The Book


The Slow Church book is scheduled to be released by IVP/Praxis in June 2014.

A press kit is available here.
Now available for preorder from these sites and from your local bookstore:

IVP/Praxis  |  Amazon  |
Powells  |  Hearts and Minds


[ FREE 2-chapter Sampler! ]


From the Back Cover:

Fast food. Fast cars. Fast and furious. Fast forward. Fast . . . church?

The church is often idealized (or demonized) as the last bastion of a bygone era, dragging our feet as we’re pulled into new moralities and new spiritualities. We guard our doctrine and our piety with great vigilance. But we often fail to notice how quickly we’re capitulating, in the structures and practices of our churches, to a culture of unreflective speed, dehumanizing efficiency and dis-integrating isolationism.

In the beginning, the church ate together, traveled together and shared in all facets of life. Centered as they were on Jesus, these seemingly mundane activities took on their own significance in the mission of God. In Slow Church, Chris Smith and John Pattison invite us out of franchise faith and back into the ecology, economy and ethics of the kingdom of God, where people know each other well and love one another as Christ loved the church.


We have been humbled by the endorsements Slow Church has received–all from writers, activists, pastors, theologians, and and community practitioners whose work has meant so much to us. Here are the endorsements that have come in so far:


“The internet providers have persuaded us that ‘fast’ is better…about everything. As a result, ‘slow’ is a deeply subversive, counter-cultural notion in a culture of ‘fast.’ This thoughtful, discerning book advocates ‘slow’ in faith and in life. This advocacy is a recognition that faith is a practice of relational fidelity that cannot be reduced to contractual or commodity transaction. The authors ponder and reflect on this summons with both pastoral sensitivity and missional passion. Readers eager for an evangelically paced life will pay close attention to this advocacy.”

Walter Brueggemann
Author of The Prophetic Imagination and Journey to the Common Good
William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus
Columbia Theological Seminary
Decatur, GA


“Chris and John have done a fantastic job of envisioning a wholesomely sustainable, spiritually alluring, and thoroughly kingdom-centric church that is simply fulfilling its purpose of witnessing to Jesus in the rhythms of God’s grace. I just have to join in! An inspiring read.”

Alan Hirsch
Author of The Forgotten Ways 


“The only way the church can be the church as God wants it is when the people of the church slow down enough to become the church. Good themes, excellent quotations, telling stories, and solid research mark what is one of the freshest alternatives to church-life-as-it-is-today. Buy this, but don’t read it fast. Read it slow. “

Scot McKnight
Author of The Jesus Creed and The King Jesus Gospel
Professor of New Testament
Northern Seminary
Chicago, IL


“Hurry, worry, stress and striving have come to dominate human consciousness in the 21st century—the logical consequences of a society built on individualism and productivity at any cost. We long for a pace of life that allows us to enjoy deep relationships, meaningful work, spiritual vitality and the simple pleasures of life. In Slow Church, Pattison and Smith offer a hopeful vision of the future, rooted in the Christian gospel, that provides a comprehensive orientation for pursuing a more integrative path. This book tenderly calls common assumptions about the church and society into question, carefully synthesizing Christian theology with emerging ecological consciousness. For the sake of our souls, our grandchildren and the planet I hope we pay attention to Smith and Pattison’s conclusions and take action.”

Mark Scandrette
Author of FREE and Practicing the Way of Jesus
Founding director of ReIMAGINE


“Recognizing the destructive consequences of church structures and individual lifestyles built around efficiency, control, and hypermobility, Smith and Pattison challenge us to recover the social significance of God’s slow and patient work in the world. This beautifully crafted book offers perceptive analyses, asks crucial questions, and provides gracious wisdom for finding ways to live more fully attentive to God and to our particular time and place. Slow Church, like a well-prepared meal, provides nourishment and delight and invites long and fruitful conversation.”

Christine D. Pohl
Author of Making Room and Living into Community
Professor of Christian Social Ethics
Asbury Theological Seminary
Wilmore, KY


Slow Church spurs a passionate imagination for God’s patient diligent working in the small everyday peculiarities of our lives together with Him. It’s a call to the simple goodness of life … made possible with God in community and neighborhood. Read it and be cured forever of programmed church.”

David Fitch
Author of Prodigal Christianity
B R Lindner Professor of Evangelical Theology
Northern Seminary
Chicago, IL


“In this ‘timely’ book Smith and Pattison lead us into the habits and practices that are essential if churches are to savor, mobilize, and celebrate the gifts of God’s goodness all around. Read it with friends and then be prepared to discover the grit and the grace that that make life together a foretaste of the kingdom of God. Slow Church is a beautifully conceived book that challenges us to live more deeply into community and in discipleship of Jesus Christ.”

Norman Wirzba
Author of Food and Faith and Living the Sabbath
Professor of Theology and Ecology
Duke Divinity School
Durham, NC


“Smith and Pattison marshal the wisdom of our greatest cultural thinkers—people like Berry, Heschel, Pollan, and Vanier—in this tour de force manifesto. This smart book reveals the vacuity of fast church and realigns us with the locality, rest, unpredictability, and simple delight that come with the Way of Jesus.”

Jon M. Sweeney
Author of When Saint Francis Saved the Church


“In this agitated and anxious world, our worth is determined by our productivity and our value is measured by how much we can devour. Without much thought, even our churches have become tangled up in our quick-consumption mentality. In the midst of the greedy mindlessness of ministry, C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison evoke a different vision—one of a careful community of deep relationships. As a pastor, I lingered over the words of Slow Church with delight as they inspired me and made me welcome what we might become.

The Rev. Carol Howard Merritt
Author of Reframing Hope and Tribal Church
Columnist, The Christian Century 


“All of our churches are shaped by our cultural environments—and Smith and Pattison note how forces such as fragmentation, impatience, commodification, branding, hypermobility, individualism, and efficiency too often dominate our practices and priorities. So we strive for control in the midst of fears and self-protection. Slow Church provides theology and imagination that connect gospel embodiment with place and neighbors, calling us to slower lives around tables and conversations that nourish and interweave gratefulness, listening, work, hospitality, justice, and the biblical trajectory toward the reconciliation of all things. Less of McDonalds; more of sabbath feasts.

Mark Lau Branson
Author of Memories, Hopes, and Conversations
Professor of the Ministry of the Laity
Fuller Seminary
Pasadena, CA


“Have the qualities of fast food—quick, easy to consume, mass-produced and much the same wherever you go—influenced our expectations of church and church life? What have we lost in the process—and what do we have to gain by slowing down, paying attention to the particularities of the place and people around us, and seeking to produce rather than merely to consume? This wise, literate, and timely book is a much needed alternative to the one-size-fits-all, ‘bigger = better’ approach that often dominates the conversation about church life.”

Rachel Marie Stone
Author of Eat With Joy 


“James Houston once wrote, ‘the speed of godliness is slow.’ In a culture that values speed and worships efficiency, Christopher Smith and John Pattison, in their book Slow Church, show us the graceful rhythms of fully embodied presence. Food, farming, faith and friendships cannot be rushed; neither can the Church. Quality is more important than quantity. Slow Church reveals that there is a better, freer and more hope-filled way than frenetic ministry and exhausted lives. It sees slow not as lazy or bad, but as rich and meaningful. This book challenges us to savor – not devour – the blessings of God in the midst of community. Ecclesiologically, patience truly is a virtue. Food tastes better when it marinates. Church is no different.”

J.R. Briggs
Pastor/Cultural Cultivator, The Renew Community
Founder, Kairos Partnerships
Author of Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure


“At long last, a book I relish giving away to the vast number of people longing for an alternative between ‘McDonald’s Church’ and the end of the church altogether. In neighborhoods across North America there are hundreds of thousands of Christ followers trying to experiment with a new way of being the church in everyday life. Now, there is a hopeful guidebook that is rich with empirical and anecdotal research, historical depth, and theological savvy that can guide their way. THIS IS THE BOOK you rush out and buy a dozen copies of to give hope and help to your friends who want to follow the way of Jesus.”

Paul Sparks
Author of The New Parish
Co-founder of The Parish Collective


“This is not just another book about how to do better at whatever issue is most vexing at the moment – whether self-care in the context of ever-increasing pressure in the church to get it all done, or church ‘growth’, or the latest push for ‘missions’. Slow Church is a game-changer for all of those issues. It gives voice to a movement that is changing the way Christians practice the faith – a change that moves the church community toward actually slowing down and seeking ‘to anchor itself in the deep, still waters of a remarkably patient yet radically immanent God.’ Truly a breath of fresh air, Slow Church shows with concrete, everyday examples how choices to recognize ‘strangers’ as God’s own gifted children, regardless of appearances, and to cultivate Christian practices in the context of living and working closer to each other and to the land, is healing and redemptive and very much worth the effort.”

Carol F. Johnston
Author of The Wealth or Health of Nations: Transforming Capitalism from Within
Associate Professor of Theology and Culture
Christian Theological Seminary
Indianapolis, IN