Churches That Make a Difference

Reaching Your Community with Good News and Good Works

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Is your church meeting both the physical and spiritual needs of your community? Churches That Make a Difference explores the biblical mandate and how-to's of developing and maintaining an effective holistic ministry that combines evangelism and social outreach. This comprehensive resource will help your congregation embrace change, resolve conflict, overcome social barriers, and move into a life-changing outreach of holistic ministry.



"Churches That Make A Difference is a biblically grounded, richly researched, and thoroughly useful guide to enacting holistic ministry in every congregation. With interesting cases and working examples, these compassionate academics offer a lighted path from lofty theological vision to the details of worship, program, partners and resources that you need to know. It's solid, inspirational, and ever so practical. " --Carl S. Dudley, faculty of Hartford Institute for Religion Research, Hartford Seminary, Hartford, CT

"This book, by people who know what they are talking about, shows that churches, especially small churches, with vision, courage, and a biblically informed theology can be major players for transforming cities. It gave me great hope." --Tony Campolo, professor of Sociology, Eastern College, St. Davids, Pennsylvania

"Dynamic Churches that combine passion for both evangelism and social action will be crucial for renewing society in years to come. By their profiling of fifteen such churches, Sider, Olson, and Unruh have demonstrated what it means to engage in holistic ministry--and have done so in an engaging style that points us to new solutions to well-worn problems. This is an important book that will have a lasting impact on the role and vision of all our 'faith based organizations'." --Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

"In this book we are not presents with a set of theories, although the undergirding emphasis is that churches must be involved in the whole fabric of human need. What the authors do is allow the stories of what God has done through His church to present models and challenges for us all to learn from. It would be hard to read the illustrations in this book and not be stimulated, encouraged, and above all, compelled to consider the need for us to change the way we do church in today's world.
This is compulsive reading because it's not a set of ideas-but realities that have been worked out in the ministry of local church. I wholeheartedly commend it." -Dr. Clive Calver, president, World Relief

"Recent tragic events as well as the failures of the social policies of the past have led us to what the authors eloquently describe as an 'astonishing opportunity' that 'beckons Christians eager to love the whole person the way Jesus did.'
This timely book combines a theological and historical perspective with practical advice to those growing numbers of churches responding to this important moment. Filled with detailed examples of ministries that are successfully addressing societal problems, it should be an influential and useful work." -Robert L. Woodson, Sr., president, National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise

"A faith-based revolution is emerging with the church, taking its rightful and responsible place in the public square. I found this timely book to be an insightful and practical guide for the church to seize this unprecedented opportunity." -Dave Donaldson, founder & CEO, We Care America

"Churches That Make a Difference has already made a major difference through its powerful presentation of
dynamic churches that model what it looks like to 'do' the Gospel. It is an extremely important book for
congregations seeking to create ministries that reach the whole person, body and soul, with God's empowering love." -Barbara Williams-Skinner, president, Skinner Leadership Institute

"This is a good book on Holistic Ministry. It is excellent for the church in America where the debates on church and state are common and the integration of evangelism and social ministry is still scarce. It is also timely for this time in history in which the church is being afforded the opportunity to demonstrate the positive impact of the faith in the life of the whole community and thus follow Christs' command." -Jesse Miranda

"Churches that recognize a seamless integration of the eternal and the temporal in their ministry have a grasp of the whole gospel. They are indeed churches that make a difference and their holistic ministry stands as a strong witness to good news AND good works. Those that want help in the integration of spiritual and social ministry will find that the latest book by Ron Sider, along with Philip Olson and Heidi Rolland Unruh, will give them the help they need." -Commissioner John Busby, National Commander

"Jesus told us that the most important thing is to love God and to love our neighbor. When asked about the definition of our neighbor, he told us that everyone is our neighbor. CHURCHES THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE provides a roadmap for congregations committed to loving their neighbors. It is a wonderful guide for churches that want to empower the poor and share the Gospel." -Rep. Tony Hall

"A rich, practical resource for church leaders desiring to develop ministries with an unwavering commitment to evangelism and a vision for offering neighbors a foretaste of the Kingdom of God through deeds of mercy and justice. The book raises probing questions that will help leaders assess just how much their congregataions are truly imitating the word-and-deed ministry of Jesus. If that leads to a painful admission that your church is falling short, take heart! For this book gives you concrete models to follow and step-by-step guidance for transforming your congregations into a church that makes a difference." -Amy Sherman, senior fellow, Hudson Institute; urban ministries advisor, Trinity Presbyterian Church

The Authors

  1. Ronald J. Sider

    Ronald J. Sider

    Ronald J. Sider (1939-2022; PhD, Yale University) was the founder and president emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action and served as distinguished professor of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary at Eastern...

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  2. Philip N. Olson

    Philip N. Olson

    Philip N. Olson is vice president for church relations at ESA and director of Network 9:35, which helps churches develop holistic ministries.

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  3. Heidi Rolland Unruh

    Heidi Rolland Unruh

    Heidi Rolland Unruh is associate director of the Congregations, Communities, and Leadership Development Project at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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