Giving Church Another Chance: Finding New Meaning in Spiritual Practices

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9780830837489: Giving Church Another Chance: Finding New Meaning in Spiritual Practices

2011 Golden Canon Leadership Book Award winner! Everybody wants to be spiritual. But nobody wants to be religious. Everybody is looking for a rich spiritual life. But nobody is looking to church. As a pastor, Todd Hunter found himself disillusioned, burned out and needing to drop out of traditional forms of church. He experimented with house churches and other options but was still dissatisfied. Eventually he found himself sneaking off to worship services on Sunday mornings with surprising results. What did the historic spiritual practices of church do for him? How did they lead to a life of centered peace, chart a path to simplicity and cause him to reach out to others while focusing on the glory of God? Walk with Hunter on this journey to find spiritual riches in a surprising place. You might just give church another chance.

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About the Author:

Todd D. Hunter (D. Min., George Fox University) is a teacher, writer and consultant for his ministry, Society for Kingdom Living, which helps pastors and lay leaders reach a generation that has been disenfranchised from the church. Hunter is an adjunct professor of evangelism and postmodern ministry at George Fox University, Fuller Seminary, Western Seminary and Wheaton College. He is also a church planter with The Anglican Mission in the Americas. Formerly the national director at Vineyard Churches USA and then Alpha USA, Hunter continues to serve as a consultant to Alpha and as part of the Alpha Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He serves on a number of other ministry boards, including Renovare and Soul Survivor.

Review:

"Readers of Richard Foster, Dallas Willard and Eugene Peterson will appreciate Hunter's contribution to how spiritual disciplines fit within the context of communities and bodies of believers. In the midst of our frenzied culture and harried pace of life, Hunter reminds us that speed is not the greatest good. Instead, seep, lasting change and transformation is the goal, with church the springboard to that end." (C. Brian Smith, Christian Retailing, March 2010)

"Hunter's words ring true for those tired of church as usual, who want to take Jesus outside the doors but aren't sure why or how." (Publisher's Weekly, January 11, 2010)

"What you are holding should carry a government health warning: the reading of this book is good for your soul. But beware: it may cause you to fall in love with the church again, and the romance of 'repracticing' your faith may be habit-forming." (Leonard Sweet, author of So Beautiful: Divine Design for Life and the Church)

"I am thrilled about this book because in it, Todd is bringing hope to the church. It is a theological impossibility to not be part of the church if you are a follower of Jesus. Todd brings that reality into tangible ways of living as the church. It is easy to dismiss the church and think we can be okay on our own, but that is not what the Scriptures teach nor is it healthy for us. We need the church and each other. This is a refreshing perspective on being church together." (Dan Kimball, author of They Like Jesus but Not the Church)

"Spiritual journeys are interesting things, and Todd's is one of the more interesting--from leader of the Vineyard churches, to house church pastor, to head of Alpha USA, and now an Anglican bishop. I've known Todd through many of these incarnations and we have not always agreed, but I have always been impressed with his passion for God and heart for others. In this book, you will find both--and my guess is that you will be challenged to think more deeply about your own spiritual walk. Todd reminds us that the church is not a place to go to, simply another meeting, but the way God has chosen to make himself known in our world." (Ed Stetzer, president, LifeWay Research)

"As both a participant and leader, Todd has been at the heart of the evangelical world over the past thirty years. He has seen its strengths and weaknesses and at times has been profoundly disillusioned. But through it all he has never stopped loving the church. In Giving Church Another Chance, Todd is calling Christians to something better, something profoundly deeper and more exciting--a fresh vision of spiritual formation that is rooted in worship, life together and the kingdom of God. I think he has hit the nail on the head. After reading this book, you will never think about worship and spiritual practices the same way." (Jim Belcher, author of Deep Church)

"If you have lost your way regarding church, Todd Hunter can show you the way back. His candor, theological nuance, grasp of history and willingness to name names (including his own) make this book unlike most you will read on this topic. Todd is one of the most Jesus-centric leaders speaking to the church today. Read this book to regain an appreciation for church as well as a deeper love for the One for whom the church exists." (Jim Henderson, executive director, Off the Map)

"Most of those who criticize the church today have no idea what it is. Todd Hunter can help you find out, as he takes you along on his own pilgrimage of discovery--on the inside. The church is a unique stream of spiritual life--life 'from above'--flowing through a brief period of human history and into an eternal 'beyond.' Jesus Christ is the only one in charge of it, and we are the ones who today need a second chance. If you listen carefully to Hunter, you might begin to find The Church--perhaps without benefit of edifice, but then there too. If you do, your heart will sing with joy." (Dallas Willard, author of The Divine Conspiracy)

"With a self-revealing and down-to-earth style, the author asks readers to see all the church stuff--all the aspects of what happens in worship--as team exercises that get Christians ready for the real game in the world. Giving Church Another Chance is a challenging and refreshing invitation to understand again what Sunday morning is meant to be in the context of the whole week." (The Most Rev'd Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America)

"What this book does is something I've longed for: instead of casting all of spiritual disciplines as something we do as individuals, Todd suggests in this book that there are 'ecclesial,' or church-shaped or group-shaped, disciplines that are gifts from God for the church." (From the foreword by Scot McKnight)

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