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If our church isn’t a place of genuine inclusivity for the 21st century, are we a 21st century church? How do we define inclusive? If the world is changing, are we able to change with it? What if this new church looks different than we think it should?
Jeff Kjellberg’s IMAGINING A NEW CHURCH What if We’re Asking the Wrong Questions? opens the door to a conversation about who we have been, who we are now, and who we can be in the future. In recent years, we have experienced a decline in both membership and engagement, and have struggled to sustain ourselves in a shifting and uncertain landscape. We have always relied on our history as a church to both energize our present and direct our path forward. But what if we don’t just have a storied past but a new and exciting future?
Rather than relying on failing strategies – strategies that have not turned our diminishing communities of faith around – what if we work towards a new practice? Through a series of self-examing questions, Kjellberg leads the reader through a process of deep reflection and creative inspiration. He asks us to examine our preset beliefs about who we are and what we believe, and explore a new way of being church.
This is not easy work, and Kjellberg encourages us to express the full range of our doubts, fears, and sorrows. But rather than mourning where we are now, what if the mystery of the future is what inspires our present? Can we find that new path forward, without letting fear of loss block our way? Imagining A New Church challenges us to ask ourselves a new set of questions, freeing us from the need to recover to a place of imagining something new.
JEFFREY KJELLBERG is the owner/president of three national faith-based consulting firms that work to develop financial resources, create effective missional strategies, and equip vibrant leaders. Jeff served as a pastor in the ELCA for 15 years prior to becoming a consultant/owner. He has an undergraduate degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN (1983) and a M/Div. from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN (1983). Through his consulting work, Jeff has traveled the country engaging with thousands of leaders and hundreds of ministry contexts, giving him a wealth of insight and perspective to the current realities facing faith based communities. He has dedicated his career to helping these faith communities fully live into their holy purpose.
Jeff lives in St. Paul, MN with his wife, Melanie. They have four children and one grandchild. Jeff ’s passions are spending as much time with his family and traveling the world to experience the vast diversity of God’s creation and the complexities and beauty of the human condition.
“As a respected and innovative leader, Jeffrey Kjellberg has repeatedly proven himself as one who can spark and sustain the fullness of a holy imagination. We are fortunate to receive his voice and vision, especially in times such as these, for he challenges us to resist our fears, receive amazing grace, and embrace inconvenient questions in order to flourish as participants in God’s ongoing mission. As one who has received an assortment of insights through his teaching, I recommend “Imagining a New Church” for all those seeking to serve with an inquisitive mind, courageous spirit, and burning heart.”
Rev. Dr. Brian E. Konkol
Dean of Hendricks Chapel, Syracuse University