Mega churches are only found in big cities, involve a huge edifice, and have lots of paid staff. You can't get a church to grow in rural communities. Don't tell Shannon O'Dell. "Breaking all the rurals" is exactly what he has allowed God to do through him. Transforming Church in Rural America. Hmmm. The title caught my eye because my husband has been pastoring in a rural area for the past 23 years. Shannon O'Dell has written a book that shares the joys and illuminates some of the pitfalls in serving in a rural community. Along the way, he provides "practical strategies and biblical guidance." He has shared several sentiments that mirror my husband's beliefs: before you can build congregations, you must build congregants; there has to be a balance between evangelism and discipleship, and; it is not enough to "dip Ã¢â¬Ëem and drop Ã¢â¬Ëem, you must disciple Ã¢â¬Ëem."
Have you ever wanted to sit down with an author to really hear his heart beyond the written pages? You have that opportunity with the links in the book. They are for videos that further expound on some of the content in the book.
There was something else about the book. As I read, I kept thinking, "I know this book is about church in rural America, but it seems to apply to other areas as well." For example, I recently was called to a leadership position in a local community of a national ministry. I found that so many of the strategies and concepts were helping me to understand various situations, and to persevere in changes that needed to be made.
There it was in the tenth chapter. Shannon O'Dell lets you in on a secret. Though the book is about growing the rural church, it is also about growing the dream God has placed in each of us, and helping us to stay true to the call.
I highly recommend this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I recently read "Transforming Church in Rural America" by Shannon O'Dell and I must say that I have mixed feelings about the book. Shannon O'Dell is an amazing author and I was truly excited about reading this book. I thought that this would be a great look at churches in rural America that were transforming their hometowns and the work that God is doing in the church. I didn't find that. The book was a wonderful read and there were many great things about it but it was not exactly what I had in mind. While I enjoyed the book and found many things that I can relate to or even agree with; I was not completely happy with it.
My only major complaint (and the main reason I didn't enjoy the book as much as I thought I would) is that it seemed that the book was a promotion for his church. While I admire what Shannon and his church are doing and the way that they have done it...it seemed that this was a "look-at me, look-at me" kind of thing. The other thing that I didn't really like was that it seemed that the book was aimed mostly at church leadership and I kind of felt out of place reading this.
Overall, I would say that this is a good book and I would encourage people to read it and form their own opinions but I was not exactly impressed.
(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions expressed here 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.")
"Transforming Church In Rural America: Breaking All The Rurals!"
By Shannon O'Dell
Book Review By Michael Joe Harvell
I have got to say that I was very surprised by this book! I have read many books about transforming, revitalizing and growing the church, and while many make bold promises, very few actually succeed in what they advertise! I had never heard of Shannon Odell, but was intrigued by the title and knew that I had to read this book.
This book is the story of Shannon O'Dell's call from ministry in the city to ministry in the country. He tells how God has used and is using him and a growing handful of faithful to do just what the title says: "Transform The Church In Rural America!"
If you have ever pastored, then you will relate almost immediately to much of what the author talks about. I enjoyed the way he made his points by sharing his personal journey and the journey of the church/churches to whom he gives leadership.
Shannon goes to great lengths to help the reader know and understand the values that shape a growing rural ministry. This book encourages the reader to consider the various possibilities of where God has called you to serve. It will motivate you to think about, dream and pursue with greater passion the call of God upon your life!
The book is divided into three sections. The first deals with the way it all began. It helps the reader to see that while it is not easy, it is also not impossible to grow the church to make a difference in the community and world. The second section lays out and provides the values that help to shape rural ministry into church with purpose and potential for growth. The third section provides the reader with the structure necessary to maintain and sustain the growth of a ministry that desires to reach up and out.
This is a very interesting book. I enjoyed reading it and especially appreciated the conversational style in which it was written. I believe that it would be a great help to anyone who is serving in any type of ministry and an encouragement to anyone that loves the church and desires to see it do more and to do it better!
Disclosure: This book was provided to me by Thomas Nelson Publishing for review purposes only.ÃÂ I was not required to give a positive review or compensated in any fashion.
This book isn't just a catchy title, Shannon O'Dell wants us to pick out the rocks in our field of ministry.
Small churches are too quick to keep themselves chained to their "sacred cows" because they feel safe there. Shannon wants us to learn to listen to the call of the Lord and follow the Lord's leading, not be lead like a horse with a bit in it's mouth by the opinions of founding families or by the parishioners with large pocketbooks.
I was so encouraged to read about a rural church reaching the lost in their community using cutting edge technology. I live in a rural community and we may be rural minded but we can use a blackberry or computer just as easily as our urban counterparts. I would love to see this book given to every pastor, deacon and church leader of a rural church. I'd love to see this book as mandatory reading at every seminary!
Shannon O'Dell writes in a clear, fast paced manner and the corresponding web links. WOW! Thanks Shannon for encouraging me in rural Canada!
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com
<http://BookSneeze.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Shannon O'dell went from a mainstream modern church to a rural church in Arkansas. This books follows his journey from his decision making process to the way he brought this new church to a multi campus international congregation. This book was a very good inspiration. It shared a lot about his journey. It also presented a lot of tangible things we can use to improve the Church.
The chapters flowed easily. It was easy to read. I really liked the part about how we are supposed to get rid of our golden idols. Shannon's method is unique. His foundation is biblical. He gave a lot of ministry tips and resources. If you are looking for a book to give you some ideas for your church, or a book to encourage you as a leader than this is it. I would also recommend this for any pastor. I liked his v.a.l.u.e. ideas.
Vision, Attitude, Leadership, Understanding, and Excellence.
His best quote, which goes throughout the book is that small big does not mean great. Weather we are small or large. God wants us to be excellent.
This book was both theologically challenging and entertaining.
This books inspired me to be a better leader. I would recommend it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com http://BookSneeze.com 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 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."