Churches and the Crisis of Decline

A Hopeful, Practical Ecclesiology for a Secular Age

series: Ministry in a Secular Age

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Congregations often seek to combat the crisis of decline by using innovation to produce new resources. But leading practical theologian Andrew Root shows that the church's crisis is not in the loss of resources; it's in the loss of life--and that life can only return when we remain open to God's encountering presence.

This new book, related to Root's critically acclaimed Ministry in a Secular Age project, addresses the practical form the church must take in a secular age. Root uses two stories to frame the book: one about a church whose building becomes a pub and the other about Karl Barth. Root argues that Barth should be understood as a pastor with a deep practical theology that can help church leaders today.

This book pushes the church to be a waiting community that recognizes that the only way for it to find life is to stop seeing the church as the star of its own story. Instead of resisting decline, congregations must remain open to divine action. Root offers a rich vision for the church's future that moves away from an obsession with relevance and resources and toward the living God.

1. When the Church Becomes a Pub, and the Immanent Frame Our Map
2. Brother-Trouble and Meeting the Exorcist's Son: The Beginning of Karl Barth
3. A Funeral for a Church--A Funeral That Remakes a Church
4. An Apple Tree and the Incoherence of "God Is God"
5. The Church Can't Know How to Find God
6. The Church Is Not the Star of Its Own Story
7. Welcome to Crisis Mode
8. Wedding Blunders and Brotherly Love
9. Say Goodbye to Being and Give Me More Busyness
10. A Shady Obituary and the Need to Wait
11. Waiting Sucks but Resonance Is Life
12. Waiting Is Living: The Church and Resonance
13. When Mozart Goes Straight Into You and Through You
14. Pietism and Its Discontents: A Dialectical Escape from Individualism and Religion
15. A True Ghost Story and the Birth of Watchwords
16. Getting Real with a Dialectical Demand
17. Deepening the Dialectic: Avoiding Sledgehammering the Ceiling

The Author

  1. Andrew Root
    Caroline Yang

    Andrew Root

    Andrew Root (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is Carrie Olson Baalson Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of numerous books, including Faith Formation in a Secular Age, The Pastor in...

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