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The Soul of Tomorrows Church: Weaving Spiritual Practices in Ministry Together [Paperback]

By Kent Ira Groff (Author)
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Item Number 133265  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   184
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 5.96" Height: 0.53"
Weight:   0.63 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2000
Publisher   Upper Room Books
ISBN  0835809277  
EAN  9780835809276  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
Overview
Congregations sometimes feel fragmented by information overload and by increasing specialization. They sometimes sense little connection between malpractice insurance and Holy Communion. Church leaders often become caught in doing the church without being the church for one another. Sometimes this work of the church stifles God's life-giving Spirit. Kent Ira Groff invites congregational leaders to weave spiritual practices into all aspects of ministry. The soul of the church will be restored as spiritual practices are woven in five ministry functions: worship, administration, education, soul care, and outreach. Every chapter of this book teems with practical ways to weave spiritual practices of prayer, discernment, faith stories, silence, and hospitality in each one of the five specific ministry functions. The book helps leaders incorporate spiritual practices in the areas of worship, administration, education, soul care, and outreach. The Soul of Tomorrow's Church connects with Jesus' life and with the life of the early church as reflected in the Epistles. Dr. Groff writes that today's crisis is not an organizational one. The challenge for tomorrow's church is not to focus on new programs or structures, but to focus on ways to infuse ministry with new life.

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More About Kent Ira Groff

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! KENT IRA GROFF is a spiritual companion for journeyers and leaders, a retreat leader and a writer poet living in Denver, Colorado. He describes his work as "one beggar showing other beggars where to find bread." As a pilgrim of east and west, he leads conferences at retreat centers, campuses, seminaries, and faith communities in the U.S. and abroad and in the Denver area. You can travel with Kent in Honest to God Prayer: Spirituality as Awareness, Empowerment, Relinquishment and Paradox; Active Spirituality: A Guide for Seekers and Ministers; Journeymen: A Spiritual Guide for Men and The Soul of Tomorrow's Church. Share his passion to reach outside church doors in What Would I Believe If I Didn't Believe Anything?: A Handbook for Spiritual Orphans and to communicate in Writing Tides: Finding Grace and Growth Through Writing and in his prayer poetry, Facing East, Praying West and Clergy Table Talk. With experience as a pastor, chaplain, and seminary professor, he serves as founding mentor of Oasis Ministries, Camp Hill, Pa. He teaches writing in Colorado prisons.

Kent Ira Groff currently resides in Denver, in the state of Pennsylvania.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
From Upper Room:  Oct 21, 2005
The author invites congregational leaders to weave spiritual practices into all aspects of ministry. The Soul of Tomorrow's Church will be restored as spiritual practices are woven in five ministry functions: worship, administration, education, soul care, and outreach. Every chapter teems with practical ways to weave spiritual practices of prayer, discernment, faith stories, silence, and hospitality in each one of these five specific ministry functions.

 
Soul Food For The Journey  Jan 26, 2001
The Soul of Tomorrow's Church: Weaving Spiritual Practices in Ministry Together by Kent Ira Groff, (Nashville, TN: Upper Room Books, 2000), 181 pp.

Reviewed by David Nash

Kent Groff gives us the book that many of us parish pastors have been looking for. He offers us not a new program but an ancient calling to recover the soul of the church, and, in the process, to find a renewal of our own calling to ministry.

I recommend the book highly, though it is not an easy book to live and work with, for the reader is called into self-examination and commitment while at the same time receiving encouragement and hope. Groff calls the pastoral leader and the believing community to the contemplative life style of practicing the presence of God in order to love God, others and self, especially as it works itself out in the functions of ministry. The aim is to recover the integrity, passion and wholeness of Christ within the believing community in order to re-present Christ to the world. To answer such a call means a long-term commitment and serious soul work.

What moves Groff to write this book is his deep concern for the spiritual life of the pastoral leader; the need for clergy and laity to be joined together, especially to work through crises; and how the common ventures of ministry and church life can become the opening for God's presence . this book is for laypersons and clergy together. It "is written for (our) interactive learning, reflection, prayer, and retreat" together in a contemplative spiritual journey.

Groff functions as a spiritual director for those who choose the contemplative path. He sees the vital ministries of worshipping, administering, educating, caring, and reaching out being woven together with the "spiritual aptitudes" of prayer, discernment, faith stories, silence-presence, and hospitality all for the purpose of Christ being formed in the believer and believing community for the sake of the world.

The creative image of weaving suggests possibilities of a variety of patterns of minsitry. It is a powerful image which could have been made stronger for us by a brief description of the weaver at work to help us see the loom and feel the excitement of the movement of the shuttle back and forth carrying the variety of threads to create a pattern. Still, the image comes through with careful reading.

Not a book of theology or theory, but building on both, the focus is on practicing the presence of God. In five chapters, Groff briefly describes the "soul" of the church and suggests how to weave the contemplative attitudes throughout each ministry of the church. Groff offers a variety of "leavening the liturgies" spiritual exercises for each function of ministry. And there are "resources" of spiritual practice included in the appendix.

The spiritual exercise are not gimmicks, techniques, or quick fixes. They are, however, interactive and participatory and suggestive. The intention is to make deeper connections with God and with one another. Indeed, Groff encourages the reader to create one's own exercises. The purpose is to place one's soul and the soul of the believing community before God and to be open to where God's Spirit leads. Each congregation, obviously, will be led into different expressions of God's love of the world through the functions of ministry.

Groff writes our of his rich experience of contemplative practice. In particular, I like the way in which each of the first two chapters on "The Soul of Tomorrow's Church" are enriched by a meditation on 1 Corinthians 13 as is also the next five chapters on "Weaving Spiritual Practices in Ministry together" are each nurtured by a meditation on Romans 12. Groff begins each chapter with an original Taize-like chant. And he includes his own poetry throughout the book. I found these gifts of his soul opening my own spiritual awareness as I read the book. And I felt our souls touching in sharing common concerns.

 

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