"How many open country churches average more than three thousand in worship every weekend? How many mainline Protestant congregations have three times as many people worshiping God every weekend as they have members? How many congregations are using the electronic visual media to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
"These are three of the story lines in this remarkable book about one of the most exciting new forms of ministry on the North American continent. If you want to visit a tested working model of the worshiping community of the twenty-first century, spend a long weekend with this congregation that meets in a building on a county road out in the country a dozen miles north of Dayton, Ohio. If you cannot do that, read this book and study the CD-ROM disk about multi-sensory worship that is included.
"This book also illustrates a half dozen of the distinctive characteristics of the best churches of today and tomorrow. First, and from this observer's perspective, the most distinctive, when the laity are challenged to be engaged in doing ministry, they respond with enthusiasm, commitment, and effectiveness, if the challenge is to meaningful ministry, if the institutional environment is supportive of their involvement, if the appropriate training is provided, and if the assignment matches the passion, gifts, and skills of the volunteer.
"Second, the large regional church can reach and serve a mixture of people, including those who reside in a large central city, in the newer suburbs, in the small town, and out in the open country. The call to mission has replaced geographical proximity as the defining characteristic of the people to be served.
Third, Out on the Edge is evidence that a growing number of congregations welcome everyone who is interested to come and worship God with us, but have a high threshold for anyone who seeks to become a member. Participation is wide open, but unreserved commitment is the synonym for membership.
"Fourth, Out on the Edge is an outstanding example of how lives are transformed as people move from passive believers to active disciples.
"Fifth, Out on the Edge is an outstanding example of how staff-volunteer teams are replacing the old configuration in which each program staff member worked alone with his or her committee. The old staff formula was based on the hope that one plus one plus one plus one plus one equals five. The new configuration is based on the assumption that three plus five plus seven equals sixty in terms of creativity, productivity, innovation, and middle-sized miracles.
Finally, Out on the Edge illustrates very clearly that the road to a new tomorrow is paved with patience, persistence, passion, trust, creativity, patience, tenacity, zeal determination, innovation, persistence, openness, diligence, passion, commitment, patience, outreach, passion, persistence, endurance, disappointments, passion,
excitement, generosity, trust, creativity, outreach, patience, and enthusiasm. Passion, patience, and persistence are key ingredients on that road to transformation." - from the Foreword by Lyle E. Schaller, Parish Consultant
Author of The Church Consultant on CD-ROM.