Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Essential Church by Rainer and Rainer

I'm reading an advance manuscript for Essential Church? Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts by Thom Rainer and his son, research expert and respected blogger, Sam Rainer. I'm experiencing the same excitement that I felt when I first read the Simple Church: Returning to God's Process for Making Disciples by Thom Rainer & Eric Geiger.

For me, Simple Church was life changing and church changing. In fact, my pastor, Bruce Grubbs (at Gladeville Baptist Church where I serve as a bi-vocational Pastor for Spiritual Growth) asked me to design a staff retreat around the principles contained in Simple Church so we could begin moving in that direction. I did and we did. You may view the staff retreat plan here.

Essential Church asks the question, "Why do so many young adults (18 to 22) leave the church, and what will it take to bring them back?" This issue has been the subject of much study as pastors and church leaders grieve over the loss of so many of their youth and young adults.

Essential Church is based on a study of one-thousand so-called "church dropouts" who were interviewed about why they left. Their answers are quite surprising, having less to do with "losing their religion" and more about the desire for a community that isn't made stale by simply maintaining the status quo.

I think you will find that Essential Church builds on the call in Simple Church for Clarity, Movement, Alignment, and Focus with equally concrete solutions toward making their worship community an essential part these young people's lives again:
  • Simplify - develop a clear structure and process for making disciples.

  • Deepen - provide strong biblical teaching and preaching.

  • Expect - let members know the need for commitment to the congregation.

  • Multiply - emphasize evangelism, outward focus, and starting new churches.
But, the book doesn't come out until September! So what should you do?
As soon as possible, we will post an excerpt so you can become more familiar with this great resource.

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