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Open Source Church: Making Room for the Wisdom of All [Kindle Edition]

Landon Whitsitt , Carol Howard Merritt
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Open source software makes the basic program instructions available for anyone to see and edit. An “open source church,” likewise, is one in which the basic functions of mission and ministry are open to anyone. Members are free to pursue their callings from God that are consistent with what God has called the congregation to be and do.

In Open Source Church: Making Room for the Wisdom of All, Landon Whitsitt argues that Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that anyone can edit, should become the model for churches as they seek to develop new leaders and structures.

The church anyone can edit. In the words of the author, “It kind of brings a smile to your face doesn’t it?”



Editorial Reviews

Review

God calls us together because of who God is. God is not a dry, detached singular being, but a holy community. We are made in God's image. So we are designed to be together. The church needs to hear, believe, and live this reality in every facet of its life. Together we are smarter, better, even more faithful, than any one of us can possibly be individually. Any attempt to limit the openness, the variety and innovation of the whole in the name of the few (or the one) inevitably undercuts the life of faith. In part, this is the message of Landon Whitsitt's Open Source Church. But there's much more here. What we need today is churchly thinking for 'what's next.' And, as Landon knows, 'what's next' will certainly not be a single model of church. Of course, there has never been just one single way of being the church any way never! In this book, Landon provides a vivid and compelling picture of 'what's next.' Welcome to the future! --Michael Jinkins, president and professor of theology, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and author of Louisville Seminary's Thinking Out Loud blog

Whitsett offers a model for changing church structures that could work. He translates the principles of open source technology to imagine a new framework for fluid and faithful mission. If you are searching for more responsive, agile, and inclusive-of-all-generations ways to organize church life, read this book. --Melissa Wiginton, Vice President for Education Beyond the Walls, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Whitsitt envisions a church where openness and inclusion don't just affect what happens at the front door but become the cornerstone upon which the entire structure is built --Eric Elnes, Host, Darkwood Brew and author of The Phoenix Affirmations

God calls us together because of who God is. God is not a dry, detached singular being, but a holy community. We are made in God's image. So we are designed to be together. The church needs to hear, believe, and live this reality in every facet of its life. Together we are smarter, better, even more faithful, than any one of us can possibly be individually. Any attempt to limit the openness, the variety and innovation of the whole in the name of the few (or the one) inevitably undercuts the life of faith. In part, this is the message of Landon Whitsitt's Open Source Church. But there's much more here. What we need today is churchly thinking for 'what's next.' And, as Landon knows, 'what's next' will certainly not be a single model of church. Of course, there has never been just one single way of being the church any way never! In this book, Landon provides a vivid and compelling picture of 'what's next.' Welcome to the future! --Michael Jinkins, president and professor of theology, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and author of Louisville Seminary's Thinking Out Loud blog

Open Source Church is the most effective metaphor I've read in years for expressing the kinds of community that Jesus' followers are called to create and to live. For Christians under 40 or so, and for more seekers than you can imagine, the open-source world is everyday reality. People today connect through facebook and google, through social media and peer-to-peer networking. If the church is to be a vibrant social force in our day, it can only be an open source church. --Philip Clayton, author of Transforming Christian Theology

About the Author

Landon Whitsitt is pastor at First Presbyterian in Liberty, Missouri and the Vice-Moderator of the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). He can be found online as the co-host of God Complex Radio (godcomplexradio.com), and writes The Metanoia Project blog (landonwhitsitt.com).

Product Details

  • File Size: 355 KB
  • Print Length: 155 pages
  • Publisher: The Alban Institute (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004XMOG6A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #571,690 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Love it or hate it, Landon Whitsitt's thesis in "Open Source Church" will do serious work on your ecclesiology. The book goes where nobody's gone yet. It's not a book about how to grow the church, and it's not a work of techie non-fiction with a religious postscript. "Open Source Church" is a serious contribution to the doctrine of the church, one that wants to use honestly world-shaping innovations like Wikipedia as actual data for constructing what God wants the church to be like. That's different than saying that the church should go crowdsourcing to attract a new generation. It's arguing--and well--that crowdsourcing is more faithful than paying expert developers.

I'm not sure most church leaders are ready for this yet, and I'm not sure what those of us who are ready for it are going to do with it. But everyone leading a congregation or a denomination should read it. And if they don't buy it, they'd better be able to say why without simply quoting the Bible.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meatier Than Your Average Church Book November 5, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Open Source Church belongs to that genre of popular Christian books talking about how everything is changing in the church. It could be compared to the work of Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Phyllis Tickle, or a variety of other folks trying to describe something similar.

I have an odd relationship with these books (and I've read a lot of them). On the one hand, I basically agree with the vision for Christianity they are attempting to describe. On the other hand I'm a deep skeptic when it comes to attempts to write grand meta-narratives about history we're still in the midst of. I think it's about as reliable and as convincing as astrology. Everyone thinks the time they personally are living through is the MOST IMPORTANT TIME EVER. I don't think we're in the middle of some new reformation, or inventive age, or new great awakening bla bla bla. Or maybe we are, but if so we won't see it until centuries after the fact. The cynic in me says this is precisely why writing books proclaiming this period of time as pivotal is profitable no-risk business. If you're wrong no one will remember, and if you're right everyone will think you were some kind of visionary.

Landon completely overcomes this objection of mine by keeping it real. To illustrate I'll compare his book with one of the worst offenders in the vague meta-narrative category: Diana Butler Bass' book Christianity After Religion.

DBB cobbles together a very loose historiography in her book. She uses some quantitative data here, mortared together with some anecdotes over there, and a hefty dose of poetic license to call the entire period from the 1970′s till now one giant "Awakening" (still ongoing). Landon by contrast doesn't try to press diverse movements decades apart from each other into a single narrative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think. December 19, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a pastor, this book caused me to think outside the box when it comes to ministry in use century. No more doing things the way we always have in the past. It is time to embrace change and move on.
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