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The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches Are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community
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The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches Are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  313 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
2015 Christianity Today Award of Merit (The Church/Pastoral Leadership) 2014 Readers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention 2014 Best Books About the Church from Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds Bookstore "When . . . faith communities begin connecting together, in and for the neighborhood, they learn to depend on God for strength to love, forgive and show grace like never before. ...more
Paperback, 206 pages
Published April 4th 2014 by IVP Books
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Robert D. Cornwall
This book touched on a subject that has long been on my mind and heart. It still occurs in small towns, but in the suburbs especially, the idea of the parish has long since disappeared. The idea that a church would be planted in a neighborhood and that it would take on a concern for that neighborhood, whether or not everyone was part of the congregation has been replaced with programmatic emphases. We see ourselves, too often, as various brands seeking customers for our wares (God). The mega-chu ...more
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can criticize this book in places. I wish it was a little meatier in theology and more practical and less suggestive in practice. But some books find you when you need them. I attended the Parish Collective conference this year and picked up the book there. The conference was good for me. I was a crying mess through most of it because of the joy of being in a room with so many like-minded people. But they were practitioners, I was a pastoral candidate dreaming of ministry ahead.

As serendipity
Noel Walker
May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have been reading about the missional shift in imagination for about 5 years and I have been waiting for a book to unfold a picture of what missional leadership would look like in an existing congregation. I've read lots of books about setting up that cool, hip, funk, coffee shop church thing in the forgotten downtown in your community and I've thought, "That's great! Good! Praise God for efforts like that, but what about the guy who feels called to the existing church? Do I just cut and run a ...more
Thomas Kidd
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
My recommendation is to read a Wendell Berry book instead. Seriously, there are some nuggets in this book, but it is largely lost in sociological niceties. The audience of this book is probably a 20 or 30 something left of center Evangelical (not once can the authors use Christ's own address in prayer "Father", surely because of some patriarchal, daddy abuse inflicted on us all). However, I, as a 40 something right of center Reformed Christian who already journeyed through left evangelicalism 20 ...more
Oct 17, 2014 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read but I personally had a difficult time getting into it and clicking with the content. I felt that the writing utilized a lot of "hip" or popular terminology and it all seemed pretty tedious to me. I really enjoyed the idea of faithful presence and found that helpful. I also wished that they would have used more Scripture to outline their thoughts. It felt like the authors were trying to redefine, or even bring back, the church to what it should look like but I didn't ...more
Tim Hoiland
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
From the beginning, Christians have recognized the call to love our neighbors as central to following Jesus. More recently, many of us have started to wonder how that command relates to our neighborhoods as well. Some have even begun to talk about “a theology of the city” and to consider how that theology might translate into the choices that give shape to our common lives.

These developments inevitably lead to a new set of questions: Does God care about the engineering of municipal plumbing syst
May 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Reading approach: deep skim
This book invites the reader to love the people and place you are located well. The authors provide an excellent framework to the book that unpacks their vision and passion. They succeed at giving good examples of people attempting to love well with a faithful presence.

Although the authors frame their premises mostly on Scriptural principles and biblical theology, there are aspects that need more nuance and slower digestion. This will be especially true for Christian
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Decent book with some good reminders for missionally-minded leaders, but kind of weak theologically and could use more storytelling and examples.
Dan Gill
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is the basis for nearly all of my thoughts on Christian community in our culture.
Bryan Atkinson
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great read on being engaged relationally with the people next door and across the street.
Nick Jordan
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I owned this book for a year or two before finally reading it. While I find much of the missional theology movement (Hirsch, Guder, et al) practically challenging, it often lacks theological depth and richness. This is not the case with this book. It's the rare book on ministry that I would recommend to normal lay Christians even more than pastors.
Rob O'Lynn
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed The New Parish. I have been looking for something like this, a book that talks about how local congregations can engage their community without the mission becoming territorial or cliche, for awhile. I thoroughly appreciated the authors' concepts and their ability to "pull back the curtain" and show us how they practically came up with this "new parish" concept. My experience was that the book was easy to read and the authors' kept me engaged through their mixture of theological ...more
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Place Matters. Neighbors Matter. What We Do About Both Matters Most!

Three guys who I consider friends and mentors have taken several years hard work and thousand of mies of travels to bring is this head start on how to be more useful on our own blocs!

I have great repect for this team of authors. What you read here is the result of both a collaboration and a calling to serve their neighborhoods. What you will read here should inspire you to connect your story with their stories.

The New Parish is
Jordan Constantine
Dec 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: church
Reviewing "New Parish" is incredibly difficult.
The spirit of the letter here is stronger than the letter itself. Sparks, Soerens, and Friesen should be commended for turning our gaze back to our local neighbourhoods. These are the "gardens" in which we must be attentive to the growth of the Gospel; they deserve our focus. As well, the authors' discussions on listening to story and their reflection on the nature of the Fall are high points and demand a revisit.

Unfortunately, I find myself una
Gary Hansen
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
The New Parish makes one noble call and explores lots of implications. The call is for Christians to attend fully to their place. That is a good and holy thing: we need to take seriously the call to love our neighbors as ourselves, and if we try to do that without attending to the actual neighbors in the actual neighborhood we are missing something. And that happens a lot.

I gave the book an extra star in honor of this good central call. I value the work of the authors in experimenting, investing
Bob Henry
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've asked myself multiple times in the past 20 years of ministry why the vision isn't panning out, why the numbers don't add up, or the program isn't a success. I've been frozen by self-doubt, confused, and full of questions. I have been filled with shame and become vividly aware of my failures as the "so-called leader" of the churches I have pastored. I have been the scapegoat, the focus of blame, and at times ready to quit - no run!

Then I was introduced to "The New Parish" - a book that make
Albert Hong
Jan 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: community, mission
This was a helpful and relevant read as I'm thinking through what it looks like for our church to engage in our neighborhood. Many of the things we have been doing already, but it's exciting to have a more researched framework for thinking this way.

I LOVE the idea of thinking of a neighborhood as a parish made up of multiple expressions but all being part of the same body of Christ. Beautiful way of seeing other churches and organizations not as competitors but co-laborers, and family even.

At th
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Finished the New Parish and I liked its encouragement, but felt it a little vague at times as well. I guess I wanted more stories (perhaps even a program), but even the concept of the New Parish seemed tough to parse from the idea of neighborhood. The book's diagnosis of the problems of the American church were general and okay overall (better in the sociology of the American moment of dislocation than in church history which flew too high), but what I need to spend time with is the idea of fait ...more
Willie Krischke
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
As a campus minister with InterVarsity, "Renew the Campus" is a part of our vision statement, but I think it's the part that is the least understood and most neglected. At the same time, we are gifted with a natural sense of the Parish that I think sustains us. I know the bounds of my ministry in a way a lot of pastors don't; I am called to this campus, this particular place, withits particular characteristics wand personality. Everything I do on campus need to be contextualized for this unique ...more
Excellent, wonderful (and short and accessible) book, a great resource for general guidance and, importantly, for encouraging and spurring both questions and creativity around being and becoming a "faithful presence" in our local communities - while recognizing the importance of connectivity with our broader regional and global context(s), and still with the hopes of rippling (variously)outward, i.e. "rooted and linked" in the language of the authors.

Highly recommended not only for pastors, the
Tamara Murphy
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Of the three "ministry" books I read in June, this one was the best by far. It's another book that I started over a year ago and never completed. "The New Parish" and "Slow Church" could be considered partners in the conversation (both books released by the same publisher around the same time and both reference each other, if I remember correctly), but the book by Sparks, Soerens and Friesen has the feel of being the wiser mentor to Smith & Pattinson's. A couple of reasons, among several: It ...more
Mark Votava
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-new-parish
One of the best books I have ever read about having a new imagination for being the body of Christ together in the twenty-first century. This is a must read! This book is getting at such things as faithful presence, the ecclesial center, commitment to place, the new commons, rooting and linking, new forms of leadership, becoming an expression of relational care in everyday life. Some of us have maybe never really heard much about such themes, but it is essential that we unlearn our individualist ...more
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A really good read reclaiming the role of place for church ministry from three practitioners who have their own fascinating journeys toward emphasis on the parish. I find this book particularly helpful serving in a church which exists in the middle of a neighborhood. Historically, our roots are deep within the neighborhood, but we've been trying to re-engage where those connections have been severed. In The New Parish I find helpful metaphors for parish leadership (designer, conductor, player/co ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The best book I've ever read on how to be a Christian, how to be a church, and how to love your neighbor. I'm not a book reviewer, so I'll leave that to those who consider themselves such, but I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Life changing, inspiring, and a call to action for anyone who wants to follow Christ, not just more theology thrown into the void. Please read it, then more importantly, consider how you'll live it. Thanks Tim, Paul, and Dwight for putting the stuff you live on p ...more

Another in an ever-growing line of books on the missional church as a neighborhood presence. Incarnational presence means we will always find ourselves in some place as opposed to a disembodied or merely temporary presence (for an hour or two on Sunday AM only to evaporate until the next week). Presence in place is a key of which we must become mindful. Chapter 4 of this book is particularly clear and helpful. But clearly not everyone is going to sell their home and relocate from the b
Jeff Meyer
Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Church, know your place. Jesus-follower, know your place. Instead of being disconnected and dislocated; driving to church, explore how to BE THE CHURCH, with those where you live. I thank Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens, and Dwight F. Friesen for the life altering ideas of "embracing the limitations" of and "accepting responsibility" for my "walkable community." What might transpire in our communities if every Jesus-follower could live this way?
Holland Deacons' Conference
The authors provide a refreshing new (old) way of understanding, doing, and being the Body of Christ within the context of the place and community in and to which God has called and placed us, i.e., the new parish. This is a great book to help those of us who find ourselves in a more traditional "church" setting and context to think about and perhaps even change our understanding of church in and with community.
Matthew Ingalls
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
The spirit of this book is excellent, but they belabored it with technical language. The Church desperately needs this critique and these ideas. I especially appreciated their efforts to defrock the god of technique. However, I am leading a group study of the book now and it's evident that the cumbersome language sucks the inspiration out of our conversations.
Jessie Lowry
May 27, 2016 rated it liked it
There ideas are inspiring but I get so impatient when there are not more practical down to earth ideas and examples. This felt lacking in that area to me but I am walking away brainstorming so that is good!
Seth Thomas
Reading this for the third time, first in my current church context, continues to inspire and encourage the shift toward deep, faithful presence in my neighborhoods. Thank you Paul, Tim and Dwight and so many others who have opened this conversation for me.
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“mission is defined as what you do to join in God’s world-renewing project.” 1 likes
“Loving without agenda: Often our neighborhoods are filled with special interest groups. The church is not a special interest group; rather we have a reconciling mission that seeks unity, that all might flourish. Consider how your faith community can champion what others are already doing.” 1 likes
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