Real Good Church: How Our Church Came Back From The Dead, and Yours Can, Too

Molly Phinney Baskette. Pilgrim, $20 trade paper (228p) ISBN 978-0-8298-2002-7
With down-to-earth wisdom and humor, Baskette tells the story of how First Church Somerville, UCC transformed from a community of 35 worshippers on a financially dismal trajectory into a thriving, fiscally stable congregation four times that size in one decade. In twelve chapters with multiple subheadings Baskette, the congregation's pastor, addresses what worked and what didn't (the last chapter is entitled "Epic Failures"), covering how she and her church leadership addressed such issues as property, pastoral care, outreach, stewardship, conflict, and more. Whether the challenge relates to worship, finances, or Sunday School teachers, she advises church leaders to play the role of "Doomsday Pollyanna": communicating both urgent need for action and confidence in positive outcomes. Key themes get repeated mention: celebrate, bless everything, communicate an open and affirming welcome to people of all sexual orientations, spend money to grow. Sound, practical advice on everything from coffee hour to electronic giving, along with an appendix including recommended reading, sample job descriptions, liturgies, guest cards, and sermons makes this an invaluable, accessible resource for clergy and laity passionate about church revitalization. (July)
Reviewed on: 08/11/2014
Release date: 06/01/2014
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