Making Church Matter

Judging a Book…

July 14, 2012

More than a month ago, I had a post about finding a title for our forthcoming book. We’d been working on it for a long time at that point. We’ve been discussing it and working on it ever since too. Today, I got a telephone call from my editor to report back on another meeting they had to discuss it. And guess what? Still no title.

Well actually, we have lots of titles. Titles that they generated that we didn’t like, titles that we generated that they didn’t like. Titles that nobody liked.

It’s actually not just a title we’re looking for, there is the title, the sub title, and something called “the reading line.” In a sense the title represents the book, it should speak to the “arc” of the book, the whole of it. Then it is the job of the sub title to explain the title. The reading line attempts to engage you in the style of the work. All three are working together to try and capture and hold the attention of your target audience while building a bigger one. Such a lot of work for just a few words.

Turns out everyone always judges a book by the cover. Oh well, we’ll just keep working on it.

Here’s a sampling of some of our titles, sub titles and reading lines.

The original working title was:

Beyond Retail Religion
Shaping consumers into authentic disciples

All of our earliest working titles centered around the word matter, as in:

Grow Healthy Catholic Parishes

making church matter more
Growing Robust Parishes by Bringing Back Lost Catholics

make church matter
Grow Vibrant Congregations

simply make church matter
Authentic Parish Renewal

Then we played with the word move:

Gaining momentum in a Catholic parish

It’s a Movement (so…its gotta move)
Growing Momentum in Catholic Parishes

And the word church:

Pretty Churches (and other lies).
Building strong Catholic parishes

Changing the culture of a Catholic parish

Church Different
A strategy for parish growth and health

lost on planet church
Evangelization, discipleship and parish renewal

critical mass
Make church matter | Make your church matter more

Church is Not Easy
Shaping Effective Parish Renewal

Then there were also these interesting approaches.

Putting church back into the vocabulary of your community

Growing a Healthy Catholic Parish
Why you’re not crazy to think this can work

Got any ideas? Let us know.
It could end up on the cover…and it will be judged.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Title:  Catholicism Works; Catholic Churches Don’t

    Subtitle: How to make catholic churches relevant, competitive and compelling in the age of instant gratification 

  2. Fr White
    I have a book title suggestion. Here goes!

    Experiencing all aspects of Mass
    The word, the sacrament , and everything else that matters.

  3. Making Church Matter.
    Changing the culture of a Catholic parish.

    Most parishes need help and change. If it weren’t for Nativity I too would be searching and like Father White’s friend I probably wouldn’t find what I need in any Catholic church. Aside from the Eucharist, Nativity is the only church that gives me the spiritual satisfaction that can be found at North Point in Georgia and even Grace right around the corner. Keep up the good work. And now I am going on line to get my spiritual boost from the 5:30 service. By the way, I am in Singapore. Isn’t technology amazing!!!

  4. Father,
    Whatever is decided upon, I am sure it will be great. The real story here is that you and Tom have written a book, and the content is about the compelling work that God has put on your hearts. I am over the top with the work you are doing in leading souls to Christ and lifting them up to be all that He intended them to be. Keep up the great work – you are an inspiration to me and many others like me. Those who love our faith, but feel that we are under serving the flock by limited thinking and irrelevance. We forget how big our God is in helping us to know how to reach His people for Him. I thank Him for you and Tom and your vision more than you know.

  5. how bout?

    being third
    A story of one catholic parish

    some thoughts..third has so many angles… our target audience of former catholics…. God, others then self… the Trinity…being humble… outward focus

  6. Ch**ch
    Putting Church back into the vocabulary of your community
    Because “U R” the Church

    I like this idea, just think it needs a little more to it

  7. How about:

    Getting The “Masses” Back to Mass
    How one parish has made church exciting and irresistible!!

    or for the second line – How we made church exciting and irresistible, depending on in what person the book is written. The 3rd line could be a partial quote from the book

  8. “Our Answer” to Jesus’s Call.
    One way to grow a thriving Catholic parish in the 21st century.

    Good luck Father White. Stay close to Jesus. You are in our prayers.

  9. Mending the Broken
    A New Paradigm for Catholic Parishes

    Church Matters
    Lessons from the Megachurch Movement

    Humble Enough to Learn

  10. Kind of off the wall, but how about
    “No BINGO This Week” — Awakening a Sleeping Parish.

    From there, you can go to the premise that staying with the old ideas prevents growth and can get in the way of worship, message, and ministry.

    Can substitute raffle or church supper for BINGO.

  11. As long as you are willing to rewrite your book, I’m willing to suggest a title!

    Creating an EPIC Parish
    Building a Catholic model of ministry in a postmodern culture.

    Leonard Sweet summarized a framework you are living. He notes effective churches of the future will have the following characteristics. They are:

    E- Experiential (drives toward a relationship with God)
    P- Participative (engages interactively)
    I – Image driven (rich media supported)
    C – Communal (creates connection with the community and the Church)

    Being a virtual visitor to Nativity I see these characteristics. Keep up the great work, and thanks for your inspiration!

    in the 21 Century

    Walking with Christ
    Becoming the church He wants
    Moving the bar

    MAKE “church” MATTER

  13. As the editor, I am as you know, energized and maybe a bit overwhelmed by the effort. Thanks to all for the ideas and the heartening interest in the book! Good stuff going on.

  14. Making Sunday relevant in people’s lives: renewing parish worship in the world’s oldest bureaucracy

  15. Nativity has meant joy, peace and spiritual growth to me. These emotions are almost unique in my experience of worship in the Catholic Church.
    I am not sure of the intended audience – I assume it’s the priests, parish professionals and parish council members.

    Building a Parish with Joy or The Joyful Church or Creating Joy in Church
    A guide to Parish Renewal
    A practical guide to make church matter

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