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At a time when pews are not as full as they used to be, many churches are struggling to stay open. But no matter how creative or hard-working, some congregations are unable to revitalize their ministry. Is it time to talk about closing your church? Are there any other options for your future?
Toward the Better Country tells the stories of real congregations that have faced a significant downsizing, merger, or closure and found positive ways to move forward in ministry. While no local church is meant to live forever, congregations that have chosen to faithfully complete their ministry are finding hope in the new ventures born from passing on their spiritual and material legacies.
Based on over 30 interviews with church leaders from various denominations, this practical resource offers guidance to lay leaders, clergy, and regional leaders as they deal with the grief and discernment process of struggling churches.
In the Logos edition, this valuable volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
- Presents advice and guidance to struggling church leaders
- Provides reflection questions for group study discussion
- Includes listings of additional resources and an extensive bibliography for further study
- The Rise and Fall of Sacred Places
- Expressions of Grief in the Faith Community
- Discerning the Failure to Thrive: Lay Leaders
- Discerning the Failure to Thrive: Pastors
- Discerning the Failure to Thrive: Regional Pastors
- Multiple Paths to the Future
- A Tale of Two Closures
- Laying the Foundation for Future Ministry
- Seven Ways to Say Goodbye
- New Wine for New Wineskins
- Appendix A: Guidelines for Congregations Considering Merger with One or More Congregations and That Seek the Financial Support of the Presbytery of Milwaukee
- Appendix B: Winnebago Presbytery
- Appendix C: Services from the Massachusetts Conference, U.C.C. for Member Churches considering Closure
About L. Gail Irwin
L. Gail Irwin (MDiv) is an ordained minister and freelance writer who has served in the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (USA). She has contributed several articles to poetry journals and regional publications. In 2010, she was a Louisville Institute Pastoral Study Project Grant recipient. Irwin lives in rural Wisconsin where she serves as a minister.