A Sustainable Presbyterian Future: What's Working and Why by Louis Weeks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Disappointing. This book is loaded with anecdotes, which I suppose are meant to inspire one to try similar activities in one's own congregation. The writing is academic and a bit stiff in places. Each chapter closes with a set of study questions, but this book provides few answers. I borrowed it from our presbytery library, and I'm glad I did. As a leader in my congregation, I felt a duty to read it. But I'm glad I didn't spend money on it. The early chapters on Presbyterian identity and culture and the description of the "new Presbyterian ecology" were helpful, but from there the book kind of coasts.
The subtitle, "What's working and why," is half right. Weeks gives many examples of congregations doing things right, but offers little analysis as to why some programs work and others don't, or why some congregations flourish while others die. There are few "action items," by which I mean key takeaways that a church leader can implement. It's one thing to show a congregation with a successful ministry, and another to explain what another congregation would need to do to replicate those results.
One characteristic of this book struck me as particularly odd. The author notes that the "new Presbyterian ecology" he's studying "employs digital technology and social media more than printed and published literature." Yeah. More than. Direct quote. But this book is not, so far as I could discover, available in any digital format.
UPDATE: This book is now available on Kindle. This is the first title published by Geneva Press I've seen on Kindle. Hopefully there will be many more.
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