The living church creates community.
This first volume in Judson Press's new "Living Church" series addresses the topic of church growth and discipleship.
For centuries, the Christian church has led the way in creating communities of people. Dr. Lee Spitzer proposes that today's church can sustain that leadership role by developing a transformative paradigm for church growth. The key, Spitzer asserts, is learning to expand and enrich our circles of friendshipin our home, our congregation, and our community.
Through friendships, our churches grownot only in terms of the number of people who join but in regard to the maturity of disciples who participate in the life of the Body of Christ. This practical resource includes chapter studies on friendship in the Bible and in the life of Jesus.
Author Lee Spitzer is donating his book royalties to the anti-poverty efforts of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey.
Download the Friendship Exercises for personal and church group use!
Visit us on Facebook where Lee shares articles and updates on the topic of friendship!
"Lee's book provides a welcome and fascinating window into a typically unexamined part of our lives...Lee is convinced that our friendships, actual and potential, are gifts that God has given us that can be submitted to and employed by him for his kingdom and glory. Properly understood, our friendships give clues to what God desires to do in, through, and around us. They form the substructure of all evangelism and discipleship, and a healthy, balanced web of friendships within a church is an essential ingredient for a healthy and faithful body. Making Friends, Making Disciples explores all these themes." Pastor Cory Hartman, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Hollidaysburg, PA
"This is a book that will prove to be a quick read, provide needed wisdom for church and personal life, and yes, might even lead to growth of the church not only in numbers but also in spirit." Bob Cornwall, Ponderings on a Faith Journey
"This easy-to-read guide flows in a conversational style and enlightens the topic that's dear to most believers' hearts: deepening friendships. Recommended for church leaders, Sunday school teachers, small group leaders, and book clubs."Church Libraries, Winter 2010-11
"I love the mix of theology and practice in this book. Lee gives us new eyes to see the familiar in a fresh ways." Ann Borquist, American Baptist missionary in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
"Lee integrates years of ministry experience into a disciplined reflection on what our faith and biblical tradition teach us about friendship. Drawing also upon the insights on friendship of both classical and contemporary scholars, and then distilling all these insights to create a practical and analytical tool for personal and congregational use, what Lee has done is to produce a valuable ministry resource that brings into sharp focus the critical role of friendship in personal and spiritual transformation." Dr. Elmo Familiaran, Associate Regional Pastor and Area Minister, American Baptist Churches of New Jersey
"Lee gets to the heart of the matter, asserting that the church is a Christ-centered community of friends that is committed to making more friends. His approach goes much deeper than 'friendship evangelism.' Lee explores 'how friendship informs the internal life (discipleship) and outreach ministry (evangelism in a holistic sense) of the church in the twenty-first century.' He argues powerfully that cultivating friendship with God and neighbor is a spiritual discipline, not having some ulterior motive, but because God has called us to make and be friends." Rev. Dr. J. Dwight Stinnett, Living Church Series Editor, Executive Minister, American Baptist Churches, Great Rivers Region
"In the high-tech world of the Internet and social networking, how should Christians think about friendship? In Making Friends, Making Disciples, Lee Spitzer not only shows how good friendships enrich our lives, but also how they bless the church by nurturing Christians for faithful discipleship and mission. In chapters that explore Jesus' model of friendship, friendship as a spiritual journey, and the different kinds of friendship, Spitzer insightfully portrays why good friendships help make the church and our world a better place. Making Friends, Making Disciples reminds us that friendships are both a grace and a calling." Paul J. Wadell, Professor of Religious Studies, St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin; author, Becoming Friends: Worship, Justice and the Practice of Christian Friendship
"Lee Spitzer has landed on the fundamental human relationship, a cultural universalfriendship. Best of all, he sees friendship as a necessary good in and of itself, a virtue and practice that constitutes humanness, validates personhood, and creates community...Establishing friendships within significant circles of love and becoming a friend of God are the first two steps in seeing our faith communities grow and thrive in authentic relationship and mission." David W Augsburger, Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA
Lee B. Spitzer is Historian for the Baptist World Alliance and Affiliate Professor of Church History at Northern Seminary in Chicago. He is the retired General Secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA - the first person of Jewish descent to hold that office. He pastored three ABC churches and served as the Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor of ABC New Jersey for 14 years. His PhD is from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in association with the International Baptist Theological Study Centre (IBTS). He serves on the Committee on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and as a IBTS Research Fellow. He is the author of several books, including Baptists, Jews, and the Holocaust: The Hand of Sincere Friendship (Judson Press, 2017) and Making Friends, Making Disciples: Growing Your Church Through Authentic Relationships (Judson Press 2010).