After a quick review of the theologically prescribed tasks of the local church and prevailing wisdom about organizational innovation, the class will dive into the rapidly growing (and desperately needed) literature on congregational renewal. Indeed, we will read, comparatively analyze and discuss, from the point of view of one’s own ministry setting, seven different approaches to congregational renewal. The majority of these approaches will come from among those receiving wide, popular attention today (e,g, Bass’ Christianity for the Rest of Us; Schwarz’s Natural Church Development). But we won’t entirely forget the classics (e.g., Schaller’s The Change Agent; Grierson’s Transforming A People of God), and we will read at least one work that is not written from a Christian perspective (e.g., Cohen, Hoffman and Kelman’s Sacred Strategies).
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