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New Kind of Big

Author: Chip Sweeney
Publisher: Baker
ISBN: 9780801013690
Printed: 2011
Sub-Title: How Churches of any size can partner to transform communities
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Your church can transform your community no matter what size it is!

A New Kind of Big tells the inspiring story of how Perimeter Church in suburban Atlanta started a partnership called Unite! with other area churches in order to increase its reach in a community that desperately needed God's light and aid. This partnership has grown to a network of nearly 150 churches that are bringing incredible kingdom transformation to Atlanta.

You too can discover the power of this "new kind of big" to pool your resources, energy, and time with other churches to minister to your community--no matter how long or short your membership roll.




  1. A new kind of big:  Are you ready to dream big again?
  2. Turning our hearts inside out:  First steps toward becoming a Church of influence - Cityscape -  Community transformation on the horizon
  3. Big questions with big answers:  Where are we going? - Cityscape - New York City:  Lessons about prayer from the Big Apple
  4. Diagram of a dream:  Inventing the wheel - Cityscape - A boundaryless city:  The friendship factor
  5. The epic becomes us:  Education, poverty, family, justice
  6. The human chain:  Developing community partnerships - Cityscape - Long Beach:  The church as a catalyst
  7. Transformation:  It works both ways - Cityscape - Little Rock:  New paradigms in structure
  8. Unity:  But first we experienced a split
  9. We have liftoff:  The first compassion in action weekend - Cityscape - Knoxville:  Doing our homework
  10. Orbit:  Launching Christians into channels of influence - Cityscape - Atlanta:  Big starts small
  11. Measuring success:  Preparing the thanksgiving feast
  12. Making music:  The song swells as we partner with others

Appendix 1:  Community outreach:  How perimeter church developed its community outreach department (2002)

Appendix 2:  Unite!  Creating an ongoing movement

Appendix 3:  A study of Duluth:  Project overview

Appendix 4:  Community research:  A relational, asset-based approach

Chip Sweeney discussing a brief history of Unite! and its direction:


"A New Kind of Big is a timely, provocative, and compelling work that highlights how kingdom-minded churches are measuring their impact, not just by the number of people in the sanctuary but by the transformational effect they are having on their community. Chip has done a wonderful job of connecting his story with God's bigger story of transformation in Atlanta and in cities around the nation. It is a 'must-read' for those who are thinking about community transformation."--Eric Swanson, coauthor, The Externally Focused Quest and To Transform a City

"In A New Kind of Big, Chip tells the story of our journey to bring the hand into Perimeter's DNA. And it's the hand joined with the head and heart that has introduced us to a much healthier ministry--one of increasing influence."--from the foreword by Randy Pope, pastor, Perimeter Church

"What a wonderful book! Most Christians would like to see their church make an impact on the community and the world but are overwhelmed with the task. This book is the remedy. It's practical, honest, clear, and 'doable.' But it's more than that. A New Kind of Big is exciting! It reminds us of what church is about, and sometimes we forget. Read this book! It could change the world . . . and your life!"--Steve Brown, professor, Reformed Seminary, Orlando, Florida; president and teacher on the syndicated radio program Key Life

"Helping churches expand their spiritual vision and discover new ways to connect with their communities is a path Chip Sweney knows well. Jesus didn't call us to live on a church island. He called us to 'Go.' Thankfully, A New Kind of Big shows us how. I highly recommend it."--Robert Lewis, pastor-at-large, Fellowship Bible Church; author, The Church of Irresistible Influence

"A key part of our national ministry is to lift up significant practical and impactful resources that can help men and women in cities/communities across America and the world serve together for sustained evangelism and discipleship. This book by Chip is right on the mark. I recommend this book to all the tens of thousands of men and women across America who seek to be encouraged and equipped in this worthwhile ministry of reaching our communities and cities collaboratively with the good news of Jesus Christ proclaimed in word and practiced in deeds!"--Jarvis Ward, National Facilitator City/Community Ministries, Mission America Coalition

"No matter how large a church is, it will never be large enough to meet the needs of our communities. We need to partner together in order to accomplish the Great Commission. Chip Sweney masterfully displays biblical principles in 3-D. After reading this book, I'm convinced we all need to become A New Kind of Big. This is a must-read."--Tito Ruiz, pastor of En Espanol Ministries, The Bridge Church Atlanta
"Chip and Kitti have produced a pastorally informed and suggestive book challenging the mindset of 'empire building' in churches."--Scot McKnight, author, The Jesus Creed
"It is a blessing to have local churches supporting the work of local government. By accepting this author's philosophy that the church must go to the community instead of waiting for the community to come to church, local city government and local churches can work as partners to build a stronger, healthier community. This book helped me realize that the impact of God's work can change the work that is taking place in a city."--Nancy Harris, mayor of Duluth, Georgia
Average Customer Rating: 5 based on 1 reviews. Write a review.

Blessrev (Guest)
Churches being the church
In my final year of seminary (Fall 2005), I wrote a paper on collaboration amongst churches and particularly why so little actually happened. In my research, people told me I needed to talk to a man that was making it happen in Atlanta, Chip Sweney of Unite! Since writing that paper, I've had the opportunity to become a part of Unite! and it has changed my ministry and my church forever.

"A New Kind of Big" tells the story of how churches, large and small, have come together to achieve what they can't on their own- community transformation. The book is an easy, quick read with real-world examples and stories. Whether a pastor or lay leader in a small or large church, this book will lead you forward in the Kingdom task that our Lord has given us.

Sweney contends that the local church has responsibility for the welfare of its community and leads churches step-by-step through the process of becoming a catalyst for community transformation. Sweney paints the vision for churches coming together as the Body to accomplish a task too large for any one church- taking a city from floundering to flourishing.

I gained four key revelations or reminders reading the book:

1. The emphasis on partnerships. So often a church wants to start and run a ministry by itself. Sweney advocates for the power of working alongside the experts already in the trenches, organizations that know the needs more intimately and have already strategized effective ways to help. It's important to point out that churches shouldn't just dump money and ask for an update every so often. Instead, churches should find a lay champion and engage its people in the ministry.
2. Real ministry is done through relationships: relationships with those in our community, relationships with other churches' leaders, relationships with partners, relationships with the people we serve.
3. The Kingdom call to become an externally-focused church of influence in our city.
4. The concept of "Channels of Cultural Influence" (Chapter 10) - These eight channels- education, health care, business, art and entertainment, media, nonprofits, government, and law/justice- are the playing field for our Kingdom work. By leveraging the members of our churches who are already living and working in these channels, we can increasingly reflect the characteristics of the kingdom of God throughout society and that is when true community transformation takes off.
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