New faith communities are appearing across the U.S. Many of them
bear little resemblance—on the surface—to ‘church’ in its conventional
form. But when we look a little deeper we see striking continuity with
the most deeply rooted practices of the Christian faith in community.
What are those practices? What do these unconventional, alternative
faith communities look like? How are they, perhaps, indicators of a
hopeful new future for the church? And what can we learn from them?
Authors Kara Brinkerhoff and Tim Shapiro spent more than a year
researching and exploring these questions, closely examining the life of
a dozen alternative faith communities across the country. They include
new monastic communities, food-oriented communities, affinity group
communities, house churches, hybrid churches and others. They are
creative, ingenious, innovative, clever, dynamic and transformative. But
they represent human expressions of activities that have always been
part of human religious congregations: hospitality, learning,
storytelling, care, leadership, worship and honoring place.
This fascinating book goes beyond simply analyzing current trends. It
reveals how innovative Christians are engaging in time-honored
practices, creating new types of communities, which will shape the
church to come. Further, it shows us how we too might innovate while
holding true to the essential practices of our gathered faith. This is
an instructive picture of Christian community, past, present and future.