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Organizing Church


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About the Author

Tim Conder is the founding pastor of Emmaus Way in Durham, NC. As an organizer, he has worked with the Clergy Caucus and Strategy Team for Durham CAN and Metro IAF, and was one of the founding leaders of EmergentVillage. Tim's writing includes The Church in Transition: The Journey of Existing Churches into the Emerging Culture and contributions to The Emergent Manifesto of Hope and Pastoral Work (on the life of Eugene Peterson). Dan Rhodes is Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Justice and Faculty Coordinator of Contextual Education at the Institute of Pastoral Studies of Loyola University Chicago. His work centers on political theology, broad-based community organizing, ecclesiology, critical theory, globalization, sovereignty and governance, peace studies, and more. Dan is currently the editor-in-chief of The Other Journal, a position he has held since 2011. He co-pastored Emmaus Way in Durham with Tim Conder. He currently lives in Evanston, IL with his wife, Elizabeth, and two spirited daughters. Organizing Church is the second book from Tim Conder and Dan Rhodes; Free For All: Rediscovering the Bible in Community was published in 2009.


"Lots of people are fed up with 'organized religion.' They recognized that religion is too often poorly organized--or well-organized around the wrong purposes! That's why this book is so valuable: drawing wisdom from the important field of community organizing, it helps you imagine a church organizing well and for the right purposes."--Brian D. McLaren, activist, author of The Great Spiritual Migration

"Tim Conder and Dan Rhodes know what they are talking about. They have formed and reformed a number of congregations and have been leaders in fitting churches for more faithful, fruitful futures.
Now they tell us how in their spirited call for churches to organize themselves to make a more vibrant Christian witness in their communities. They make a strong case that in giving to our community contexts we receive more lively, faithful congregations. Conder and Rhodes have led community organizing ministry in their contexts, now they guide us in organizing the church Christ means for us to be."--Will Willimon, Duke Divinity School, United Methodist Bishop (retired)

"J. I. Packer once observed that the problem of evangelical and free churches is they suffer from a 'stunted ecclesiology.' If his diagnosis was correct, and I believe it was, then Conder and Rhodes offer the equivalent of an ecclesial growth hormone therapy. The ecclesiology they propose begins at the level of practice and moves to theological reflection. This book should be at the top of the list for anyone seeking to understand what it means for congregations to be the Body of Christ's continuing presence in the world."--Curtis W. Freeman, Duke University Divinity School, author of Contesting Catholicity and Undomesticated Dissent.

"This book doesn't allow us to whine about what's wrong in the world or the church: it is a bold and prophetic call to practical actions of compassion and conviction. It can serve as a field guide to re-envision the church as a neighbor who both loves and practices compassion but it is a bold and prophetic call to both reflective and decisive engagement as artists who fearlessly craft something beautiful in ordinary and familiar neighborhoods in your town and mine. What the reader cannot do is to remain disengaged from the agency of activism in the life of the Body of Christ....Belief without practice is an abstract exercise which brings little value or change. Practice without belief is an exercise in subjectivity and randomness. Conder and Rhodes have written a call to belief and practice in an ancient form that they call Organizing the Church. The early church practiced it as apostolic ministry--forming communities of faith and practice grounded in time and place in particular cultures."--Keith R. Anderson, President, Seattle School of Theology & Psychology and author of A Spirituality of Listening and
Reading Your Life's Story: An Invitation to Spiritual Mentoring

"You think you have heard about white evangelicals in politics. But have you heard this other (very different) story that Conder and Rhodes tell? One of congregations organizing for justice with black and brown sisters and brothers, learning from the IAF and the NAACP, working for justice for all people and creation, participating in bringing the kingdom Jesus preached? The former might win you the White House. But the latter is bigger and more lasting--it points to--no, it is--the Beloved Community. This book is brimming with grace and wisdom and hard work and good cheer."--Jason Byassee, Vancouver School of Theology

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