Book ideas for churches and small groups!

Whether you’re gathering online, in-person, or finding a combination that works for you, Forward Movement has inspiring books for small groups and full congregations to learn and grow together.

Some ideas:

The Path: A Journey Through the Bible

The Way of Love: A Practical Guide to Following Jesus

Gifts of God for the People of God: Exploring Worship in the Episcopal Church

The Way of Love Bible Challenge: A 50 Day Bible Challenge

Walk in Love: Episcopal Beliefs and Practices

Angels of the Bible: Finding Grace, Beauty, and Meaning

The Social Justice Bible Challenge: A 40 Day Bible Challenge

Acts to Action: The New Testament’s Guide to Evangelism and Mission

With Gladness: Answering God’s Call in Our Everyday Lives


Save with bulk pricing

We publish books that we believe the church needs, and we’re always glad when someone buys one and reads it. Many of our titles are available through major online retailers. However, when you purchase directly from Forward Movement, you support our ministry to provide free books and devotionals to inmates, nursing home and hospital patients, and active military personnel.

Plus, it can save you money! Our bulk rates are often the best pricing option for churches and groups.

Example:

The Way of Love: A Practical Guide to Following Jesus
By Scott Gunn

Buying 1-4 copies?
Our price: $15 each
Their price: $15 each

Buying 5+ copies?
Our price: $10 each
Their price: $15 each

 

 

You can always call us at 800-543-1813 or special discounts for very large orders!


Fall is a great time to start a book study. Order soon to ensure timely delivery!

Visit forwardmovement.org or call 800-543-1813 to order.

Forward Today: A detour on the journey

Dear friends in Christ,

Last week in Forward Today, I wrote about the opportunity we have as a church through this time of disruption to refocus our mission on making disciples.

Even a week ago, I thought we were mostly headed out of our pandemic crisis, but increasing case numbers – coupled with continued low vaccination numbers – suggest that the pandemic may be approaching another peak, unless our public health response and vaccination rates change.

There are plenty of places on the internet who offer commentary on the pandemic, so I won’t say more. But I do want to say a few things about what it means for disciple-making within the church.

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time speaking with lay leaders and clergy in the church. Several patterns emerge consistently.

Parents of school-age children are exhausted. Many adults are stepping away from ministries or volunteering in the church. Attendance numbers for in-person services have not returned to pre-pandemic levels, even in places where case numbers have been quite low.

I suppose it’s obvious to say, but we need to give up on the idea of returning to a pre-pandemic church. As I suggested last week, I’m quite sure we shouldn’t want to go back. We have the opportunity to chart a new, more vibrant future for the church.

Detour sign

So what do we do about exhausted and more distant leaders? Certainly I hope we begin with empathy, prayer, and compassionate care.

If you are an exhausted person who can’t muster the energy to be part of your church in the way you were two years ago, it’s OK. Rest. Even Jesus needed time for refreshment and prayer, so take the time you need. The church depends on Christ alone; the church will carry on as you rest.

If you are a church leader, the same advice about rest applies to you, too! But also, there’s a gift in all this. If people won’t sign up to continue some ministry or other, maybe that’s the sign it’s time to let that ministry go. If Sunday School doesn’t look like it did in 2018, that’s OK. Maybe it’s time to think about a new way to engage people of all ages in Christian learning and formation. And it doesn’t have to be figured out this month!

I guess what I’m saying is that if your church and your church’s people aren’t “back to normal” that’s perfectly fine. Rest. Be well. Re-examine. Realize that the start of the program year in September isn’t a hard deadline for anything. In God’s time, the church will do what it needs to do.

I really believe that. Our task is to cooperate with the Spirit’s guiding, but also we are human. We won’t always get it right, and we need times of rest. All of the chaos of our church is a detour on our journey of following Jesus, but we can still continue on the way.

If Forward Movement can support you, let us know. We offer lots of resources, and I hope you know that we are praying for the church and the world every day. We’re grateful for your prayers, too.

Blessings, friends.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director


More from our ministry:

New online course from ChurchNext: Walking the Labyrinth, with Mel Soriano

From Grow Christians, our family blog: Sealed with the Holy Spirit

Reading suggestion: The Path: A Journey Through the Bible

Forward Today: It’s all about disciples

Dear friends in Christ,

Last Sunday marked my ten-year anniversary serving at Forward Movement. What a wonderful adventure it’s been! I’ve visited many dioceses and congregations, and it has been rewarding to get to know the whole church through my ministry.

Last year, I offered my reflections on nine years of ministry, including some ways I think our church needs to change. This year, I want to highlight just one theme. Discipleship.

When I started at Forward Movement in 2011, I used to get pushback for raising the topic of discipleship. “It’s not our word,” people would say. Fortunately, I can say that now discipleship is our word. Our church has realized the value of naming and practices those disciplines that help us to grow into the full stature of Jesus Christ.

Forward Movement logo with tagline: "Inspire Disciples. Empower Evangelists."

I’d like to think Forward Movement has been a leader in the conversation. We have promised daily prayer and scripture engagement vigorously these last ten years, though that was really a continuation of our mission since 1935. The fruit of this work is evident.

More people are aware of the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ in their lives. More people can make connections between their own life story and the story of God’s saving purposes revealed in scripture. More people have a deeper relationship with God through the nourishing habit of daily prayer.

It’s all about discipleship.

This is literally the thing Jesus told us to do. You can look it up in Matthew 28.

Over the last year, the church has been greatly disrupted. I know this has been a burden on church leaders and members alike. But this time also offers us the opportunity to reexamine our mission and ministry in the church.

Are we effective at making disciples? Do we need to add new ministries? Do we need to let some things go? Do we need to reinvent the way we do things? Do we need to focus more on discipleship and less on maintenance?

I don’t have the answers for you or your community. Every place will be different. But I can confidently say that the work Jesus has given us in every town, village, and rural area is to make disciples.

Forward Movement will be here with you, ready to offer encouragement and resources to support your ministry.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

 


More from our ministry:

New online course from ChurchNext: Walking the Labyrinth, with Mel Soriano

A New Chapter at RenewalWorks

Reading suggestion: The Path: A Journey Through the Bible

Forward Today: Learning from a suitcase

Dear friends in Christ,

A few days ago, I got home from a wonderful vacation in Iceland. It’s an extraordinarily beautiful country, and I’ve got the pictures to prove it.

When we got home, I looked around the house and wondered about all our stuff. We have so much! Shelves full of stuff. Closets full of stuff. Stuff everywhere! But for two weeks, I was perfectly happy living out of a carry-on suitcase.

So what’s the point of all that stuff, if I don’t need it to live happily? Paring down to a suitcase is surely extreme, but it did make me think.

And then, two Sundays ago, we heard the Gospel account of Jesus sending his followers out to do mission work carrying only a staff, with instructions not to take bread, money, a bag, or an extra tunic. Again and again, Jesus warns about the perils of material goods.

It’s not that material goods are evil. Indeed, God made the world from nothing. Matter is good. But our stuff can get in the way. We can end up possessed by our stuff rather than possessing our stuff.

When I grew up in Iowa, summer was the traditional time to have what we called garage sales (or yard sales, or tag sales, or rummage sales!). At our house, we’re talking about downsizing a little. Living out of a suitcase inspired us to think about what’s important and what’s not important.

What about you? Does your stuff help you love God and love your neighbors? Or does it get in the way?

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Subscribe to receive Forward Today in your inbox.


More from our ministry:

New from our Grow Christians blog  |  Ten Thoughts for Younger Me

Forward Today: Praying on the go and at home

Dear friends in Christ,

Daily prayer is an essential habit for every Christian. There are lots of ways to pray. We Anglican Christians are blessed with a rich tradition of daily prayer, and our prayer books offer several rich patterns of prayer.

Of course, for folks getting started, I often suggest simply saying grace at mealtime. Or maybe talking to God in your own words first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening. We can approach God with our hopes, our sorrows, our regrets, and our praise.

Forward Movement has offered a website and an app to support daily prayer for several years. I’m very excited to share news about both our app and our website.

We asked Greg Johnston, creator of the venite.app prayer tool, to help us reimagine our daily prayer app. It has all the things thousands of people have come to love about our Day by Day app for iPhone and Android. It offers today’s meditation from Forward Day by Day; morning prayer, noonday prayer, evening prayer, and compline; the quick daily devotions from the prayer book; the day’s scripture lessons; and a set of selected prayers from the Book of Common Prayer and other places.

We’ve added a few new options, and you’ll notice the look and feel is streamlined and improved. Best of all, our app is now free. We do offer you an opportunity to make a donation to support Forward Movement’s ministry, but we wanted to make daily prayer and meditation accessible to everyone.

We’re relaunching our prayer website too. It will now mirror the content and function of our app. This means you’ll get a similar experience, whether you’re using a phone, a tablet, or a desktop computer. We’ve pared away some things to make the site and the app cleaner and easier to use.

Of course, I expect we’ve missed a few bugs and made some changes folks won’t like. If you find something that seems to need attention, please let us know. There’s a “report an issue” feature right inside the app, and you can always email us at tech@forwardmovement.org.

I hope our app or website are helpful in your daily life of prayer. Please tell your neighbors and friends about these free tools to support prayer.

If you are grateful for Forward Movement’s work of providing free apps, websites, classes, and other resources to nurture daily discipleship, we’re always grateful for your support. We are able to carry out our ministry only by God’s grace, with your support of prayer and donations.

Blessings to you.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 


More from our ministry:

New FREE daily email: Spanish edition of Forward Day by Day
Click here to subscribe to the daily Adelante Día a Día email
Reading Suggestion
New from Grow Christians

Forward Day by Day app and website receive major update

Complete overhaul improves user experience and functionality

Forward Movement announces a major update to its popular Forward Day by Day smartphone app, as well as a relaunch of its Daily Prayer website, prayer.forwardmovement.org. The complete overhaul includes a new clean design with simplified navigation, as well as podcast integration and expanded customization settings for users.

Visitors to the Daily Prayer website (prayer.forwardmovement.org) will see the new design immediately, while users of the Forward Day by Day app should automatically receive the update within a few days, depending on their device and settings. The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the app has been free to download since early 2021.

The long-awaited upgrade was completed in partnership with the Rev. Greg Johnston of Cambridge, MA, the creator of the popular Venite app, which Forward Movement began sponsoring in 2020.

“We are committed to our mission to inspire disciples and empower evangelists, wherever they are,” said the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, Forward Movement executive director. “This upgrade to our app and website will provide users with an improved user experience, including customizable features and settings, to strengthen a habit of daily prayer and scripture engagement, both known catalysts to a deepening life of faith.”

To assist visitors with bookmarked pages, the existing version of prayer.forwardmovement.org will remain intact for several weeks as users become accustomed to the new website. By late August, pages will redirect to the upgraded site.

The Forward Day by Day app and Daily Prayer website were initially launched in 2012.

Report bugs or problems to tech@forwardmovement.org. We appreciate your help refining this offering!


About Forward Movement

Inspiring disciples and empowering evangelists around the globe every day, Forward Movement has been producing innovative resources to encourage spiritual growth in individuals and congregations since 1935. Best known for the daily devotional Forward Day by Day, Forward Movement also produces books, smart phone apps, pamphlets, conferences, online courses, church leadership resources, and more, in English and Spanish. Visit www.forwardmovement.org or www.venadelante.org to learn more.

Forward Today: Serve God in freedom and in peace

Dear friends in Christ,

This weekend, the United States celebrates its Independence Day. For the Episcopal Church, this is a major feast day. Our prayer book permits the use of a beautiful collect for the occasion:

Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

I love how the collect encourages us to see all the peoples of the earth as one people. But also, we are urged to use our liberty in accordance with God’s will, not for our own wants and desires.

Certainly, I am grateful to live in the United States. Our country has much to celebrate and to be proud of. We also have plenty of challenges and sins from which we must repent. I hope as we celebrate the founding of this nation, we can also commit to a zeal for justice. Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone in the country were treated with dignity and respect?

It seems to be that patriotism means both gratitude for our nation and the willingness to challenge it to be better.

What about the United States are you grateful for? And what do you think we can do better as a nation? May God grant us strength and courage to have a zeal for justice.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Subscribe to receive Forward Today in your inbox.


More from our ministry:

New FREE daily email: Spanish edition of Forward Day by Day
Click here to subscribe to the daily Adelante Día a Día email

Reading Suggestion
Gifts of God for the People of God: Exploring Worship in the Episcopal Church

New ChurchNext Course:
Gifts Found on the Bumpy Road


Click here to read more Forward Today messages.

New daily email featuring the Spanish edition of Forward Day by Day

Se podrá recibir Adelante día a día en español por email
Será gratuito y empezará en julio

El ministerio Forward Movement se complace en presentar Adelante día a día en español por email. La versión en inglés se viene ofreciendo gratuitamente por email desde 2020.

Los emails gratuitos corresponden a la versión impresa de Adelante día a día, con meditaciones inspirativas basadas en pasajes de la Biblia. Los pasajes corresponden a las lecturas del leccionario tal como aparecen en Leccionario Común Revisado y en el Oficio Diario del Libro de Oración Común de la Iglesia Episcopal.

Hugo Olaiz, editor asociado de recursos latinos/hispanos, declaró: “Estos emails diarios nos darán una gran oportunidad a de incorporar la oración y las escrituras en nuestra vida diaria. Los hábitos espirituales diarios son la clave para profundizar nuestra relación con Jesús, con el prójimo y con nosotros mismos. Estos emails diarios serán una fuerte de inspiración para discípulas y discípulos de todo el mundo”.

Haz clic aquí para suscribirte.

Los envíos diarios comienzan el 1° de julio.


New free daily email will be launched on July 1st

Forward Movement is happy to introduce a free daily email version of Adelante día a día, the Spanish language edition of Forward Day by Day. This new offering joins the English email edition, which was released as a free subscription in 2020.

The email content will reflect the print edition of Adelante día a día, offering inspirational meditations reflecting on a specific Bible passage, chosen from the daily lectionary readings as listed in the Revised Common Lectionary or the Daily Office from the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer.

“This new daily email offers a great opportunity for Spanish speaking disciples looking for accessible ways to incorporate prayer and scripture into their daily lives,” said Hugo Olaiz, Associate Editor for Latino/Hispanic Ministries. “We know that daily spiritual habits are crucial in deepening our relationships with Jesus, with our neighbors, and with ourselves. We hope this new daily email becomes a source of inspiration for disciples around the world.”

Click here to subscribe to the new daily email.

Email distribution begins on July 1, 2021.

Forward Today: A zeal worthy of his grace

Dear friends in Christ,

This coming Sunday’s epistle offers a compelling invitation from St. Paul. He writes, “See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor 6:2b).

There’s a reason this epistle is assigned to the Ash Wednesday liturgy. St. Paul is inviting us to repent, pronto. I love how John Chrysostom reads this invitation:

Let us not let the opportunity slip, but rather let us display a zeal worthy of his grace. We press on because we know that the time is both short and opportune. The acceptable time is the time of the gift, the time of grace, when it is decreed that not only will no account of our sins be demanded from us, but that we shall also enjoy abundant blessings, righteousness, sanctification and all the rest.

Sunrise over the mountains

Can you imagine? If we all had a sense of the astounding grace of Jesus Christ, we would want to bear fruit and to share the Good News with those around us.

Do you see how it works? We repent and change our lives not to earn God’s love but in thanksgiving that God loved us first. It’s a life-changing way of seeing the world.

I invite you to bask in grace. And then display a zeal worthy of that grace. Today is the best day to set a new course; to manifest the transforming love of Jesus in our hearts.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

 

 

Subscribe to receive Forward Today in your inbox.

*John Chrysostom quote taken from Bray, G. L. (Ed.). (1999). 1–2 Corinthians (p. 255). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, via Logos software.


More from our ministry:

Read the latest from Grow Christians: Evelyn Underhill and Everyday Mystics, by Sara Erwin

Reading Suggestion: Acts to Action | The New Testament’s Guide to Evangelism and Mission

New ChurchNext Course: My Take on the Trinity with Wayne Jacobsen

 

Forward Today: Making it up as we go along

Dear friends in Christ,

Just yesterday, I had a chance to talk with a priest at a medium-sized church in the middle of the country. I was interested to hear how this church is coming out of the pandemic – what is changing and what is staying constant. The priest was asking me for examples of how similar-sized churches are adapting Christian formation to the needs of today’s church. It was a lively conversation.

This priest told me about some of the vibrant lay-lead pastoral care ministry, the beloved Bible study, and other ways lay leaders and clergy work together to make disciples. It was, for me, inspiring. At one point, I said to her, “I hope you’ll find ways to share the amazing work you’re doing with the wider church. Other congregations could learn from what you’re up to.” She said, “Well, we’re making it up as we go along.”

Making it up as we go along is actually a useful practice. Of course, our faith is eternal and constant. We don’t have to make that up! And we are blessed as Episcopalians with an ancient and comprehensive liturgical tradition that we don’t have to make up. But a lot of parish ministry benefits from a spirit of improvisation.

Interior of a church with stained glass windows

Making it up as we go along could be alternative language for, “We’re adjusting our practices to changing circumstances.” It requires the willingness to try something and fail. It requires a desire to find ways to share our ancient faith for today’s church. It makes us like St. Paul, who sought to “become all things to all people.”

Making it up as we go along doesn’t sound like much, but it is essential in today’s church. We’re emerging from a pandemic. We’re emerging from Christendom. We’re entering into a time when we can’t take anything about the church for granted.

Is your church adapting for our time? Are you discovering new practices that you could share with others? Are you running into roadblocks that others might have figured out? We’re all in this together.

I’ll be checking in with the priest I spoke with in a few months. She’s an amazing leader serving a wonderful church. I can’t wait to hear what they’ve discovered in their efforts to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

 

 

Subscribe to receive Forward Today in your inbox.


More from our ministry:

RenewalWorks: Connect: Hybrid Church: A Way Forward, with the Rev. Tim Schenck
Wednesday, June 9 from 7-8pm ET
RenewalWorks: Connect is a monthly online conversation series with Jay Sidebotham, Director of RenewalWorks and other thought-leaders exploring ways to continue the work of spiritual growth. Watch past recordings here.

Reading Suggestion: Gifts of God for the People of God  |  Exploring Worship in the Episcopal Church

New ChurchNext Course: Mary in the Anglican Tradition, with instructor Jeff Queen