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Underground Church: A Living Example of the Church in Its Most Potent Form

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What If the Church Truly Empowered People to Engage in God's Mission? Something extraordinary has been happening in Tampa, Florida. A new expression of the church has been quietly growing. It's something of an experiment, but over the last ten years the church has been validating its ideas with sustained and growing results. At The Underground, being the church is not focus What If the Church Truly Empowered People to Engage in God's Mission? Something extraordinary has been happening in Tampa, Florida. A new expression of the church has been quietly growing. It's something of an experiment, but over the last ten years the church has been validating its ideas with sustained and growing results. At The Underground, being the church is not focused around a weekly gathering or church programs. It's about empowering individuals to respond to God's call to ministry and mission, especially to the poor and disadvantaged in our midst. While many churches talk about discerning calling and engaging in mission, very few are structured to make this their ministry focus. Underground Church is a new vision for the church rooted in its biblical mission to share the love of God and serve the poor. Sanders explores how to make structural changes, how to think about leadership, how to fund ministries, and how to truly engage people in God's mission. Filled with creative insights, he explains what it means to center the mission of the church around the callings of individuals to outward ministry - whether that involves leading Bible studies in the workplace, feeding the homeless, or working to free women and children from sex trafficking. This book will both tell the inspiring story of a church that is rethinking what church looks like while also outlining and uncovering the principles that transfer for every church and Christian community that hopes for more. It's the true story of a 10-year experiment that unpacks the possibilities of a church structured and streamlined for mission.


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What If the Church Truly Empowered People to Engage in God's Mission? Something extraordinary has been happening in Tampa, Florida. A new expression of the church has been quietly growing. It's something of an experiment, but over the last ten years the church has been validating its ideas with sustained and growing results. At The Underground, being the church is not focus What If the Church Truly Empowered People to Engage in God's Mission? Something extraordinary has been happening in Tampa, Florida. A new expression of the church has been quietly growing. It's something of an experiment, but over the last ten years the church has been validating its ideas with sustained and growing results. At The Underground, being the church is not focused around a weekly gathering or church programs. It's about empowering individuals to respond to God's call to ministry and mission, especially to the poor and disadvantaged in our midst. While many churches talk about discerning calling and engaging in mission, very few are structured to make this their ministry focus. Underground Church is a new vision for the church rooted in its biblical mission to share the love of God and serve the poor. Sanders explores how to make structural changes, how to think about leadership, how to fund ministries, and how to truly engage people in God's mission. Filled with creative insights, he explains what it means to center the mission of the church around the callings of individuals to outward ministry - whether that involves leading Bible studies in the workplace, feeding the homeless, or working to free women and children from sex trafficking. This book will both tell the inspiring story of a church that is rethinking what church looks like while also outlining and uncovering the principles that transfer for every church and Christian community that hopes for more. It's the true story of a 10-year experiment that unpacks the possibilities of a church structured and streamlined for mission.

54 review for Underground Church: A Living Example of the Church in Its Most Potent Form

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andy Littleton

    Very worth the read! Sanders’ model may not fit for all, but challenges what churches have been doing in all the right ways and for all the right reasons. He should be listened to and we all (church leaders) should ask the questions he’s asked and answer them for ourselves.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jason Heydasch

    If for no other reason (but there are a lot of reasons), this is a must-read to get a detailed glimpse of how one group in Florida reflected on the shape of the early Church, inspected where we've come since then, and then course-corrected in a unique way. One of my favorite quotes from the book: "Our lack of imagination creates a culture and a spirit of competition between churches. We not only fail to find our way into the places of greatest need, but we fight each other over the minority demo If for no other reason (but there are a lot of reasons), this is a must-read to get a detailed glimpse of how one group in Florida reflected on the shape of the early Church, inspected where we've come since then, and then course-corrected in a unique way. One of my favorite quotes from the book: "Our lack of imagination creates a culture and a spirit of competition between churches. We not only fail to find our way into the places of greatest need, but we fight each other over the minority demographic that is already predisposed to come to a church service" (p. 106).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kyle VanEtten

    “The refrain of the church is and always will be, ‘Jesus is Lord’...” Underground Church is more than just a book it is a true story that is unfolding about “Brave ideas, brave people, and brave structures” and the ways that they are, and are becoming, a beautiful expression of the beloved community of Jesus Christ in their context and time in history. It is a story that has profoundly impacted my life and my view of God, and that has profoundly widened my imagination and dreams for what the chur “The refrain of the church is and always will be, ‘Jesus is Lord’...” Underground Church is more than just a book it is a true story that is unfolding about “Brave ideas, brave people, and brave structures” and the ways that they are, and are becoming, a beautiful expression of the beloved community of Jesus Christ in their context and time in history. It is a story that has profoundly impacted my life and my view of God, and that has profoundly widened my imagination and dreams for what the church as the people of God can be. Within these pages is a vision of a church that doesn’t simply run programs and fill seats on Sundays, but one which mobilizes, equips, and empowers every Christian who enters it to join our missionary God in his missionary work in the world. As the book says, “we are trying to empower every kind of person in every kind of context to reach every kind of person in every kind of context” and later “we are asking everyone to see their whole lives, their relationships, dreams, gifts, possessions, and yes, their money as the possession of God and as part of the commonwealth of his people.” I’m grateful for this book and to all the people who made it possible. I’m grateful for the wisdom and humility within it, not offering strict rules and rigid structures, not franchising or self-aggrandizing, but offering up new hope and vision for the church. The book tells the story of the Underground’s origins, and foundational values, and it offers an honest look at what that has led to practically in the daily life of their community. This book is important - because it does not say “do what we do” - it says “learn from what we do, then go do it even better.”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Stebbins

    A bit of an overlap here with Simplicity by Richard Rohr which I happened to be reading at the same time, in the way they invisage base church/institutional church (Rohr) and microchurches/network (Sanders). Lots of food for thought for the possibilities of our little gathering in Surrey Hills. The large network exists to serve the needs of the small microchurches that are formed by committed Christians passionate about mission in a particular localized sphere. Special emphasis is placed on the A bit of an overlap here with Simplicity by Richard Rohr which I happened to be reading at the same time, in the way they invisage base church/institutional church (Rohr) and microchurches/network (Sanders). Lots of food for thought for the possibilities of our little gathering in Surrey Hills. The large network exists to serve the needs of the small microchurches that are formed by committed Christians passionate about mission in a particular localized sphere. Special emphasis is placed on the marginal and vulnerable but I noticed that they also have groups reaching out to particular groups eg sporting people etc. Good balance of theology and the practical outworking in their context. For example he goes into specifics of finance, governance which was helpful.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joe Reed

    I struggle with the original starting point. I struggle with the financial model. But I appreciate the empowerment of leadership. I’m concerned that many will flock to replicate a model without doing the work of cultivating a posture of prayer and partnership with the Lord as the guide for ministry. That is the challenge in every season someone presents their models.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amy Jacobsen

    Really enjoyed this book. Insightful to hear about the convictions and values that have shaped this church from the very beginning. Also interesting model and paradigms to consider as we move into a new era in parachurch ministry and wrestle with our own philosophy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dwight Weber

    Creating a new tomorrow After reading this book and experiencing the Underground, it is as Brian says. This revolutionary kind of is changing lives.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Duke Revard

    So much here for me to process. Sanders is well-read and a proven local practitioner. Great insight.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joel Leininger

    Really good book about a church that is doing things different. Made me think.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    Lots to chew on in this book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Matias Koskinen

    A practical case on how a self-organised/decentralised church organisation operates. A clear, useful and inspiring read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dale Talley

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cassie Gonyer

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Morgan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Howey

  17. 5 out of 5

    Terry

  18. 5 out of 5

    Steven Rivera

  19. 4 out of 5

    Allison

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wil. Wilkin

  21. 4 out of 5

    steve hadley

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Tower

  23. 5 out of 5

    Paul Dazet

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matt Berry

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christine Johnson

  26. 5 out of 5

    J. Vetterlein

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eddie Taylor

  28. 4 out of 5

    Becky

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jason Kolar

  30. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Power

  31. 4 out of 5

    Corey Tabor

  32. 5 out of 5

    Erwin Goedicke

  33. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  34. 4 out of 5

    Karen Ellis

  35. 5 out of 5

    Aileen

  36. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  37. 5 out of 5

    Sam

  38. 5 out of 5

    LeeAnna Smith

  39. 4 out of 5

    Beth Taylor

  40. 5 out of 5

    Kathie R Goff

  41. 5 out of 5

    Chris Battle

  42. 5 out of 5

    Diane Williams

  43. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

  44. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  45. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  46. 4 out of 5

    R.J.

  47. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Gilbert

  48. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Erwin

  49. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  50. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

  51. 4 out of 5

    Trent

  52. 4 out of 5

    Carl Ball

  53. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Wegner

  54. 4 out of 5

    Ben Connelly

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