Religion - Christian Life
Writing "church growth" books has become it's own industry and The Blessed Church: The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love, by Robert Morris is another in a very long list of rather not so compelling ones. This is written by, or at least preached by and then put into book form by a writer, the founding pastor of Gateway Church. The jacket flap described it in this way--"A multicampus, evangelistic, Spirit-empowered church in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Since it began in 2000, the church has grown to more than twenty-four thousand active members."
Sometimes you will hear someone make reference to, usually a bit tongue-in-cheek, the ABC's of church life--Attendance, Buildings, and Cash. While we in the church world give lip service to the truly important issue of spiritual formation, we find ourselves focusing on these ABC's and books like The Blessed Church certainly encourage it. We are told in the beginning that this is not about the numbers and it is not about Robert Morris, but as I am sure you can imagine most of the book focuses on the numbers and Robert Morris.
Lest I be misunderstood, I don't blame the author, I blame the thousands of Pastors that will buy and attempt to mimic the activity of this one megachurch. All of this illustrates the way the American church has bought into this success mentality. In fact, Morris uses the oft-repeated "whatever is healthy grows." I was reminded by a medical doctor friend of mine that "cancer grows." So, in other words, just because it grows does not mean it is healthy--it may just mean it's popular.
For the Pastor that finds himself drawn to this kind of book, this one is probably just as good as any of the others in the genre. It is certainly not written at a deep level with the chapters being extremely brief--most are simply anecdotes of how a certain thing is done at "Gateway."
The book is not worthless. There are some reminders of things most of us have known, and maybe forgotten. Some practical elements may be helpful. The last two sections of the book, "Blessed Government" and "Blessed Culture" are the most pragmatic offerings. With the little it has to offer this is not one that I would probably spend the time or money on.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
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