Religion - Christian Life
"The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love" is the misleading subtitle of the latest book by Robert Morris titled "The Blessed Church."
The subtitle is misleading because there aren't any secrets in the book, but maybe the publisher can sell more books if the idea that there is a secret inside is claimed on the cover.
Instead of a secret, the content revolves around Morris telling the story of the church he started, Gateway Church located in the north Dallas area. With more than twenty thousand members, Gateway has experienced phenomenal growth, and apparently that is the primary reason this book was written. In today's church, developing a massive mega church in a relatively short period of time is the measure of stardom for preachers.
In that case, Robert Morris has achieved stardom in the church. But not based on the content of this book.
"The Blessed Church" is another familiar story from the "new establishment" within the modern American church comprised of popular pastors made celebrities because of the sheer size of the ministries they lead and their involvement in the speaking circuit of conferences for church leaders.
In sharing about "doing church" in our time, Morris draws heavily from Old Testament scripture, rarely looking at the actual model and instruction for the church we find in the New Testament. In fact, when addressing leadership and "church government," Morris again turns to the Old Testament and looks to the leadership of Moses as a primary example church leaders can follow. Morris advocates a "singular headship and plural leadership" model for church government, but his description of the actual role for elders make it clear he believes the pastor is in charge and describes very little actual authority or responsibility for elders.
Morris increasingly uses a corporate vocabulary in describing leading his church and even notes that himself, then responds to it by saying we should not be afraid of sounding corporate. Thus, he routinely refers to church leadership as leading an organization. Morris will later write a sentence that the church is more than an organization, it is the body of Christ and the family of God, but then moves on to talk about the vital need to develop community in the church rather than focusing on the fact that developing family ties between brothers and sisters in Christ is vastly more intimate than any concept of "community." After all, the church is not a community, it is Christ's body and God's family.
Morris also speaks about the need to "experience God." The problem with that is, God is not an experience! He is a Person who feels, and sees, and hears, and is to be interacted with. He's not a ride at some amusement park that a person "experiences." He is a Person to know, to love, to worship, and to serve.
Instead of containing a secret or secrets to being a blessed church, "The Blessed Church" is a book filled with popular catch phrases and weak or questionable theology that is common among the new establishment leaders of today's church.
But with all that said, I must say the final chapter of the book is excellent. If Morris would have written only the last chapter, he would have had a more solid message to share. No secrets, but something far more accurate and worthwhile than all of the previous chapters of this book combined.
But in my own opinion, "The Blessed Church" isn't worth picking up for just one good chapter.
I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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