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A Place Where Everybody Matters: Life and Ministry in a Small Church by Jean F. Risley

A Place Where Everybody Matters: Life and Ministry in a Small Church by Jean F. Risley

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Jean F. Risley
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A Place Where Everybody Matters: Life and Ministry in a Small Church

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Book review

Small churches need the work of all of their people to survive, and this means that there's a productive place in the church family for every person, no matter how gifted or challenged. Small churches are uniquely personal, and they provide an unparalleled opportunity for Christians to learn, grow, and live out their faith consciously, every day. Small churches become a family, children of God, and brothers and sisters of Jesus together. There's no place to hide in a small church. The normal human dramas of good and evil, sin and repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation all happen in our relationships in the family. A small church is a place where people can serve an apprenticeship in faith, learning from those before them and passing on their experience to those around them. In a small church the pastor provides context by preaching and teaching, serves as a role model in encouraging the ministry of others, and, by loving the people, helps them see themselves through God's eyes. The rest is up to the people themselves and to God. ""Risley provides from her extensive pastoral experience an insider's view of the essential ministry of small churches today. With theological depth and practical wisdom she celebrates the Christian discipleship possible in a place that fosters a shared life where everybody matters. I highly recommend this work to both laity and clergy; it provides questions for reflection and discussion inviting congregational study."" --Robert W. Pazmino Valeria Stone Professor of Christian Education Andover Newton Theological School ""Butterflies in your soul? You've finished seminary, got credentialed, and now you have accepted your first call to minister . . . in a small church! Well, butterflies (and worse!) are entirely appropriate because you are about to enter a whole new world! BUT in Jean Risley's A Place Where Everybody Matters you have an excellent guide to the fascinating new universe of small church ministry. Let Risley be your mentor-in-print . . . Risley's practical wisdom and love of the small church will become infused in your pastoring and you will be a better minister for it! --Anthony G. Pappas author of Entering the World of the Small Church and Pastoral Stress Jean Risley is an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and a candidate in the Doctor of Ministry program at Andover Newton Theological School. Her interests include the implications of the Jewish background of Jesus and Paul, the challenge of living faithfully in contemporary culture, and the relationship between religion and science. Her website at www.JeanRisley.com provides a forum for discussing these issues.

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