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Giving Church Another Chance
     

Giving Church Another Chance

5.0 1
by Todd D. Hunter
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

C. Brian Smith
"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."
Leonard Sweet
"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."
Dan Kimball
"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."
Ed Stetzer
"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."
Jim Belcher
"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 Henderson
"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."
Dallas Willard
"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."
The Most Reverend - Robert Duncan
"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."
Scot McKnight
"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."
Phyllis Tickle
"Candid and evangelical, autobiographical and confessional, Giving Church Another Chance positions Christian practices right where they belong: at the life-shaping core of Christian life and Christian community."
The Most Rev'd Robert Duncan
"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."
From the foreword by Scot McKnight
"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."
Publishers Weekly
Hunter (Christianity Beyond Belief) sought God in many churches, from the United Methodist Church of his youth through “contemporary fundamentalism” to Vineyard, then emerging churches, and finally the Anglican Church. He discovered that the “genuine Christian spirituality you’ve been dreaming of is possible by repracticing the spiritual routines of church.” Hunter investigates nine church practices—attendance, prelude, doxology, scripture reading, sermons, liturgy, offering, communion, benediction—as “a launching pad to life.” He avoids lengthy theological dissection of each practice, instead sharing how each can point to “real and lasting life in Jesus.” His 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. Hunter advocates church for spiritual nourishment, but he’s also about applying church practices to the heart, then flinging open the church doors to help the world. Hunter describes repracticing communion as changing “Eucharist as a noun to Eucharist as a verb.” That linguistic transformation exactly conveys his exciting premise for all church practices. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Hunter's (Churches for the Sake of Others; Christianity Beyond Belief) story ought to be moving and exemplary to many readers. Despite his faith and commitment, he became disillusioned with church and found a new way back to his religion through what he calls "repracticing": reinvigorating belief with spiritual practice, which he views as a springboard to renewed spiritual life. Although Hunter recommends something more like action than passivity, it is not always easy to discern what he would have the tired but earnest Christian do—except as he has done, to reinvest meaning into liturgical practice. VERDICT An intriguing but perhaps incomplete brief for spiritual renewal from a pastor who has moved from evangelical to Episcopal practice.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780830837489
Publisher:
InterVarsity Press
Publication date:
03/01/2010
Pages:
189
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are Saying About This

Dallas Willard
"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
Jim Henderson
"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
Ed Stetzer
"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
Jim Belcher
"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
The Most Rev'd Robert Duncan
"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
Dan Kimball
"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
Phyllis Tickle
"Candid and evangelical, autobiographical and confessional, Giving Church Another Chance positions Christian practices right where they belong: at the life-shaping core of Christian life and Christian community."
Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence and The Divine Hours

Meet the Author

Bishop Todd D. Hunter (D.Min., George Fox University) leads Churches for the Sake of Others, a church-planting initiative of the Anglican Mission in the Americas. He is also 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. Formerly national director at Vineyard Churches USA and then at Alpha USA, Hunter serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Alpha as well as on a number of other ministry boards, including Renovaré and Soul Survivor.

Scot McKnight (Ph.D., University of Nottingham) is professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. He is the author of The Jesus Creed, The King Jesus Gospel, A Community Called Atonement, Embracing Grace, The Real Mary and commentaries on James, Galatians and 1 Peter, and coeditor of the award-winning Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. He is also a widely recognized blogger at the Jesus Creed blog. His other interests include golfing, gardening and traveling.

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Giving Church Another Chance 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
JimLBest More than 1 year ago
This book came to me at a very important time in my life. My family and I are in the process of re-immersing ourselves into gathering with and the rhythms of a local church family after a seven year hiatus. I found Todd's thoughts refreshing and right on for what I have been wrestling through as my family and I have been sorting out our involvement with a local church. Todd starts out by making a great point that church is not just the "Sunday service". The service is one small part of how God wants to shape and form us so that we can go into the watching world around us and live out the good news of the kingdom. An analogy that my wife and I have used to explain it in a similar way is by looking at the difference between a football game and the on-field huddle. The huddle is not the game; it helps the players play the game better. That is how church can be in the life of a Christ follower. The book is very readable and each chapter looks at a specific part of a church service or liturgy. Todd writes from his new Anglican perspective on church but what he has to say is applicable to my Evangelical Covenant Church or whatever church you might find yourself a part of. In each chapter Todd helps us re-purpose or re-practice the essential element needed for the development for kingdom life and practice. Too often we "throw the baby out with the bath water" and miss out on what God wants to transform us with. In many ways this whole book is like an old parable I once heard about the cooking of a ham. A mother and daughter were preparing to cook a ham. The Mom cut the end off the ham before she put into the pan. The curious daughter asked her Mom why she cut the end off the ham. She answered that her Mom always cut the end off when she made ham but that she would check. Later she inquired with the young girls Grandma and asked why she cut the end off the ham. The answer the Grandmother gave was that her pan was too short. After years and years of doing the same thing this young woman finally found the real reason for the action and realized that for her, it was an unnecessary step. For many, this is what is needed in order to breathe fresh life into our church experience. In this book Todd helps us get to the true "why" questions behind the purpose and structure of church. Much like finding out why the end was cut off the ham, rediscovering the purpose behind the forms will help us re-purpose and appreciate the God given womb for helping nuture us into faithful kingdom service. Giving Church Another Chance is well worth the time in order to help understand and appreciate the local church. To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, please use a disclosure like this example as part of every Web or retail site review. Example: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Todd Hunter to read and post a review on my site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."