Actually I rate this a 10 but that was not an option. This is a totally awesome book!! All pastors/leadership in churches should read this and take it to heart. Not only is Rick Warren an excellent pastor/teacher, but also an excellent author. I am buying one audiobook for each of our elders for pastor appreciation month. I agree with the reviewer David Beals, if you are more concerned with tradition than peoples souls, re-read it. I wish reviewer Roy Ingle would explain his view further.
I think the book is right on with its principles. It does not matter what denomination you are in the principles go across boundries because they are Biblical. I believe that if church leaders can understand and apply these Biblical principles, not copy Saddlebacks Church, then they will see a healthy church. What scares, or angers most, with this book is how it seems to throw tradition out of the picture and many leaders in the church tradition is more sacred than the Bible!
All pastors should read this book. The principles are not to be copied, but they can be applied to your congregation. Warren focuses on the proper focus for ministry - people. This book will show you how to vent your passion to see people saved, discipled, and sent out to minister. Read it! :-)
The title indicates that you can grow a church without compromising your message. After reading the book, one can only come to the conclusion that he has greatly compromised his message. Preaching only positive messages on Sunday mornings? Is this Biblical? Absolutely not. He totally ignores that fact that believers are to gather to be edified and to scatter to do the evangelizing. This is the BIBLICAL model. Warren is a master of creating a fad and then twisting the Scriptures to conform to his fad. The end of all things is not numbers, but being faithful to the true purposes and methods in the Scriptues. Using his technique, a pastor would have a difficult time discerning between the wheat and the tares in his church.
It is unfortunate that this book reads as a cure-all for churches that have ailing memberships. While many of the things in here are valid, it is too cookie-cutter to work everywhere. The author clearly states that his ideas are guidelines, not rules, so I do not fault the author at all. However, the items listed in here are not for churches that are currently spirit-filled, non-demoninational churches. To follow the guidelines in here will water down what those churches are most likely already doing. If your church is part of a denomination and needs a shot in the arm, then this book will probably help you. There is entirely too much focus on increasing the NUMBERS of the church membership, rather than making sure those who attend feel like they are a part of church life. I've gone along with it all, and graduated the "bases". All I can say is "now what"? For church leadereship who do not truly have a plan in mind, this book will only take you so far. It does expect you to customize it for your own church. All in all, it has done more damage to our church than good, and I wish our pastor had never read the book at all. It has taken what life there was OUT of our church.