The Good and Beautiful Community
In this third book in the Apprentice Series, James Bryan Smith helps us know how to live in relationship with others as apprentices of Jesus. "Apprentices of Jesus are not part-time do-gooders," he writes. "They live in continuous contact with the kingdom of God, and are constantly men and women in whom Christ dwells. They do not sometimes tell the truth, sometimes live sacrificially or sometimes forgive. There are myriad opportunities for us to impact the world in which we live."
Yet many times we've gotten it wrong, tending to emphasize personal faith over social justice or vice versa. In these pages Jim Smith shows us how to bring spiritual formation and community engagement together, and then once again offers spiritual practices that root new, true narratives about God and the world in our souls. His insight and humility as a fellow learner with us will lead us to live in authentic ways as a good and beautiful community of Christ-followers, shining the light of the Spirit into every relationship.
"The Apprentice Series is the best practice I have seen in Christian spiritual formation."
"Jim Smith is the most articulate, accurate and helpful writer of spiritual formation of my generation. I give this series my highest recommendation."
"The Apprentice Series is a treasure. Dr. Smith has thought long and hard about the process of human transformation into the likeness of Jesus. I urge you to buy these books immediately! Read them and apply them. Then live them out in the context of a loving community. You will not regret doing so."
"The Good and Beautiful Community is very readable, relatable, and practical. Recommend it to pastors, adult Sunday school teachers, small-group leaders, fans of Dallas Willard and Richard Foster, and customers interested in spiritual formation and disciplines."
How to Get the Most Out of This Book
1 The Peculiar Community
Soul Training: Two-by-Four
2 The Hopeful Community
Soul Training: Sharing Your Faith
3 The Serving Community
Soul Training: Treasuring Our Treasures
4 The Christ-Centered Community
Soul Training: Loving Those We Disagree With
5 The Reconciling Community
Soul Training: Experiencing Reconciliation
6 The Encouraging Community
Soul Training: Finding an Accountability Friend
7 The Generous Community
Soul Training: Stewardship of Resources
8 The Worshiping Community
Soul Training: Worship
9 Writing a Soul-Training Plan
Appendix: Small Group Discussion Guide