Fresh Expressions of the Rural Church
Michael Adam Beck, Tyler Kleeberger
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Learn to cultivate the extraordinary gifts of Christian community in the countryside with Fresh Expressions of the Rural Church by Tyler Kleeberger and Michael Beck.The rural church was a community's centerpiece. The place where people gathered to worship and hear a sermon, break bread together, and support each other through the joys and struggles of life with the land. In many ways, the rural church captured a central aspect of the church's mission: to be the guiding hand for the life of a place.Can rural congregations flourish again? Can new Christian communities succeed in rural areas? Could healthy rural churches catalyze a better future for their declining communities?This book collects stories from the diversity of rural contexts across the US. It lays out a fresh theology for rural life and offers principles for harnessing the potential of what some consider the forgotten spaces. Each chapter includes a helpful Field Exercise-questions for discussion and suggested actions for leadership teams to work through together. Chapters conclude with a Field Story illustrating how the chapter's main ideas can work in a real church setting.Praise for Fresh Expressions of the Rural ChurchFresh Expressions of the Rural Church offers hope for the renewal that can take place in "e;out of the way"e; places. In these sacred rural places folks can experience the love of God and neighbor, undergo true healing, participate in the renewal of community, and discover a place to belong. - Daniel G. Beaudoin, Bishop, Northwestern Ohio Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in AmericaFresh Expressions of the Rural Church helps us to reconsider our Wesleyan roots and the gifts of our rural contexts, a seedbed packed with possibility for new communities of faith to form and flourish.- Heather M. Jallad, Fresh Expressions specialist, North Georgia Conference, UMCBeck and Kleeberger have taken a sample of the good soil that is faithful rural mission, identified the challenges, celebrated the riches, and offered us a powerful way to learn and be in partnership and connection with the gifts of God. - Ken Carter, Bishop, Florida and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church; co-author, Fresh Expressions: A New Kind of Methodist Church from Abingdon Press