FREE eBOOK: 54 Leaders Under 50 Share 50+ Ideas to Revitalize Your Congregation

This morning I received a note announcing the release of a new FREE eBook from Luther Seminary and their Lilly Foundation funded Vibrant Congregations Project. I have not read it yet, but just by walking through the list of contributors, my guess is that everyone should be able to find SOMETHING useful.

While this combination of names may not always be seen in the same group, our common connection is that we are still part of the under-50 crowd and we see some hope and movement in the church. I doubt that any of us naive about what is going on, but merely do not want doom and gloom to define the whole story, especially for a people who claim to believe in new life even out of death.

Here is a little from Editor, David Lose, as he talks about the origin of Renew 52,

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of people complaining about the decline of the church.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as aware of the dismal statistics as you are. But I’m tired of hearing them for two reasons. First, precisely because we already know them, I’m just not sure how helpful it is to repeat them to ourselves endlessly. Second, because it’s not the whole story. There is a lot of growth, a lot of potential, and a lot of hope in our congregations as well as decline. Moreover, the Spirit is moving in exciting ways and I am firmly convinced that we are on the cusp of exciting, if unpredictable, renewal.

And yes, this is a FREE eBOOK that you can read on your Kindle, Nook or iPad. Just head on over to to download your copy today. And if you are a contributor and want to share your contact info, please feel free to leave it in the comments section so folks can find you.

The 54 contributors to Renew 52 are as follows:

Eric D. Barreto, Kate Blanchard, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Kurt Borgmann, Dan Bredberg, Theresa Cho, Adam J. Copeland, Wayne E. Croft, Lillian Daniel, Keri Day, Nathan Dungan, David L. Everett, David Gambrell, Kenyatta R. Gilbert, Sara Hayden, Christopher A. Henry, Jodi Houge, Terrance Jacob, Rolf A. Jacobson, Sandhya Jha, Tony Jones, Verity A. Jones, Salim Kaderbhai, Karoline Lewis, David J. Lose (editor), Ronnie McBrayer, Joy L. McDonald Coltvet, Meg Peery McLaughlin, Michael D. McLaughlin, Carol Howard Merritt, Joy J. Moore, Martha Moore-Keish, Roger S. Nam, Amy E. Orstad, Anjeanette Perkins, Christian Piatt, Rozella Poston, Russell Rathbun, Nick Reed & Kathy Wolf Reed, Amy Reeder Worley, Peter Rollins, Andrew Root, Kara K. Root, Ryan Sato, Christian Scharen, Amy Thompson Sevimli, Jeffrey Small, Alan Storey, Adam Thomas, Deanna A. Thompson, Daryl Thul, Peter J. Walker, Sarah Walker Cleaveland and me.

Three Reasons You Should Attend Wild Goose West

UPDATE on August 17, 2012 – The WGF folks have extended my 15% discount code until Midnight on August 29th, so if you are still deciding if this is an event to attend, there is still time to get a little break on the registration fee. Register here: Wild Goose Ticket Website and use the code, WILDBRC (all caps).

UPDATE on August 12, 2012 – If it helps give you a sense of the kinds of things that are going at Wild Goose, here are two draft descriptions of talks that I’ll be giving.

  • Saturday @ 9am – Panel on difference
  • Saturday @ 2pm – Solo talk, “Are we still talking about race?”
    Still one of the most “awkward moment” inducing topics in today’s church is the issue of race. Some want to just “get beyond it” while, for others, race seems to be the only discourse worthy of attention. And then there are those who “don’t see race” and think that we perpetuate the racial divide by talking about it. Race is a difficult topic, but one that new expressions of faith must address with nuance, passion and faith . . .  so that’s what I’ll attempt to do.
  • Saturday @ 7pm – Solo talk,  “The radical nature of the middle way”
    As we move deeply into the presidential election season, what will it looks like to be a positive presence in the public square? In a world where it seems as if many people – politicians and pastors – find refuge in strident ideological camps, might the radical calling of Christ be to genuinely hear the other, cross the aisle and find moments of grace that strengthen the common good? Lets talk about it.
  • Sunday @ 2pm – Panel on the future of denominations

This Labor Day Weekend near Portland, OR, I will be participating in the gathering known as Wild Goose West 2012 and I would love to see you there! I have never been to a Wild Goose, but have had a good number of friends who have attended the East Coast version that has been in existence for a few years, so I am excited to finally be able to make it.

In addition to this thoughtful reflection from Katie Mulligan, here is some info from the official site:

We are a community creating a festival at the intersection of justice, spirituality and art. The first festival took place in June 2011; the next one is August 31-September 2. We take inspiration from many places, such as Greenbelt, Burning Man, the Iona Community, SXSW, and others. The festival is open to everyone; we don’t censor what can be said; we invite respectful – but fearless – conversation and action for the common good.

The Wild Goose is a Celtic spirituality metaphor that evokes unpredictability, beauty, and grace. The festival resonates with this image because we recognize that in the current climate of religious and political division and lack of civility, embracing the creative and open nature of our faith is perhaps our greatest asset for re-building and strengthening our relationships with each other, with our enemies, with our stories, our questions, and the other. In that spirit, in an informal setting, and in the context of creative and respectful relationships, we invite you to imagine a new world with us.

Here are three reasons that you should consider attending Wild Goose West’s inaugural gathering:

1 . . . If you have ever wanted to meet these other people that I have talked about in my blogs, tweets and instagram pics, this will be the first event in a long time where my whole family (spouse and three daughters) plus my mom and step-dad will be at the same event. They are all much more fun than I and if you want to play a little Settlers of Catan, we are so game!

Second . . . there are some awesome folks lined up to speak, sing and create, so there will be plenty to feed your soul. I’m speaking as well, but please do not let that deter you from coming because you can also listen to and interact with yahoo’s such as: Dervish D’Light, Nadia Bolz-Weber, No Kind Of Rider, Rachel Evans, Yvette Flunder, Brian McLaren,Fr. Richard Rohr, Alexia Salvatierra, Richard Twiss, Sara Fischer, Susan Leo David, Leslie Melissa, Marley Bonnichsen, Kurt Neilson, Brittany Ouchida, Kerlin Richter, Maria-Jose “Cote” Soerens, Diane Syrcle, Menomena, Linda Hornbuckle, Obo Addy, Josh Garrels, Gungor, Aaron Strumpel, Blacque Butterfly, Randy Woodley, Shelley Short, Lauren Steele, Mike McGonigal, Beyondadoubt, Speaker Minds, Ryan Sollee, When The Broken Bow, Hannah Glavor, Great Wilderness, Kat Jones, Kelli Schaefer, Agents Of Future, and . . .

AND C . . . There is a serious rumor going around that my mom and step-father will be cooking up some chicken adobo, so you will NOT want to miss your chance to experience this yummy Filipino cuisine.

If you do decide to go, the good folks at Wildgoose have set up a special 15% off promo code, so when you register, use “WILDBRC” (all caps) on the Wild Goose Ticket Website and click on the reddish “Enter Promotion Code” link.  The code expires at midnight on August 15th.

To keep up with Wild Goose West announcements on the interwebs:

Hope to see you then, but if you can’t go, I’ll be tweeting and instagramming (sp?) all the while!