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The Soul of the Congregation

Thomas Edward Frank

The Soul of the Congregation

Thomas Edward Frank

$37.99

Paperback
Thomas Edward Frank is Associate Professor of Church Administration and Congregational Life at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

- Publisher

Thomas Edward Frank points out that the dominant paradigm of many contemporary books about church administration reflects an underlying “theology of progress,†a distilling of the gospel into self-worth, a conflation of basilea with market growth. According to Frank, good fortune and blessing are confused; praise and good feeling are identified. This paradigm of success and progress, however, fails to account adequately for the vision of the believers’ presence in the world as ecclesia. “The soul of the congregation,†argues Frank, is a way of being and being-in-the-world, and not didactic or productive.

Every congregation is a unique culture comprising the artifacts, practices, values, outlooks, symbols, stories, language, ritual, and collective character that makes it particularly itself. This culture--or soul--is an outgrowth of the life together of a particular mix of individuals, families, ethnic and community forms that have connected in a certain place over time. By carefully observing congregational culture, leaders and participants can deepen understanding and appreciation for the congregation as it has endured, and recognize possibilities for ministry derived from the congregation's values and strengths.

In a series of delightful letters and engrossing reflections, Frank invites us to practice this art of discernment, of seeing, listening, paying attention, and spinning webs of connection with experiences, memories, traditions, and ideas that have gone before. Rather than reach for some newfangled church marketing or growth paradigm that does not feed the soul, he urges us to lean on what we already have among us. In so doing, we will rediscover the soul of the congregation of which we are already a part.



- Publisher

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About "The Soul of the Congregation"

Thomas Edward Frank is Associate Professor of Church Administration and Congregational Life at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.
- Publisher

Thomas Edward Frank points out that the dominant paradigm of many contemporary books about church administration reflects an underlying “theology of progress,†a distilling of the gospel into self-worth, a conflation of basilea with market growth. According to Frank, good fortune and blessing are confused; praise and good feeling are identified. This paradigm of success and progress, however, fails to account adequately for the vision of the believers’ presence in the world as ecclesia. “The soul of the congregation,†argues Frank, is a way of being and being-in-the-world, and not didactic or productive.

Every congregation is a unique culture comprising the artifacts, practices, values, outlooks, symbols, stories, language, ritual, and collective character that makes it particularly itself. This culture--or soul--is an outgrowth of the life together of a particular mix of individuals, families, ethnic and community forms that have connected in a certain place over time. By carefully observing congregational culture, leaders and participants can deepen understanding and appreciation for the congregation as it has endured, and recognize possibilities for ministry derived from the congregation's values and strengths.

In a series of delightful letters and engrossing reflections, Frank invites us to practice this art of discernment, of seeing, listening, paying attention, and spinning webs of connection with experiences, memories, traditions, and ideas that have gone before. Rather than reach for some newfangled church marketing or growth paradigm that does not feed the soul, he urges us to lean on what we already have among us. In so doing, we will rediscover the soul of the congregation of which we are already a part.


- Publisher

Meet the Author

Thomas Edward Frank

Frank is Associate Professor of Church Administration and Congregational Life and Director of Methodist Studies at Chandler School of Theology, Emory University.

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Product Details

Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 232705
  • Product Code 0687087171
  • EAN 9780687087174
  • Pages 144
  • Department Academic
  • Category Church
  • Sub-Category General
  • Publisher Abingdon Press
  • Publication Date Apr 2000
  • Dimensions 217 x 139 x 13 mm
  • Weight 0.256kg

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