Gardens in the Desert

How the Adaptive Church Can Lead a Whole New Life

Book - Paperback
Gardens in the Desert
Paperback ISBN: 9781791033804
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E-Book ISBN: 9781791033811
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Published August 2024

Your church can thrive in this strange new world!

Many church people and leaders feel like exiles in their own land. We are facing tremendous challenges. And, just as for those who came before us, the challenges are also opportunities. If we adapt to our new environment, as people and as the body of Christ.

Gardens in the Desert offers local and denominational church leaders a practical, inspired, scripture-rooted vision for how we can do this—how we can become God’s church now for God’s intended future.

Michael Adam Beck and Ken Carter draw from Jeremiah 29 to provide wise guidance for leaders and churches seeking to adapt and thrive. Jeremiah’s imperatives resonate deeply today, compelling us to experiment, cultivate new relationships, prioritize faith-sharing with people of all ages, interact with others in humility, to “seek the wellbeing of the other,” and to move forward with confidence.

The chapters are brief and packed with practical ideas and instruction. The authors include ideas from leaders inside and outside the Church, offering multiple ways for leaders to see and understand what it means to be an adaptive leader and how to shape an adaptive church. The book is rich with lists, diagrams, illustrations, clarifying questions, and frameworks, making the material easy to grasp. It is an excellent resource to share with leadership teams at every level of the local church and in denominational settings.

Gardens in the Desert is for laity, leaders, and clergy who have been feeling lost, immobilized, powerless—as exiles—and who are ready to do something new.

About the Authors

Kenneth H. Carter Jr.

Kenneth H. Carter Jr. is resident bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. He gives pastoral and administrative leadership to more than 1000 congregations, fresh expressions of church, campus ministries, and outreach initiatives. His episcopal area stretches across the 44 western counties of the state. He served for 29 years as a pastor in Western North Carolina and is the author of several books.

Michael Adam Beck

Michael Adam Beck is the Director of Fresh Expressions for The United Methodist Church and a lecturer and program director at several seminaries, including the Fresh Expressions House of Studies at United Theological Seminary. He is senior pastor of St. Mark’s UMC in Ocala, FL, and has served as co-pastor with his wife Jill, directing addiction recovery programs, a jail ministry, food pantry, and racial justice movements. He is the author of several books, including Doing Justice Together and A Field Guide to Methodist Fresh Expressions.