Who would have thought that a how-to manual, a pastor's guide, could be witty, charming and fun? Unbinding Your Church, the Pastor's Guide to the Real Life Evangelism Series, by author, researcher, pastor and attorney Martha Grace Reese, is all that.
It will help you lead your congregation through a year of life-changing and church-changing study of prayer and faith sharing. Based on the a major, four-year study of superb evangelism, funded by the Lilly Endowment, the Real Life Evangelism Series sparkles with life, practicality, and spiritual depth. The Series has been enthusiastically endorsed by 8 heads of denominations as well as by professors of evangelism, leading experts, and pastors. Unbinding the Gospel, the basis of the Series, was selected by The Christian Century as a featured "Take and Read" book in its 2007 Book Issue.
Church leaders should first study Unbinding the Gospel (the church leaders' study), then use Unbinding Your Heart for the whole congregation. Unbinding Your Church(the pastor's guide) will help you use both books to maximal effect. Be sure to order Church early. It will help you teach and plan effectively from the very beginning. You will spend your time on what matters—praying, teaching, working directly with your people.
Unbinding Your Church offers:
· Worship resources: Seven engaging, theologically-rich, inspiring sermons you can adapt or adopt; short Bible teaching on texts; children’s activities, prayers and complete coordinated music plans from four stellar and diverse church musicians.
· Step-by-step planning tools: Advice for pastors, church staff, organizers, small group leaders, prayer group leaders, and leaders of children and youth. Calendars, check-lists, rosters, forms, impact diagrams, invitations, Web site and e-mail ideas will help you organize the E-vent, establish and intercessory prayer group, recruit small group leaders, form new groups and help existing groups commit to the all-congregation study.
Enthusiastic Endorsements for the Real Life Evangelism Series…
“...the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ evangelism program will not reverse the trend. Humor, whimsy and joy in the faith will serve us better. Reese’s book is written to provoke, to tease and to charm us back into telling our story.”The Christian Century
“...with clarity and sound theological grounding, we are invited into a grand adventure....could be a watershed book for mainline Protestantism.” Alban Institute, Congregations magazine
“The statistics Reese gives sober me, and they motivate me too. And her stories of vibrant congregations give me hope...when you turn the last page, you can’t just let this be another book you read. You need to let Reese’s message affect you, and your faith community, and through you, other people.”Brian McLaren, Author of Everything Must Change
“The Real Life Evangelism Series is a power pack! Based on the extensive and authoritative research of Martha Grace Reese, and rooted in her passionate love for God and respect for the mainline church, these books, like Reese, are the rarest of gifts: they give us authoritative facts that arm us for real change rather than simply being alarming; they provide data that moves one to action.... a treasure.” Todd Hunter, National Director, Alpha USA; Former Director, Vineyard Churches USA
“Martha Grace Reese gently but persistently lures the Mainline back to the ministry of evangelism that is the heart of the church. Based on careful research and extensive listening, the Real Life Evangelism Series avoids gimmicks and the trap of the latest church growth fad. They invite pastors and members instead to a relationship with Christ that overflows the banks of our often cautious and reserved congregations. These books can convert even the most ‘evangelism-cautious’ Christians into eager disciples who love others enough to tell them why Jesus is the answer.” John H. Thomas, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ
“Martha Grace Reese loves the Church. Hope for the mainline church abounds in these pages. She carefully demythologizes evangelism and then reconstructs it through common sense practices.” Jim Griffith, President, Griffith Coaching
“Unbinding the Gospel teaches us how to relearn the practice of evangelism. It’s published at a teachable moment. Don’t just read this book—use it!” Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary, Reformed Church in America
“Don’t miss this one!” Evangelism Connections
“The Real Life Evangelism Series is a great resource for congregations. It is inspirational, motivational, and a great model and companion for congregations as they seek to be faithful stewards of the Gospel.” Belva Brown Jordan, Philips Theological Seminary (formerly Harvard Divinity School)
“The Real Life Evangelism Series knocks one out of the park! Reese equips mainline church leaders with prayerful and practical tools needed to change the church through the power of Christ’s redeeming love.” Becky Garrison, Senior Contributing Editor, Wittenburg Door; Author of Rising from the Ashes
“This book is a marvelous resource—I heartily recommend it!” Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
“Written with intelligence, heart and a sense of humor....this is real life evangelism for real life Christians.” Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (DOC)
“Unbinding the Gospel is a must-read for those of us in the progressive mainstream church that are trying to reclaim the ‘e-word.’” David Schoen, Evangelism Minister and Team Leader, United Church of Christ
“Look at Reese’s sections on the congregational dynamics that impact the growth or stagnation of our churches. She has put together an approach to sharing the gospel that works in mainline churches.” Bruce Humphrey, Senior Pastor, Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church, San Diego, California
"[Reese's] ideas are resonating with enthusiastic clergy & lay audiences all across the...theological spectrum." Christian Feminism Today
“There is a palpable sense of God’s presence and availability in Martha Grace Reese’s keen-eyed, level-headed, and big-hearted approach to evangelism. She poses the empowering possibilities of new life with style, verve, and an abounding sense of joy and trust in God. In a time when it is so easy to beat up on churches, she offers warm encouragement and wise guidance.” Robert Lee Hill, Senior Pastor, Community Christian Church, Kansas City, Missouri
“This book will be a great resource for small groups, churches, and pastors who are ready to be instruments of unleashing God’s awesome Spirit in the world.” Yolanda Villa, Executive Pastor of Congregational Care, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, Kansas
“There is nothing quite like the solid research Martha Grace Reese gives us, along with clear, thoughtful analysis and concrete prescriptions for how we can move forward in faithful and effective evangelism. She manages to do all this in a book that is completely accessible to both clergy and lay people and fun to read! It is an amazing and timely accomplishment!” Richard L. Hamm, Executive Administrator, Christian Churches Together; former Disciples General Minister and President
“Martha Grace Reese has done a great service to the church by creating the Mainline Evangelism Research Project and then reporting on it in such an engaging, faith-filled, readable way. This should be required reading in all mainline churches. Our continuing existence may depend upon it.” Richard Peace, Robert Boyd Munger Professor of Evangelism and Spiritual Formation at Fuller Theological Seminary