Bringing New Life to Your Congregation

Bringing New Life to Your Congregation

This resource list was developed to supplement the Center for Congregations workshop Bringing New Life to Your Congregation, led by pastor, author and educator Kirk Byron Jones. This workshop was February 2016. The Center’s mission is to strengthen Indiana congregations by helping them find and use the best resources to address their challenges and opportunities. For additional resources, contact the Center at 866-307-2381 or check out the Congregational Resource Guide at http://thecrg.org/.

Eldredge, John. Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful Disruptive Extravagant Personality of Jesus. New York, NY: Faith Words, 2011.
The title of this book is an indication of how refreshing it is. In an inviting and compelling style, Eldredge presents a portrait of Jesus that is both serious and delightful. Throughout, one catches the words of Jesus in a new way, but even more importantly, the spirit behind the words. Our image of Jesus inspires our ministry. A sense of an enlivened Jesus is uppermost in importance for renewing congregational life. Being able to see Jesus in fresh new ways can renew our congregational life and mission in fresh new ways.

MacBeth, Sybil. Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2007.
Congregational refreshing may be seen as continual “holy play” with God. As we engage God personally and organizationally, it is vital to bring open minds and hearts that we may receive fresh vision and insight over and over again. MacBeth’s book offers ways to move beyond using only words — always limited and finite — to pray. Incorporating her methods, personally and in small groups, can help cultivate a congregational culture of free, innovative and delightful creative expression.

Revoir, Katherine Q. Spiritual Doodles and Mental Leapfrogs: A Playbook for Unleashing Spiritual Self-Expression. York Beach, ME: Red Wheel, 2002.
Congregational new life is fed by the new lives of congregants. Revoir’s book is filled with fun, lighthearted exercises for unleashing creative thinking and acting through doodling. For an indication of how powerful doodling can be, we need only read John 8:6b, “Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.” After doodling, Jesus hurled a creative insight so profound that we are still repeating it two thousand years later, “Let anyone among you who is without sin, be the first to throw a stone at her.”    

Jones, Kirk Byron. “Say Yes to Grace.” Facebook. September 2010. Accessed February 2010. https://www.facebook.com/SayYestoGrace/.
Jones posts regularly on a variety of themes, including creativity and transformation. One recent post captures the spirit of receptivity needed to cultivate ongoing church renewal: “Anything that opens the mind or softens the heart has God’s fingerprints all over it.”