The Invisible Church
Learning from the Experiences of Churchless Christians
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For anyone who is concerned about Church decline, the contents of this book offer an essential blueprint for building God's whole community in the coming years. This unique set of resources offers practical help and insight for all who want to grow, enrich and develop their congregational life.
The Church of Scotland has drawn on the findings of extensive new research that it has commissioned in order to put together this set of carefully crafted and informed resources aimed at helping every congregation to understand why people leave the Church, how to avoid unnecessary departures and, above all, to develop an enriching, vital Christian fellowship with the large numbers of Churchless Christians in every community across the country.
This ground-breaking book, illustrated by Dave Walker, offers information, hope, insight, prayerful reflection and practical ideas for bringing together in fellowship all Christians, whether they are members of an institutional Church or not.
'Here is a book dealing with one of the most significant issues of our time. While undergirded by rigorous academic research, it is eminently accessible and will be of deep interest to all who are interested in the changing nature of society, as well as the changing face of the church. In every chapter it aims to secure the reader’s practical engagement. At once hopeful and challenging, this is a major contribution to reflection on the place of the church in contemporary society. I wish it a wide readership.' -- Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
'When a serious researcher like Steve Aisthorpe writes about Churchless Christians instead of just writing them off, missional leaders need to be giving him their full attention.' -- David Walker, Bishop of Manchester
'Steve has turned his excellent research into a very accessible book that challenges us in the Church as to how we respond to the many who have not rejected Christian faith, but have sort of rejected the Church. Vitally, we are offered ways in which to respond to this challenge.' -- Revd Dr Stephen Skuce, Director of Scholarship, Research and Innovation, The Methodist Church
In this book, Steve Aisthorpe makes a very valuable contribution to our understanding of the growing number of Christians who are active in mission but not part of local congregations. His insights, drawn from extensive and rigorous research, make us think afresh about what God is doing in the western, developed world. These insights are honed and shaped by reflections on Bible passages. Some of our traditional ways of thinking are challenged, so read with a mind open to what the Spirit is saying! -- Elaine Duncan, Chief Executive, Scottish Bible Society
'The Invisible Church is insightful, well researched and prophetic. If your concerned about the future of the church in the west this is a must read. Through rigorous personal research and careful meta-analysis Steve Aisthorpe sketches the future of the church through the eyes of church-leavers.' -- Alan Jamieson, Author of A Churchless Faith
'If we are to build Christian communities that are genuinely mission-shaped and that shape a new future for the Church, then the importance of listening to voices of people outside the church, especially those who have left, cannot be underestimated. This is an excellent book to facilitate that.' -- Canon Phil Potter, Archbishop’s Missioner and Fresh Expressions Team Leader
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