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“...with clarity and sound theological grounding, we are invited into a grand adventure....could be a watershed book for mainline Protestantism.”

Alban Institute, Congregations Magazine


“...the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell” evangelism program will not reverse the trend. Humor, whimsy and joy in the faith will serve us better. Reese’s book is written to provoke, to tease and to charm us back into telling our story.”

The Christian Century


The Real Life Evangelism Series is a power pack! Based on the extensive and authoritative research of Martha Grace Reese and roted in her passionate love for God and respect for the mainline church, these books are the rarest of gifts...a treasure.

Todd Hunter, National Director, Alpha USA; Former Director, Vineyard Churches USA

Bestselling New Faith-Sharing Series grounded in major Lilly Endowment Study 12,000 congregations in all 50 states, 49 denominations and 8 countries

by Martha Grace Reese, MDiv, JD, with an afterword by Brian D. McLaren


Unbinding the Gospel: Real Life Evangelism, the foundational book of the Series arises out of the only major study of evangelism in mainline churches, funded by the Lilly Endowment. It's is a book for pastors who want to know the truth about the state of evangelism. It is a book for Christians who want a hopeful, powerful, prayerful, joy-filled way to learn to share their faith. (It's also a book for people who cringe when they hear the "E" word!) Based on thorough research, sparkling with life and practicality, and steeped in spirituality, this workbook for congregational use has been enthusiastically endorsed by 7 heads of denominations, professors of evangelism, and leading experts, and pastors.

Martha Grace Reese, pastor, attorney and author, interviewed over 1200 pastors, lay leaders and new Christians with a wide range of theological beliefs. Her team visited 50 congregations, combed through statistics and conducted a national survey of leaders and new Christians in 150 mainline congregations that are doing the best statistical job of reaching unchurched people.

The other books in the Unbinding the Gospel Series have arisen to meet the demands of churches using Unbinding the Gospel. If a group of your key leaders responds well to Unbinding the Gospel, you can keep going with the Series. Help your entire congregation discover and develop their faith, pray and start to engage in authentic faith sharing. Used prayerfully and thoughtfully, the Series will spark fascinating discussions, encourage prayer,and help your congregation reach out to others in a way that fits your personality, theology and faith. (For details, download the 3 documents in the left sidebar, the Series Guide, Best Practices & our first report to the Lilly Endowment on our new grant).

If you are interested in discussing the book, Martha Grace Reese will speak with groups of pastors who have read GOSPEL about best ways to start a test study in your churches. We have new Lilly Endowment 2:1 matching funds to coach 1000 congregations in the all-congregational process. Contact us for more information.


"I expect E-vents (the Real Life Evangelism Series' all-congregational studies) to move at least 20,000 churches into their first invitational foray in the community in anyone's memory. "

George G. Hunter, Distinguished Professor of Evangelization,
Asbury Theological Seminary


“Martha Grace Reese gently but persistently lures the Mainline back to the ministry of evangelism that is the heart of the church. Based on careful research and extensive listening, Unbinding the Gospel avoids gimmicks and the trap of the latest church growth fad, inviting pastors and members instead to a relationship with Christ that overflows the banks of our often cautious and reserved congregations. Filled with helpful suggestions for getting started, this book can convert even the most "evangelism-cautious" Christians into eager disciples who love others enough to tell them why Jesus is the answer.”

John H. Thomas, General Minister and President,
United Church of Christ


"This book should be required reading in all mainline churches. Our continuing existence may depend upon it."

Richard Peace, Professor of Evangelism and Spiritual Formation,
Fuller Theological Seminary