January 2020 Resource

Neighborhood Church: Transforming Your Congregation into a Powerhouse for Mission
Neighborhood Church: Transforming Your Congregation into a Powerhouse for Mission
Krin Van Tatenhove and Rob Mueller
Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY
Book Review By:
Melvin Amerson

Premise of the Book:
Congregations can strengthen and develop transformative faith communities by engaging church members and community residents through strategic utilization of collective assets, talent and resources for the wellbeing of a neighborhood and its constituents.

What the Book Does:
Neighborhood Church is an insightful resource which shares how congregations can become mission-outreach focused through the use of asset-based community development, also referred to as ABCD. This process helps congregations cultivate connections within their communities, mobilizing the capacities to produce change from within. One of its key concepts is to move from a “fixed sum” dynamic to an “open sum” dynamic, meaning that true partnership discovers and stimulates benefits for everyone involved. Over five chapters, conversations and blueprints are presented to pastors and church leaders on how to prepare, embrace and lead transformational change. Each chapter includes case studies and concludes with group discussion questions. Resource contents:


Chapter 1 Communal Conversation
Chapter 2 The DNA of Listening
Chapter 3 Transforming Partnership
Chapter 4 Integrating Our Space
Chapter 5 Sustaining the Vision

What are the Important Insights:

This resource shares numerous insights through congregational case studies and approaches to asset-base community-based development. “Relationship is always - the precursor to collaboration. It takes knowing one another to create the trust bridges that foster mutual investments.” Five major insights to strive toward developing a neighborhood church:

  • Convert our perspectives from scarcity to abundance, and from self-absorption to our neighbors;
  • Learn to listen as an essential discipline;
  • Embrace transformation partnerships;
  • Integrate our buildings in new ways;
  • and Sustain the vision, especially through Spirit-filled worship and the mentoring of new leaders.

Possibilities as a Resource for Churches:

This is an excellent resource for pastors and laity who want to reconnect their congregation with its neighbors and make a difference. It is a great book for ministry teams to study and begin a transformative ministry process.

Melvin Amerson Area Representative

Rev. Melvin Amerson is a member of the Texas Annual Conference and serves as a Resource Specialist/Area Representative at TMF. His experience and passion lie in encouraging and developing generous, faithful leaders and congregations.

Melvin is the author of Celebrating the Offering, Fruit for Celebrating the Offering and Stewardship in African American Churches: A New Paradigm, as well as several articles covering topics from generosity, leadership and visioning. Currently, he serves as a board member of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center and is a nationally-recognized generosity consultant known for his engaging presentations.

Melvin obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, a Master of Divinity degree concentrating in Christian education from Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, an Executive Leadership certificate from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and a certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University.