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Embracing Radical Kindness - A Church Leader's Guide

Embracing Radical Kindness - A Church Leader's Guide

A Note from Pastor Terry Crist

Dear Church,

From my earliest memories of growing up in a pastor’s home, I have loved you in all your breathtaking diversity. From storefront fellowships in urban strip malls to ancient cathedrals in historic city centers to rural parishes, I have marveled at the ‘smells and bells,’ robed choirs and worship bands, formal teaching and contemporary preaching. There is nothing quite like the church on display before the world as the manifold wisdom of God embodied in a people. Together, despite our storied history, we have been effective in changing the world for the better. Recently, however, we’ve become engulfed in diversions—partisan politics, cultural skirmishes, and fear of those who differ from us. Now is the moment to refocus. We shine brightest when serving the world, not seeking to dominate it. The words in this book are my heartfelt prophetic call back to Jesus’ foundational teachings of love, compassion, and justice. As you turn these pages, may they inspire you to engage in building a church as kind and gracious as it is venerable and sacred.

With hope for our future, Terry.

Pastor Terry Crist

Why Loving Samaritans

In an era marked by polarization and societal divisions, Terry Crist’s Loving Samaritans emerges as a beacon of hope, challenging Christians to embody the radical kindness Jesus exemplified. Through a tapestry of personal anecdotes, biblical insights, and practical wisdom, Crist invites readers to reconsider the essence of their faith - love and compassion for all, especially those marginalized or perceived as different. A central theme in Loving Samaritans is the call to see beyond societal labels and engage with individuals on a human level. Crist urges readers to reflect on the story of Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman, highlighting its relevance in contemporary society. This story becomes a metaphor for Crist’s vision - a world where compassion transcends boundaries and love is the guiding principle in interactions.

Book review Tim Timberlake

Be intentional with outreach

For church leaders, Loving Samaritans provides invaluable insights into pastoral care and community building. Crist’s emphasis on empathy and understanding can guide ministers in addressing congregational needs and fostering a culture of inclusivity and compassion within their churches. The book also serves as a resource for sermon preparation, offering rich material for preaching on themes of love, service, and social justice.

Start a conversation on how your church ministers to your community

In ministry settings, Loving Samaritans can be a catalyst for transformative change. Here are some ways it can be utilized:

  1. Discussion Groups: Organize book study groups within the church to discuss the themes of the book. This can foster deeper understanding and encourage members to share their experiences and insights on practicing kindness in their lives. (ChurchSource is offering a discussion guide and printable conversation cards free with purchase to help leaders guide the conversation.)
  2. Sermon Series: Use the book as a basis for a sermon series, exploring its themes over several weeks. This approach can help congregants internalize the message and reflect on its application in their lives.
  3. Community Outreach Programs: Inspired by Crist’s message, churches can initiate or expand community outreach efforts, focusing on serving those who are marginalized or in need, echoing the Good Samaritan’s actions.
  4. Workshops and Seminars: Host workshops or seminars based on the book’s content, focusing on practical ways to practice kindness and compassion in various aspects of life, including in family, workplace, and community settings.
  5. Interfaith and Ecumenical Dialogues: Use the book’s themes as a platform for engaging in conversations with other faith communities, promoting understanding and cooperation in local and broader contexts.

Book Review Christine Caine

Loving Samaritans is more than just a book; it’s a call to action for Christians to live out their faith through acts of radical kindness. Its timely message resonates profoundly with church leaders, providing both inspiration and practical guidance for fostering a more compassionate and inclusive community. As we embrace the teachings of this book, we can hope to see a ripple effect of kindness transforming our churches, communities, and the world at large.