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Liquid Church Paperback – Bargain Price, April 1, 2001

3.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Liquid Church is most provocative and useful in its original intent—to provide an occasion for theological imagining." -- Journal of Youth and Theology, April 2004

"Ward presents a practical ecclesiological vision and connects its message both with the insights of contemporary sociological and theological authors." -- R.E.: Religious Education, April 2004

"Ward urges us to embrace a dynamic vision of the church, flowing in response to the Spirit. -- Youthministry

"Whatever form church takes in the future, it will need to be more fluid." -- Regent’s Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Pardon the pun, but Liquid Church left me thirsty for more. This book is concise, easy to understand, and enjoyable to read. It's short enough to finish in one sitting, but if you read it once, you'll probably read it again and again. Liquid Church is not a set of practical principles a la Doug Fields, nor is it a model that has been successfully implemented or even tried. Instead it's a reflection on the attitudes and convictions that drive a church that truly ministers to the needs of people over the passage of time without getting stuck in a rut. Definitely pick up Liquid Church.
--Mike Kelly, youth ministry professional --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books; Reprint edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801047986
  • ASIN: B0076TSO88
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,516,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Drew B. Moser on February 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Having just finished Liquid Church, by Pete Ward, my head is spinning. I think it's a good thing. It's a tiny book that packs a big punch; part theology, part sociology, and part dream...I'm amazed at the sheer amount of new ideas Ward crams into 98 pages. As Ward future-casts the church, many of his ideas are admittedly speculative, which leads to an ethereal journey on what the body of Christ could be.

Here's what I mean. Ward clearly and coherently articulates the pulse of our Western culture's shift from modernity (solid) to postmodernity (liquid). Often, he refers to the present as 'liquid modernity'. The solid ice of modernity is melting away, resulting in some big ice chunks left floating about an increasingly fluid culture. It's a helpful metaphor that effectively frames his thoughts throughout the book.

Ward's recommendation is that the church must become liquid in order to reach a liquid culture. Solid church (aka, Church as we've always known it), centered on a weekly congregational gathering, is completely irrelevant to a liquid culture that no longer utilizes a regular, weekly, social gathering as its primary method of communication and community formation. Instead, liquid culture relies on networks, communication processes based on hubs (affinity-based gathering beyond a Sunday morning service) and connecting nodes (methods of communication/participation in the network).

So how do we be the church given postmodernity's fluidity. The fundamentalist will inevitably claim: Stay firm. Keep doing the things we've been doing. The 'liquid' believer will see what God is doing in the waters of culture and seek to engage it.

One other point worth noting: Ward has an interesting take on need vs. desire and the church's role in the debate.
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Format: Paperback
Pete Ward demostrates remarkable insight into the dynmaics of doing and being church effectively in the midst of post-modern realities. His analysis is penetratingly accurate and sure to challenge long-held assumptions about the nature and mission of the Church. I would strongly encourage every pastor and congregational leader in North America to give this book an honest and open-minded reading. It will take you outside the box of limiting views of church as primarily meetings, buidlings and programs, to rediscover the dynamism of God's orginal trinitarian, relational design for all of life and our good work throughout creation. It compliments and resonates with exisiting works on this subject matter written by James Thwaites "Church Beyond the Congregation" and "Renegotiating the Church Contract". If you liked those books, you'll appreciate the insights and integrative thinking that Pete Ward demonstrates in "Liquid Church". Dare to read it, and you'll never be able to look at the exisitng landscape of church again in the same light. This book will dramatically impact your mindset and understanding of the mission of the Church.
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When I first read the description of the book, Liquid Church (Hendrickson Publishers, 2002), I was intrigued. The book noted that in the changing cultural environment of the West "the church must be like water - flexible, fluid, changeable." That the book was written from a U.K. perspective was also of interest to me in that I have found materials coming from the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand more beneficial on average than that coming from America. The dramatic post-Christendom context of these Western countries has forced church leaders to think outside the box in ways that many Americans have yet to grapple with.

Liquid Church is written by Dr. Pete Ward who teaches at King's College in London. Dr. Ward teaches in the area of popular culture and theology, and he has written on these topics as well well as on various aspects related to youth ministry.

My interest in reading Liquid Church, like that of Neil Cole's Organic Church (Jossey-Bass, 2005), is to gauge the extent to which those in the emerging church are aware of broader cultural trends in the West, how church forms may be reconceptualized in post-modernity, and the extent to which contemporary authors are interacting with various academic disciplines in order to help the church understand and respond to cultural challenges. In this regard I was pleased to see Dr. Ward not only consider issues of theology and ecclesiology, but also the insights provided by sociology and cultural studies.

The central thesis of Ward's book is a contrast between what he describes as "solid church" forms and "liquid church." Ward draws upon the writing of Zygmunt Bauman who explores contemporary Western culture and who notes that modernity has produced institutional expressions of church that tend to be more solid and rigid.
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