Return to the Parish: The Pastor in the Public Square is a pastoral theology that challenges pastors to view their local community (rather than their congregation) as their primary sphere of ministry. Too many churches have become insular by hoarding their resources (including their pastors) and trying to sustain their own survival instead of seeking the peace and prosperity of their town or city. By breathing new life into an old idea of "parish," this book casts a vision for pastors (and churches) to actively engage their community with the gospel rather than simply perpetuate more programs inside the church. It offers a new paradigm for pastoral ministry, where pastors model and mobilize their churches to make disciples of Jesus Christ in the public square through community involvement and cultural engagement.
The book chronicles seven young pastors (from diverse ministry contexts) as they seek to become "new parish pastors" who lead their congregations into engaging various sectors of the public square: business and workplace, science and technology, healthcare, politics, education, the arts, and multiethnic settings.