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Renew 52

Luther Seminary has again released an e-book, Renew 52: 50+ Ideas to Revitalize Your Congregation from Leaders under 50, that features 54 short essays by Christian leaders from 15 different faith traditions. And it’s free!

Already, it has been downloaded more than 6,500 times—indicating a high level of interest in these authors and this topic. If you want to learn more about the genesis of the project, check out the intro excerpt posted on the site. You can also see the full listing of contributors, including Andrew Root, Nathan Dungan, Nadia Bolz-Weber, and Carol Howard Merritt.

Some samples:
  • Ask Why Worship is So Boring by Andrew Root – This is a confession of a mind-wandering, TV-holic: I find most of what we do in worship gatherings boring. (See, I said it). I know your response: Well, when was worshipping God supposed to be entertaining? And why in the world would your boredom be the criteria for a good worship service? Good questions. I heard the story about a man who was really into Jesus, was passionate about Jesus, but confessed that he was bored stiff by worship at his church.
  • Start Dreaming and Imagine Church Anew by Sarah Walker Cleaveland – I believe the church today is suffering from a failure of imagination. We have a long and distinguished history of being the church and this tradition has served us well. It allows us to function and helps us remain faithful to God’s call. But I wonder if we are too comfortable with this tradition and history. I wonder if we are resting too much on the foundations and structures provided by those who came before us.
  • Ask Why Worship is So Boring by Nadia Bolz-Weber – For the first 1,300-plus years of the church there was no seating in churches (except for stone benches along the back wall for the elderly or infirm). The Protestant Reformation saw to it that the sermon would now be the primary focus of Christian worship and, well, folks are gonna need to sit for that kind of thing. So starting in the sixteenth century and really revving up in the seventeenth and eighteenth we saw fixed pews become a norm in Christian churches.

How to get your copy: Go to www.luthersem.edu/renew52 and click on the book cover to get your free copy. You can choose PDF, iPad, Nook or Kindle version for download. They’ve chosen to provide the file directly, rather than linking through Amazon or Barnes & Noble’s distribution networks, so if you need instructions on how to upload the file to your e-reader, check out these instructions.

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