Churches That Make a Difference: Reaching Your Community with Good News and Good Works

Sider, Ronald J., Philip N. Olson, and Heidi Rolland Unruh. Churches That Make a Difference: Reaching Your Community with Good News and Good Works. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2002.

Ronald Sider, Philip Olson and Heidi Unruh write Churches That Make a Difference to help congregations develop holistic Christian ministries in their communities. The authors define holistic ministry as “reaching your community with the whole gospel for the whole person through whole churches.” They believe that effective community outreach fully integrates both the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ (evangelism) and good works (compassion and social justice ministries) as modeled supremely in the ministry of Christ. Their conviction is that the failure of secular social service programs to change lives along with the current search for meaning in religion and faith has created an “astonishing opportunity” for congregations to demonstrate the ability of the gospel to meet the total needs of persons and communities. <p> The book’s three major sections explore the biblical foundation and meaning of holistic ministry, the essential components of a holistic congregation, and the stages of developing a holistic ministry vision. The final chapter provides instruction in how to deal with fears, change and conflict that may arise in churches moving toward holistic ministry. The book is amply illustrated with examples of community ministry taken from the fifteen churches studied as part of the Congregations, Communities, and Leadership Project. Two appendices—a profile of the churches involved in the project, and a list of holistic ministry resources—round out the book.