Part-Time is Plenty: Thriving without Full-Time Clergy
More than 40% of mainline Protestant churches have no full-time clergy, and that percentage keeps rising. They've been told they'll decline and die. But research points to a better way.
They can thrive, and many do when they empower laity, repurpose assets and live out the New Testament's vision for shared ministry.
Churches with part-time clergy are increasing attendance, giving & mission impact to levels unseen when they had full-time leadership.
Part-Time is Plenty: Thriving without Full-Time Clergy takes you inside 20 mainline churches to see how they're doing it - and how it can happen in your setting.
Interviews with Jeff
The Christian Century:
"Increasing numbers of mainline Protestant clergy are becoming part-time pastors. Jeffrey MacDonald reframes this phenomenon as more than a financial necessity. It's a God-given opportunity." ~ Will Willimon, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School & author of Leading with the Sermon: Preaching as Leadership
“If you are depressed about the state of the church and you want to stay that way, do not read this book. You will find no commiserating or complaining here. And if you want to turn back the clock and protect the church’s past from the future, these words are not for you. But if you are ready to change your mind and be constructively challenged, read on. This book is filled with true stories of excellence and creativity that will inspire you. What I love most about this book is that the author is unapologetically excited about the new thing God is doing in the church right now. A part-time pastor himself, and a respected journalist, Jeffrey MacDonald was clearly called to write this book for just such a time as this.”
~ Lillian Daniel, preacher, teacher, and author of Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To
What has become of the Christian Church?
Once devoted to molding Americans into better people, in recent years the Christian Church has gotten a corporate makeover. In a desperate attempt to bolster membership rolls, ministers have begun to treat their churches more like companies, and their congregations more like customers.
As a minister in a small church and as a national religion reporter, journalist G. Jeffrey MacDonald witnessed firsthand this lapse into consumerism. He realized that in an effort to cast a wide net for souls churches have sacrificed their authority to transform Americans' self-serving impulses for the better.
In the headlong rush to operate more like businesses, churches are sacrificing their moral authority, perhaps permanently. The result is a crisis for the American conscience.
MacDonald's incisive critique of today's movement away from true religion shows how desperately America needs a new religious reformation.
"G. Jeffrey MacDonald writes with a journalist’s eye and a preacher’s heart. The crisis he identifies in this provocative and timely book has serious implications not only for America’s religious life but also for our broader culture and politics."
~ Former CBS News Anchor Dan Rather
"MacDonald's journalistic prowess makes this book a thought-provoking challenge to today's church" ~ Publisher's Weekly
“Jeffrey MacDonald's Thieves in the Temple is written with clarity and verve. He argues passionately that the wholesale embrace of a consumerist driven model of culture threatens ‘the very soul’ of the Christian churches, and he does so in a manner free from the spite and resentment that too often accompany such critiques. Thieves in the Temple deserves a wide readership.” ~ the late Jean Bethke Elshtain, University of Chicago philosopher & public intellectual