More Than 52 Churches: The Journey Continues (ebook)

More Than 52 Churches: The Journey Continues (ebook)

More adventures, more insights, more struggles

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If you want to know your churchs weaknesses and strengths, you must look at it through the eyes of a visitor. Thats exactly what Peter DeHaan does as he shares an insiders perspective on dozens of churches.

What can we learn from the churches that line our cities and small towns, even if we never step foot inside?

Christian churches around the world are immensely varied in their size, interpretation of the Bible, and worship style, but there is one thing that unites them all: their belief in Jesus. 

In More Than 52 Churches, the sequel to 52 Churches, youll team up with Peter DeHaan as he travels to another twenty-four Christian congregations to observe, learn, and grow. Although this book is a sequel, it can be read as a standalone. As each church experience unfolds, youll discover greater diversity and new insights from a wide range of worship services and personal encounters with other believers.

In More Than 52 Churches, youll discover:

  • How to celebrate the amazing diversity of the local church and her worship styles
  • Different ways that church visitors experience your church and why thats important
  • How churches effectively minister to their congregations
  • The vital importance of church fellowship and personal connection
  • Insights to help you better connect with visitors

Ideal for members or church leaders, youll get a unique perspective and broader understanding of church denominations, sizes, and worship styles. The book will help believers understand that a one-size-fits-all congregation will never adequately represent all churches. Instead, every church should embrace their strengths and identify their weaknesses so that they can better serve the world around them.

With insightful commentary and a unique perspective into church communities, youll catch a greater vision for how we can appreciate every kind of church, even when it doesnt look like the church we call home.

You might even discover how you can make your church an even better one—just by experiencing it as a visitor does.

Get More Than 52 Churches and discover how you can reimagine your church today.

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Visiting Churches Series, book 2

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Wasn’t 52 Churches Enough?

For 52 Churches, my wife and I spent one year visiting a different Christian church every Sunday. It was an amazing journey that allowed us to experience the vast scope of Jesus’s church. The experience expanded our faith as we celebrated God in various local branches of his church. Yes, the worship practices varied and theology diverged, but the God behind these churches stood constant. It was good. So good.

We wrapped up the year in awe of God, appreciative of the diversity of his church, and grateful for the impact of the people we met along the way. We also felt relief (though mixed with a degree of sadness) as our journey concluded, and we celebrated a return to our home church on Easter.

In truth, visiting different churches week after week was exhausting. It wore us down. Even though our journey started as a fun adventure, toward the end it took more effort to walk into an unfamiliar church each Sunday with open eyes and fresh enthusiasm. Yes, we learned so much and met so many amazing people, both leaders and laity, but it was good to reclaim the regular routine of going to our home church every Sunday.

Still, I knew the journey wasn’t over. We had more to do.

Yes, the fifty-two churches we visited were a diverse group. But by design, they were all within ten miles of our house. Expanding our journey will unveil greater diversity, new insights, and more to celebrate. Therefore, we’ll look for more churches to visit, but we can’t—we won’t—do this every Sunday.

Instead, we’ll plan our visits sporadically, as our schedule allows, while maintaining a firm connection with our home church. This time, however, instead of methodically selecting churches based on their distance from our house, we’ll strategically choose them to realize the greatest range of experiences. This will maximize the scope of our journey and magnify our lessons.

But first, I’d like to share a couple of personal notes. As I mentioned in 52 Churches, I’m an introvert—as is slightly more than half the population. Navigating new social settings challenges me. This includes visiting churches. Even though I never got past my apprehension of walking into a new church each Sunday, it did become easier as the year progressed, since visiting churches became our new Sunday norm.

This time, I expect visiting to not be as easy. Since these church visits will unfold at irregular intervals, my Sunday norm will be going to our home church. Visiting a church will be an anomaly. Therefore, despite having done so over fifty times, I anticipate walking into these churches to be more difficult, not less. I’ll simply be out of practice and will encounter more—not less—emotionally laden moments.

Also, I want to affirm Candy, my wife and accomplice, for these visits. I couldn’t have asked for more. Having her at my side for each of the first fifty-two churches made a huge difference. Throughout, she was a perfect partner on our journey. Each week she would contact the church we planned to visit, verifying key details. And each week she went without complaint, offering her full support to me and our adventure. This became our normal Sunday practice for a whole year, and her support was essential.

This time, however, lacking a specific plan and schedule, we’ll need to discuss where we’re going and when. I anticipate some give-and-take that each marriage—each partnership of two people—encounters from time to time. Nonetheless, I know her support will shine just as brightly this time as last.

Having covered this, now I’m ready to start, but before we resume our church visitations, let’s revisit our return to our home church, Church #53. We’ll start with a condensed version of what I shared in 52 Churches.

Meet Author Peter DeHaan

Peter DeHaan, PhD, often makes religious people squirm, but spiritual seekers cheer. He’s not trying to be provocative, but he seeks truth, even if it makes some people uncomfortable. He yearns for Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

Peter earned his doctorate, awarded with high distinction, from Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary. He lives with his wife in beautiful Southwest Michigan and wrangles crossword puzzles in his spare time.

Learn more about Peter