Toward a Hopeful Future

Toward a Hopeful Future: Why the Emergent Church is Good News for Mainline Congregations
(Winner of the 2011 Mayflower Award for Best Book in Church & Society)

By combining insights related to emergence Christianity and the fresh (yet deeply rooted) expressions of worship that accompany it, Toward a Hopeful Future highlights the ways that progressive communities of faith can experience great hope, encouragement, and renewal by embracing the emergent conversation. Written just as the relationships between emergents and progressives were beginning to blossom, Snider and Bowen provide a much-needed resource that benefits both progressive mainliners who value inclusivity, diversity, and social justice as well as emergents seeking a point of entry into progressive mainline traditions.

A lot of us have been saying that a book like this one needed to be written. Phil Snider and Emily Bowen have given us just what we need — and more, because the book not only says what needs to be said, but does so in a delightful, intelligent, and encouraging way. Enthusiastically recommended — yes, for Mainliners, but also for Evangelicals and Roman Catholics who also need a shot of hope about the future.
–Brian D. McLaren, author/speaker/activist (

Convergence between streams of emergent and progressive Christianity is a striking and hopeful happening. This exciting book is very much needed now.
–Marcus Borg, best-selling author of The Heart of Christianity

This painstakingly researched, beautifully crafted work not only places the reader’s hand on the pulse of emerging theology but draws out how this contemporary movement relates to, and resonates with, the wider Christian heritage.
–Peter Rollins, author of The Orthodox Heretic

At the end of his 1913 edition of The Quest of the Historical Jesus, Albert Schweitzer compared “conservative and liberal” forms of Christianity to “two thin streams that wind alongside each other between the boulders and pebbles of a great river bed.” But, “when the waters rise and overflow the rock, they meet of their own accord.” But when and how will that happen? “When desire and hope for the kingdom of God,” he said, “and fellowship with the spirit of Jesus govern them as an elementary and mighty force.” One hundred years later, at the start of a new century, this present book, Toward a Hopeful Future, proves that contemporary streams of “emergent” and “progressive” Christianity are turning Schweitzer’s hope into a reality.
–John Dominic Crossan, author of God and Empire

Phil Snider and Emily Bowen point mainline churches Toward a Hopeful Future. Let’s hope that the churches start down the path they’re suggesting! This book will help standard churches take a look at this new, “emergent” idea they’re hearing about. It’s thoughtful, well-researched and contains practical ways for typical churches to move into a faithful and effective ministry with a new generation.
–Martha Grace Reese, author of the Unbinding the Gospel series

You won’t be disappointed as Snider and Bowen guide you through the convergences and departures of mainline Christianity and the emerging church movement. They’ve given careful and critical attention to the church at the margins and have a clear and hopeful idea of what these communities offer the established church and vice versa. I’m grateful someone has taken the effort to understand emergence beyond just the aesthetics. This book is far overdue.
–Nadia Bolz-Weber
Founding Pastor, House For All Sinners and Saints, Denver, Co
Author, Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television

Phil Snider and Emily Bowen sort through the cacophony of information that clamors around emergent movements, and write a clear and compelling symphony. Through their research and practical application, Snider and Bowen lift up the voices that resonate with a chorus of progressive Christians from our past, while they inspire great hope for our future.
–Carol Howard Merritt, author of Tribal Church

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