If you’re paying attention you may have noticed that Michele already reviewed this book a while back. Her review piqued my interest, so I asked to borrow the book. It did not disappoint, and I wanted to add my impressions to hers.
Many small churches these days are struggling. They find themselves in competition with the “megachurches” who have far more programs, people and resources. They become discouraged. Some give in and give up.
Thom Rainer gives churches in this situation hope. He tells them, “God is not done with you yet.” His examples show that small churches can thrive and grow when they develop “scrappy” attributes. He believes there is a resurgence of the neighborhood church.
First of all, a congregation cannot be defensive. They must take ownership, correcting problems within the church and poor attitudes. They must be tenacious. They must love other churches and see them as partners, not competitors. They must turn first to prayer, then to an outward focus toward ministry in the community around them and to becoming a welcoming church in the best sense of the word. They must work at assimilating new and existing members into church ministries.
He emphasizes the benefits of small group ministry and new member classes. He also suggests having a “secret visitor” attend services and fill out a survey to help the church evaluate their success in welcoming visitors and making them comfortable.
VERDICT: 5 stars. I’m recommending my husband and our church council read this one! This book contains many of the same ideas we’ve discussed in our Fanning the Flame process and gives me real hope for St. Paul’s. I think we’re on the right track. If you want to purchase your own copy, follow the link below:
The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255