cover image Joy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your Congregation

Joy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your Congregation

Lynne M. Baab. Westminster John Knox, $17 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-664-23709-7

Noting that "the new creation in Christ needs continual shaping," Baab, a Presbyterian minister, retreat leader and author (Friending: Real Relationships in a Virtual World) offers a comprehensive, practical and inspiring guide for church leaders seeking to explore and share the fruits of spiritual practices in congregational settings. Ten chapters delve into six disciplines: thankfulness, fasting, contemplative prayer, contemplative approaches to scripture, hospitality, and Sabbath-keeping, focusing on opportunities and benefits of communal engagement. Drawing from personal pastoral experience and offering examples from other clergy's efforts to involve congregations in communal fasting, breath prayers, guided meditations and more, Baab provides a helpful range of models and settings. The chapter "Are Spiritual Practices Legalistic?" thoughtfully engages critiques offered by John Wesley and contemporary theologian William Willimon, urging openness to surprises of the Holy Spirit. Sidebar quotations from contemporary and ancient theologians add insights, as do questions for reflection, discussion or journaling, and suggestions for further reading. Numerous adaptive challenges faced by congregations in recent decades (consumerism, multiculturalism, financial pressures), make this resource for "developing a posture of receptivity" to God's blessings timely and welcome. (Sept.)