visit website white button.gif

Thriving exists to equip urban missionaries for comprehensive global urban ministry through, for, and from the local church.  We are biblically based, theologically rich, historically rooted, Christ-centered, Spirit guided, justice oriented, missiologically driven, and tailored to the needs of people of color in our efforts to proclaim and practice the multifaceted wisdom of God for the underserved areas of cities and towns.  For us, we want to promote the growth of scholarly practitioners for undeserved urban environments by training leaders to have a robust love for Jesus and people!




Calvin Institute of Christian Worship


visit website white button.gif

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW), located at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is an interdisciplinary study and ministry center that promotes the scholarly study of the theology, history, and practice of Christian worship and the renewal of worship in worshiping communities across North America and beyond.




The Worship Pastor – by Zac Hicks


buy now amazon white.png

Modern worship leaders are restless.  They have inherited a model of leadership that equates leading worship with being a rock star.  But leading worship is more than a performance, it’s about shaping souls and making disciples.  Every worship leader is really a pastor.

The Worship Pastor is a practical and biblical introduction to this essential pastoral role.  Filled with engaging, illustrative stories it is organized to address questions of theory and practice, striving to balance conversational accessibility with informed instruction.

  • Part One presents a series of evocative “vignettes”–intriguing and descriptive titles and metaphors of who a Worship Pastor is and what he or she does.  It shows the Worship Pastor as Church-Lover, Disciple Maker, Corporate Mystic, and Doxological Philosopher.
  • Part Two covers specific roles related to ministry within the worship service itself–the Worship Pastor as Theological Dietician, Caregiver, Mortician, Emotional Shepherd, War General, Prophetic Guardian, Missional Historian, and Liturgical Architect.
  • Part Three looks at ministry beyond the worship service–the Worship Pastor as Visionary Teacher, Evangelist, Artist Chaplain, and Team Leader.

While some worship leaders are eager to embrace their pastoral role, many are lost and confused or lack the resources of time or money to figure out what this role looks like.  Pastor Zac Hicks gives us a clear guide to leading worship, one that takes the pastoral call seriously.




Engaging With God: A Biblical Theology of Worship –   by David G. Peterson


buy now amazon white.png

Worship is of immense concern in the church and ironically the source of controversy and dispute.  Can we get behind the question of what style of worship we should engage in to understand the bedrock foundation for God’s people–honoring him as he desires?  Is the dissatisfaction with worship voiced by so many perhaps a result of our having wandered from biblical teaching on the subject?  Through careful exegesis in both Old and New Testaments, David Peterson unveils the total life-orientation of worship that is found in Scripture.  Rather than determining for ourselves how we should worship, we, his people, are called to engage with God on the terms he proposes and in the way he alone makes possible.  This book calls for a radical rethinking of the meaning and practice of worship, especially by those responsible for leading congregations. Here is the starting place for recovering the richness of biblical worship.




Accessable Gospel, Inclusive Worship – by Barbara J Newman et al.


buy now amazon white.png

Written by Barbara J. Newman with contributions by Betty Grit.  Looking for some practical ideas on Faith Formation in relationship to persons with disabilities?  This book provides many ideas for creating an environment where you can introduce the good news of Jesus Christ to a family member or church friend with an Intellectual Disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder.  The book also uses a concept known as “Vertical Habits” to give a framework for creating inclusive communities of worship where each one can use the gifts God has given to participate in a worship conversation with God.  Transform the worship environment for ALL by welcoming each one.




True Worship – by Vaughan Roberts


buy now amazon white.png

What is the nature of true worship?  What are we actaully doing when we meet together for ‘church’ on Sundays?  And how does that connect with what we do the rest of the week?  Vaughan Roberts answers these questions and more, as he brings readers back to the Bible in order to define what worship is and isn’t, and what it should and shouldn’t be.  While we may struggle to define worship by arguing about singing hymns with the organ, versus modern songs with guitars and drums, or about the place of certain spiritual gifts, Roberts suggests we are asking the wrong questions.  For true worship is more than this, —it is to encompass the whole of life.  This book challenges us to worship God every day of the week, with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.




Worship Matters – by Bob Kauflin

31zEO-ICnYL._AC_US218_ 2.jpg

buy now amazon white.png

Nothing is more essential than knowing how to worship the God who created us.  This book focuses readers on the essentials of God-honoring worship, combining biblical foundations with practical application in a way that works in the real world.  The author, a pastor and noted songwriter, skillfully instructs pastors, musicians, and church leaders so that they can root their congregational worship in unchanging scriptural principles, not divisive cultural trends.  Bob Kauflin covers a variety of topics such as the devastating effects of worshiping the wrong things, how to base our worship on God’s self-revelation rather than our assumptions, the fuel of worship, the community of worship, and the ways that eternity’s worship should affect our earthly worship.

Appropriate for Christians from varied backgrounds and for various denominations, this book will bring a vital perspective to what readers think they understand about praising God.




The American City and the Evangelical Church – by Harvie Conn

51sfPA-ILPL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgbuy now amazon white.png  (This book is out of print, but is still a worthwhile resource available in theological libraries and from third-party sellers.)

Long-standing fear and prejudice separate the American city from the evangelical church.  Missiologist Harvie M. Conn explains why urban dwellers tend to view today’s increased interest as too little, too late.

Historical and sociological analysis explains the history of the church-city connection and suggests where it is heading.

The city was the principal target of the church during its early centuries, but a “wicked city” stereotype pushed Christians into a rural/suburban ghetto.  Great revivals and missions reached into he cities, but the church kept the city at arm’s length.

Some trends are promising, but challenges lie ahead.  Conn advises individuals interested in church history, church growth, and missiology that the suburban preoccupation must still be overcome.  Evangelicals must visibly roll up their sleeves for involvement in biblical social action to gain credibility.




Missional Church – ed. by Darrell Guder


buy now amazon white.png

What would a theology of the church look like that took seriously the fact that North America is now itself a mission field?  This question lies at the foundation of this volume written by an ecumenical team of six noted missiologists.  The result of a three-year research project undertaken by The Gospel and Our Culture Network, this book issues a firm challenge for the church to recover its missional call right here in North America.  The authors examine today’s secular culture and the church’s loss of dominance in contemporary society.  They then present a biblically based theology that takes seriously the church’s missional vocation and draw out the consequences of this theology for the structure and institutions of the church.




Emotionally Healthy Spirituality – by Peter Scazzero

51xMm5FEYdL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgbuy now amazon white.png

One percent of church leaders say that they are doing well in discipling new and young believers.  After almost three decades of pastoring New Life Fellowship Church in the bustle of New York City, Peter Scazzero discovered that most people are not being changed in our churches, and, as a result, are not changing the world.

Scazzero found two truths to be true: you can’t be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature, and unless you slow and quiet your life down for a first-hand relationship with Jesus Christ, little change is possible.  The integration of these two truths unleashed a spiritual revolution in Scazzero, in his church, and now in thousands of other churches.

In this revised bestselling book, Scazzero outlines his journey and offers a roadmap for a discipleship with Jesus that is powerfully transformative.  Topics include how to identify emotionally unhealthy spirituality, how to grow your soul through grief and loss, and how to develop into an emotionally mature adult.

Offering new stories and principles, this updated edition will inspire readers to revolutionize their spiritual life.




IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament – by John H Walton et al.


buy now amazon white.png

The narratives, genealogies, laws, poetry, proverbs and prophecies of the Old Testament are deeply rooted in history.  Archaeologists, historians and social scientists have greatly advanced our knowledge of the ancient world of the Bible.  When we illuminate the stories of Abraham or David, the imagery of the Psalms or Proverbs, or the prophecies of Isaiah or Jeremiah with this backlight of culture and history, these texts spring to new life.

The unique commentary joins The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament in providing historical, social and cultural background for each passage of the Old Testament.  From Genesis through Malachi, this single volume gathers and condenses an abundance of specialized knowledge–making it available and accessible to ordinary readers of the Old Testament.  Expert scholars John Walton, Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas have included along with the fruits of their research and collaboration

  • a glossary of historical terms, ancient peoples, texts and inscriptions
  • maps and charts of important historical resources
  • expanded explanations of significant background issues
  • introductory essays on each book of the Old Testament

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament will enrich your experience of the Old Testament–and your teaching and preaching from Scripture–in a way that no other commentary can do.



IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament – by Craig Keener


buy now amazon white.png

To understand and apply the Bible well, you need two crucial sources of information. One is the Bible itself.  The other is an understanding of the cultural background of the passage you’re reading.

Only with the background can you grasp the author’s original concerns and purposes.  This unique commentary provides, in verse-by-verse format, the crucial cultural background you need for responsible–and richer–Bible study.  It includes a glossary of cultural terms and important historical figures, maps and charts, up-to-date bibliographies, and introductory essays about cultural background information for each book of the New Testament.

Based on decades of in-depth study, this accessible and bestselling commentary is valuable for pastors in sermon preparation, for Sunday-school and other church teachers as they build lessons, for missionaries concerned not to import their own cultural biases into the Bible, for college and seminary students in classroom assignments, and for everyday Bible readers seeking to deepen and enhance their study of Scripture.