It was a good book if your church is like this one. I think some ministers read this stuff and think they can rebuild all churches by redecorating and inputting modern technology. They neglect to think that it is the older tried and true that support such church and if their worshipping needs are not met they can go elsewhere. I see nothing wrong with adding new music and different styles of music but not to eliminate the good ole fashioned hymns. Our interim wanted to tear out all the old pews and put in a basketball floor and sit in folding chairs. Get rid of the hymnbooks and project everything on the wall. So how do we become adept at finding specific verses when we need them if we can't look things up in our Bibles? I am all for progress, but only if it is going to include everyone. The services I have seen where all these changes were made, I felt like I was at a basketball game and not in a place to worship God. Maybe I am being selfish, but I believe God wants my kind of worship as much as He does the hoods in the streets. The book is OK if that is the kind of thing you like. It is well written. I just don't agree it will change the young people to want to go to church. I believe strong witnessing skills and warm welcoming into the church are more more effective. Nobody wants to talk about God anymore unless they are in church.
I expected the book to help to adjust to changes taking place in the church; instead, the book encourages the reader to welcome and endorse all changes, even the name of the church, when the changes may not all be for the good of the congregation. Also, the character in the book who most needed help received none.
My wife came across this book while on the internet. She read me the description of the book about a church that was going through a reinvention, revitalization, healthy church initiative, or whatever the term is the politically correct name for a change in style of worship. People were feeling that something was happening to their church, why was the choir being replaced with a praise band, the organ was being replaced with electronic music, people weren't showing the respect for the sanctuary the way we were taught, everything seemed to be oriented toward attracting a more youthful congregation, etc. No one was listening or cared about the old "gray hairs" anymore as long as they continued to provide the necessary money to sustain the church.
Since the church of which I am a member has recently witnessed a similar movement of revitalization and emphasis on attracting more youth in church fellowship, I immediately ordered the book. My friends and I were not the only ones who felt like the description above. When I first examined this book, by initial response was "Oh, No - It's FICTION!" But since I had purchased it, I felt that I might as well go ahead and read it. The story was just as described. The author developed the story around a group of senior fictional characters who were having trouble adjusting to a transition of worship style from which they had grown accustomed. The idea of replacing an organ with a band consisting of guitars, drums, and an electronic keyboard was almost to the point of being a sacrilege. MacDonald and his wife are the only real characters in the book, the other are fictional. To try to resolve the issue, the pastor (MacDonald) decides to have a "Discovery Group" which would meet weekly to address issues facing the church. During the course of the book, the "old" and the "new" finally learn to appreciate each other, and everyone lives happily ever after.
As I was reading the book, I found myself identifying feelings expressed by the different characters in the book as being the same as those expressed by many of my church friends and myself. As I progressed through the chapters, suddenly discussions between the characters started to make me think and realize why many things were happening. I suddenly started looking at this aberration that I perceived being forced upon me in a totally different light. I begin to see the bigger picture by examining the history of church worship. If things had never changed, we gentiles would never have been allowed to worship as we do today without conforming to Jewish traditions. We still would be using the Psalms as our hymns and drums, lyre, flutes, etc. would be our musical instruments. Change has happened throughout church history, why should we be any different. It helps open one's eyes to see worship from the younger generation's perception; but also, provides ideas how to compromise and work together to serve everyone with all worship tastes.
I strongly recommend Who Stole My Church? for anyone either young or old whose church is adapting to a newer style of worship. It neither will answer all your questions nor remove feelings of disappointment that results from being forced to change your style or other aspects of worship services that we have enjoyed for more years that any of us care to acknowledge. To hear Dr. MacDonald being interviewed in reference to this book, log onto: http://missionsfrontline.com/profiles/blogs/gordon-macdonald-who-stole-my
I really appreciate this author and what he wrote. As a Christain, now 40 years, I want to leave a healthy church behind by helping this generation to come into their fullness in Christ with a mission to carry the gospel forward to their next generation. And for my generation that means change. Thank God someone was willing to make that change for my generation coming from the 70's..