational leader, and consultant to small churches.
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Studio: The Pilgrim Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.97" Width: 5.99" Height: 0.69" Weight: 0.92 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2009
Publisher Pilgrim Press
ISBN 0829815074 ISBN13 9780829815078
Availability 52 units. Availability accurate as of Mar 28, 2017 12:29.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Indispensable Guide for Smaller Churches?
Smaller Churches are the Right Size Sep 21, 2004
This should be required reading for pastors and members of churches with less than 100 members. No, make that indispensable reading material for churches of all sizes. So often churches struggle to grow when they are already the right size. With affirmation, Dr. Ray guides the reader to understand and finally appreciate the beauty and benfits of the small church. Let this book be your guide to a healthier church.
Integrates Theory, Theology, and Practice Jul 23, 2004
The Indispensable Guide for Smaller Churches is one of those rare books that successfully integrate theory, theology, and practice. While it may not be indispensable, it is a truly valuable resource for ministers and lay leaders in smaller congregations.
David Ray clearly loves smaller churches. This is not one of those books that try to turn smaller churches into larger churches, or to use one of Ray's analogies, to "try to turn a Volkswagen into a Winnebago." Instead, this book will help make smaller churches into better churches regardless of size.
In the first three chapters, Ray lays a solid foundation for the rest of the book. First, he provides thumbnail sketches of 20 smaller congregations. These churches serve as examples throughout the rest of the book. Second, Ray outlines his theological perspective. In general, Ray is a moderate-to-liberal Christian. As it applies to smaller churches, he emphasizes concepts of Christian community and the immanence of God. Third, Ray surveys and critiques several theoretical perspectives that inform the study of smaller churches. Ray's own theoretical contribution is a list of 30 characteristics common to smaller churches.
The middle four chapters focus on what Ray sees as the four key tasks of a church: worship, education, caring, and mission. Ray provides both general principles and concrete suggestions for small churches to improve in each of these areas. He also references his own experience and the experiences of smaller congregations described earlier.
The final four chapters focus on some special concerns of smaller churches: morale, growth, finances, and leadership. Ray considers morale to be the most important factor influencing the success of smaller churches. Growth is seen as an outgrowth of a healthy church, rather than an end in itself, and Ray provides some suggestions for healthy church growth. In tackling the difficult issue of affording to be a small church, Ray provides solid advice and a multitude of alternatives. Finally, Ray considers several alternatives for leadership: full time ministers, part time ministers, bivocational ministers, lay pastors, and lay teams.
Overall, I found the writing style to be lively, even inspirational. Ray writes with the conviction of someone who has been successful as a small church pastor and who has loved nearly every minute of it. Yet, for all its inspirational character, this is still a highly practical book. It is filled with processes, resources, and concrete suggestions just waiting to be discussed and implemented by smaller congregations. If you help lead a small congregation, as clergy or layperson, I highly recommend The Indispensable Guide for Smaller Churches.
Ray is currently the pastor of First Congregational Church in San Rafael, CA and has over thirty years of experience with smaller churches. He has written several books on the subject: Small Churches Are the Right Size (1982), The Big Small Church Book (1992), and Wonderful Worship in Smaller Churches (2000). Some material from the previous books is repeated or expanded upon here.