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Feb 22, 2016

A Generous Community Prepares an Adaptive Church to Embrace the Future

 

Texas bishop forsees tech savvy, less top-heavy churches immersed in their neighborhoods

 

Bishop C. Andrew Doyle has written a book “for all those who have lost hope in our Church over the last two decades and especially for those who deeply desire to be part of what God is doing in the world around us.”

 

In “A Generous Community: Being the Church in a New Missionary Age” Bishop Doyle draws on his extensive reading in the sciences, organizational theory and Scripture to develop a compelling vision of the vibrant community of believers that the Episcopal Church could become.

 

In chapters on evangelism, stewardship and Christian formation he paints a vivid picture of the spirit and practices that will sustain and invigorate a church that he believes is already gradually coming to life.

 

“No longer is the Church to be led by clergy and supported by people,” Bishop Doyle writes. “The future Church will be supported by clergy and led by the people.”

 

Doyle, author of “Unabashedly Episcopalian,” a popular introduction to what Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has called “the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement,” envisions a church in which professional models of ministry give way to “more authentic” ways of doing God’s work.

 

He foresees the growth of “small Christian communities” with small budgets and few staff that nonetheless reach large numbers of people during an era of “volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity” because they are adept at using technology and creating local networks.

 

“The future Church will thrive on nonmonetary rewards for service and ministry,” he says. “People will contribute their time, effort and money because they experience community when they participate. They gain in their relationships. They gain by ‘belonging.’”

 

“A Generous Community” includes study questions, suggested readings from Scripture and contemporary writers and engaging exercises at the end of each chapter, making it an excellent fit for adult formation classes or parish book groups.

 

Presiding Bishop Curry refers to the book as “a game changer,” and Bishop Rob Wright of Atlanta writes: “’A Generous Community’ distills decades of watching, pointing to, thinking and praying about the movements of the Holy Spirit in the lives of real people. Here Bishop Doyle proves himself to be a spiritual adventurer, a wise guide and a committed disciple of Jesus.”

 

The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, bishop of the Diocese of Texas, summarizes his autobiography in six words: "Met Jesus on pilgrimage; still walking." He and his wife JoAnne live in Houston with daughters, Caisa and Zoë. He is the author of “Unabashedly Episcopalian: Proclaiming the Good New of the Episcopal Church.” Follow him on Twitter at @texasbishop or catch his popular weekly podcast and Bible study blog at texasbishop.blogspot.com.

 

Order the book through Amazon here.

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