Recently I read Shannon O'Dell's book " Transforming Church in Rural America". If your in ministry- this is a good read. I thought I wouldn't like this book but as I read, I found it more intriguing. O'Dell doesn't teach you how to start a church or fix a church in rural America. Instead O'Dell focuses on God, he shares how he tuned into the vision of God, pursued it, and maintained it.
I just completed reading "Transforming Church in Rural America" which is a great read for anyone in the ministry. Shannon doesn't merely teach you in this book how grow a big church in a small community. He doesn't give you step by step, "here's how you do exactly what we are doing." Those kind of books are on my bookshelf - unread. I've grown tired of those. Instead, Shannon shares how to hear from God, how to stick to His vision, how to pursue the vision, and how to maintain it.
I recently received a copy of the book Transforming Church in Rural America by Shannon O'Dell. At first I was kind of excited to read this book, but as I read it that excitement quickly faded. There are lots of good points in the book; however there are a few things that I have issue with when reading this book. I literally had to force myself to finish the book.
The first thing I have is that there is really no talk of the Holy Spirit at all in the book. There is talk of fleeces and congregational votes but not the Holy Spirit. I believe that it is extremely important in the time we live to let the Holy Spirit shine. The Holy Spirit is missed in so many books and it is leading to people not believing it is important. We cannot suppress the Holy Spirit in our books about leading or growing a church. When the whole congregation is allowed to vote on everything, you are also looking for trouble. That is for a whole other article however.
The other major issue I have is with this book is that it generalizes many of the statements in the book. Not all of them will apply and many of them may be overstated a bit.
I would recommend the book as an ok, tough read but it might help some people. I would have liked to know more about the Holy Spirit however. The writing style is a bit hard for the normal lay reader. There is a lot of information to push through.
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Pastor Shannon was right on in this book. He confirmed with me things that I already had felt in my spirit, many times we just need things confirmed in our spirits for it to make sense in our own ministry...
I got this book through booksneeze.com to review. It seemed like the perfect pick because we go to a small country church in "Rural America"! In fact, our church is very similar to the one described in the book and the book had me chuckling at the similarities. Sad_.but true!! The book provided a very encouraging story of a pastor who moved from a large urban church to a small rural church of only 30-40 people. The church has now grown to involve many campuses and reach many people in other countries through internet etc.
It did provide the basic information and tactics he used to encourage the growth of the church. While much of the information was overall very helpful, it did lack details that I wish would've been there! The author does have a website with more information and videos to help fill in those blanks. I would say it could be a great place to start for a pastor of a small, struggling rural church to get some fresh ideas or at least some much needed encouragement. And, even though I am not a pastor or pastor's wife, it was still an encouraging and, in places, humorous book for me to read.