Augsburg Fortress

Incline Your Ear: Cultivating Spiritual Awakening in Congregations

Incline Your Ear: Cultivating Spiritual Awakening in Congregations

Incline Your Ear: Cultivating Spiritual Awakening in Congregations introduces faith communities and individuals to the centuries-old principles and practices of spiritual direction. Spiritual direction, as Chad R. Abbott and Teresa Blythe practice and teach it, emphasizes four aspects of the faith journey: becoming more aware of the presence of the Holy in our daily lives, reflecting on that awareness and deepening our relationship with God, discerning where God is leading, and sharing our spiritual gifts with the world.

Abbott and Blythe also share simple ways to evaluate the outcomes of spiritual awakening: "fruits of the Spirit." As a middle judicatory minister and spiritual director who work with clergy, lay leaders, and congregations around issues of spiritual life and energy, the authors long for churches to become vital spiritual communities that meet the needs of people right where they are. They strive to nurture congregations where pastors don't have to do it all; where members are equipped to share their gifts with one another; where leaders rest easy, knowing the board has discerned the vision well; and where all discover the rich array of spiritual food Christianity serves. In these complex and confusing times, the authors extend to us an invitation and hope: "Incline your ear... that you may live." As communities of faith study and experience Incline Your Ear together, they will find new ways to be in love with God and listen to the Spirit.

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  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506465838
  • eBook ISBN 9781506465845
  • Age/Grade Range Adult
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 144
  • Publication Date January 5, 2021


"Incline Your Ear, Abbott and Blythe's gift to us all, opens a pathway to spirit-filled mission and life. We are all wise to join them on the journey."

The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, author of Beyond Resistance: The Institutional Church Meets the Postmodern World

"Abbott and Blythe have written a rare book. Incline Your Ear is filled with the practical resources and tools necessary to develop a discerning community--a congregation that will turn toward God with the ear of a unified heart."

The Rev. Gil Stafford, author of When Leadership and Spiritual Direction Meet: Stories and Reflections for Congregational Life and Wisdom Walking: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life

"Incline Your Ear is an excellent resource to help congregations grow in listening to and discerning God's direction...Theologically and biblically grounded, it will bear fruit in many faith traditions."

The Rev. Victoria Curtiss, spiritual director, pastor, and author of Guidelines for Communal Discernment

"Incline Your Ear provides a holistic vision of personal and congregational transformation, reminding congregations and their leaders that the process of spiritual discernment is their most effective tool for decision-making... I highly recommend Incline Your Ear for any leader or congregational community who is seeking spiritual guidance in facing the uncertainties and challenges of the twenty-first century."

The Rev. Dr. Bruce Epperly, pastor at the South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, and the author of A Center in the Cyclone: Twenty-First Century Clergy Self-Care

"Incline Your Ear is abundantly rich in all that it gently and brilliantly offers to congregations and to those of us who love and serve congregations and are committed to the way of Christ. It is a book rich in scripture, in Christian traditions, in practical, approachable prayer practices, and in effective ways to engage in the deep work of discernment that can lead toward action. We can trust this road map to help us expand our trust in the Spirit and in ourselves."

The Rev. Kim Gage Ryan, Codirector and pastor of Bethany Fellows