Churches have become mere “spectators” stuck on the sidelines. How do they get into the game?
Tom Bandy reveals the cultural wedges and apathies that separate denominations, congregations, and neighbors from each other and from collective social agency. Bandy describes the church in America as “sidelined”—observing cultural change but not participating in the game. He suggests proven provocative ways the church can re-engage and empathize with the people within their reach.
By mining the lifestyle data revealed by the nation’s economic engines and social trends, this frank and ground-breaking sociological analysis is a must read for every church leader who embraces hope for a fragmented, diverse, and polarized world.
“For years Tom Bandy has been attempting to get the once-mainline-oldline-now-sideline church back in the game. In this fast-paced, energetic book, Tom shows us how churches can be in missions to the diverse cultures that seem to respond to our stolid mainline moderation with a yawn.”
—William Willimon, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC
“Sideline Church represents fresh perspectives in an often tired conversation. If the church hopes to speak compellingly to people today, it must learn first to listen again. Brandy’s insights will likely provoke the complacent, but it may also inspire church leaders to hear culture with new ears. This book is a worthy successor to Tex Samples’ work on US Lifestyles and Mainline Christians.”
—Michael Jinkins, President of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and author of The Church Faces Death and The Church Transforming.
“Bandy’s language of chasm aptly describes the current relationship of church and culture. Bridging that gap involves empathetic immersion with and love for the multiple cultures among us. For those willing to enter this challenging engagement, Bandy offers essential knowledge about how diverse cultural cohorts think about God and meaning in differing ways.”
—Lovett H. Weems, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Church Leadership, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC