Common perception holds that the Western church is dying. But there is a movement that has escaped traditional measures of success as neighborhood parishes spring up in the everyday life of cities all over North America. Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens, and Dwight J. Friesen detail this phenomenon in their book The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community (IVP Praxis). In May they embarked on The New Parish book tour on a quest to discover, meet with and encourage people in parishes throughout the United States and Canada.
"From the tranquil small town of Silverton, Oregon, to the bustle of East Oakland, from seeing old friends in Carmel, California, to meeting new ones in Long Beach, this New Parish book tour has been gift after gift," Soerens said.
The New Parish book tour kicked off after the 2014 Inhabit Conference in Seattle in April, where hundreds of practitioners, pastors, entrepreneurs, community leaders and lay people from all over North America come together to connect, collaborate and celebrate the work being done in thousands of neighborhoods and parishes.
As cofounders of the Inhabit Conference and the Parish Collective, Sparks, Soerens and Friesen have seen—in cities, suburbs and small towns all over North America—how powerful the gospel can be when it takes root in the context of a place, at the intersection of geography, demography, economy and culture.
"The authors of The New Parish have spent the last several years traveling to over three hundred communities across the country where they have discovered groups of Christians who are renewing their neighborhoods and bringing the hope of the gospel to their local communities," said Andrew Bronson, brand manager for IVP Praxis books. "They found a movement taking place that many of us don’t know about. The church is going local in significant ways."
Bronson continues, "Now, with the release of The New Parish, Tim, Paul and Dwight are touring the country again and meeting even more people who are starting on the journey of engaging with the neighborhoods they live in and seeking for those neighborhoods to thrive. Everywhere they go they are discovering a quiet revolution of sorts where Christians are taking ownership of their own neighborhoods."
In June and July the authors will visit Surrey, Kelowna, Calgary, and Edmonton in Canada. In August they will road trip to cities in the Midwest.
"Ordinary heroes are knitting a fabric of care everywhere we go," Soerens said. "I'm brimming with gratitude that this book is helping to spark new friendships and imagination. We can't wait to for the second leg in Western Canada."
For more information visit www.newparish.org.