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Small Congregation, Big Potential: Ministry in the Small Membership Church [Paperback]

By Lyle E. Schaller (Author)
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Item description for Small Congregation, Big Potential: Ministry in the Small Membership Church by Lyle E. Schaller...

Overview
There are many questions that leaders of small-membership congregations ask themselves about their church's future. Lyle Schaller suggests that two in particular should rise to the top of the list. First, what's the right size of for a church? Is the small congregation averaging two or three dozen people at worship a legitimate order of God's creation? You bet it is, says Schaller. Second, should these congregations make their plans on the basis of few resources and fewer options, or should they see themselves as possessed of pools of talent and expanding possibilities? If you are convinced that the former is true, then this book is not for you. If, however, you are among those who believe that small-membership churches are distinctive places of Christian witness and service, spreading the gospel and living in service to the world in ways that other, larger churches are not, then this book is for you. In it you will find the right questions to ask as you seek to lead a small-membership congregation, and solid, practical guidance for doing so.

Publishers Description

There are many questions that leaders of small-membership congregations ask themselves about their church's future. Lyle Schaller suggests that two in particular should rise to the top of the list. First, what's the right size of for a church? Is the small congregation averaging two or three dozen people at worship a legitimate order of God's creation? You bet it is, says Schaller. Second, should these congregations make their plans on the basis of few resources and fewer options, or should they see themselves as possessed of pools of talent and expanding possibilities? If you are convinced that the former is true, then this book is not for you.

If, however, you are among those who believe that small-membership churches are distinctive places of Christian witness and service, spreading the gospel and living in service to the world in ways that other, larger churches are not, then this book is for you. In it you will find the right questions to ask as you seek to lead a small-membership congregation, and solid, practical guidance for doing so.

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Item Specifications...


Studio: Abingdon Press
Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.46" Width: 5.62" Height: 0.59"
Weight:   0.68 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2004
Publisher   Abingdon Church Supplies
ISBN  0687036569  
ISBN13  9780687036561  


Availability  0 units.


More About Lyle E. Schaller


Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Lyle E. Schaller is the country's leading interpreter of congregational systems and their vitality. He is the author of dozens of books, including From
Geography to Affinity, also published by Abingdon Press. He lives in Naperville, Illinois.

Lyle E. Schaller currently resides in Naperville, in the state of Illinois.

Lyle E. Schaller has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Ministry for the Third Millennium


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Reviews - What do customers think about Small Congregation, Big Potential: Ministry in the Small Membership Church?

Buy the Book Only If You Buy the Assumption  Jul 8, 2004
Small Congregation, Big Potential is Lyle Schaller's latest examination of the world of the small church. His previous works on the subject include The Small Church is Different! (1982) and The Small Membership Church: Scenarios for Tomorrow (1994). Schaller bills himself as "the country's leading interpreter of congregational systems and their vitality," and I see no grounds to quibble with that claim. He also pastored three small churches in the 1950s.

Schaller acknowledges, "Small Protestant church averaging two to three dozen people at worship should be affirmed as a legitimate order of God's creation." Still, he offers many suggestions for radically restructuring these small churches. Most of these suggestions are accommodations to the "new consumer-driven American culture."

My main critique of Schaller is that he abandons the idea of a countercultural church. Instead of placing the countercultural teachings of Jesus at the center of his faith, Schaller embraces the faith of consumerism. He just assumes that the faith of Jesus and American consumer culture are compatible.

Schaller likes technological solutions. He is particularly enthusiastic about small congregations buying/renting videotaped sermons instead of calling resident preachers. Schaller sees this as a way for cash-strapped congregations to get great preaching. He does not think it necessary for a minister to know the congregation in order to produce a high-quality sermon.

Schaller is also enthusiastic about McChurches (my term, not his). He envisions a large central congregation with many satellite sites of small congregations. These would operate under a single brand name with a single staff and governing board. Schaller sees this as a parallel to the modern central bank with numerous branches in area supermarkets.

Schaller has many other ideas, but he seems most excited about these two. These ideas and Schaller's experience may make Small Congregation, Big Potential a book worth considering. If you agree with Schaller, that lessons from America's consumer culture show the future path for the small church, then you should probably buy his book. However, if you are like me and don't buy Schaller's assumption, I would hesitate before buying his book.

 

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