This is a GREAT book, and an easy read. I would recommend it to both clergy and lay persons. It has opened my eyes, and I plan to share it with others. We are currently reaching out to the unchurched and are putting more emphasis on evangalism. It is going to be a tremendous help.
A carefully-researched study of why people are attracted to a Church group and what keeps them there. Great insights from the careful surveys are convincing and worthy of study by any leader who seeks to be effective in reaching the unchurched.
Pastor Rainer should be commended for approaching the problem with reaching our nation from a new perspective. Rather than simply copying the methods big churches are trying, or surveying the culture to figure out why people dont go to church, Rainers group spent most of their efforts talking to people who moved from unchurched to churched, finding out what prompted them to make that choice. I was encouraged he quoted Dean Kelleys 1972 classic "Why Conservative Churches are Growing." Like Kelley, Rainer discovered that the unchurched wanted to know why we believe what we believe. They want deep doctrine. They want relationships. They expect excellence. In too many old churches and even seeker-sensitive churches, there is nothing there to make the church attractive. He doesnt stop there. The book pulls no punches in describing what the pastor must do and be to reach the unchurched. It gave new clarity why some pastors cant seem to make progress no matter what hot new program they try. Its a good but not a great book, but its easy to read, and the 40 pages if survey questions are almost worth the price of the book by themselves.
This is the one book that I will recommend to the leadership of this church for this coming year. (After their personal bible reading.) <br /><br />The review rating on this book puzzled me. Why did it not get a better rating? However, after reading the initial rating from 2004, I could not help but wonder if that individual had truly read the book or only skimmed it. Rainer's Test group was not the "seekers", but those that were found by God. In essence he is delineating the means God used to reach these lost in this context. <br /><br />Sound Doctrine (page 137), Sanctified pastoral leadership (Chapter 8), Hard work in sermon preparation and presentation (page 220, Figure 11.6), and excellence in ministry are contributing factors for these "successful" churches. The one thing that hit me between the eyes was the criteria statement on page 23 and restated elsewhere: it takes 85 members of an average church one year to reach one person for Christ. <br /><br />This book was a challenge to me and I think it would be a good book for anyone in church leadership.
This book is packed with eye-opening information that we often don't take into account when we reach out to the unchurched. No wonder it is endorsed by so many top evangelicals (click the "review" tab above to read reviews of the book). I feel so badly about the negative (and I believe unfair) review of this book below (from 2004). Paul adjusted his message to his hearers when he went strolling into Athens, Jesus declared His message differently to the Pharisees than he did to the common folk, and again, to his disciples. Ranier is simply providing us with information that helps us approach outreach the way Jesus and Paul did. Like it or not, our message needs to be conveyed in a way that the hearer understands, or our message may not be truly heard or understood. None of this negates God's role in the process. Read Luke 15. The first two parables focus on God's role in salvation, the third emphasizes the individual's role.This book goes a long way to providing information we need to be aware of the mindset of those for whom we are called to be ambassadors for Christ.