National headlines regularly herald the decline of Christianity in the United States, citing historically low levels of confidence in organized religion, drops in church attendance, church closures, and the dramatic rise of the “Nones” (no religious affiliation). But the trends are more complicated, and not solely pointing to decline. Scarcely heard are stories from the thousands of new churches and new forms of Christian community that are springing up each year across the country.
In his book, Church Planting in Post-Christian Soil: Theology and Practice(Oxford University Press, 2017), Christopher James highlights stories of ecclesial innovation taking place in the “post-Christian” metropolis of Seattle, Washington—a city on the leading edge of trends shaping the nation and Western Europe as a whole—offering sociological insight, theological reflection, and pragmatic advice.
James will share his stimulating, encouraging, and innovative work and then invite us to reconsider the narrative that portrays these first decades of the twenty-first century as a period of ecclesial decline, and to instead view our historical moment and our communities as filled with hope for renewal and rebirth.
Lunch will be provided.*
Rev. Dr. Christopher B. James is Associate Professor of Evangelism and Missional Christianity at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. There he leads the Master of Mission and Discipleship degree and a Doctor of Ministry cohort on “Leadership in a Changing Context” with Dr. Alan Roxburgh. He is author of Church Planting in Post-Christian Soil: Theology and Practice (Oxford University Press, 2017) and holds a Ph.D. in Practical Theology from Boston University School of Theology, a M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a B.A. from Wheaton College. His research has been featured by several media outlets including the SeattleMet magazine, Seattle’s NPR station, The Daily Beast, and the RePlacing Church podcast. Chris is Director of the Dane Churches Project as well as Mission Madison, an innovative cohort-based initiative that equips missional leaders to thrive in the Greater Madison area.
*We enjoy extending thoughtful hospitality to our community. To help offset meal-related costs, we invite our guests to consider a $10 contribution for lunch on the day of the event. We are grateful for your support of Upper House programming and hospitality.