Real Good Church: How Our Church Came Back from the Dead, and Yours Can, Too by Molly Phinney Baskette
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My church is withering on the vine, and for the past few years we've been re-visioning ourselves. This book was chosen by the interim pastor for a book study in which I participated. This is a very readable book on some levels, but it definitely challenges the entrenched culture many mainline churches share. Unless a congregation is willing to radically change its culture, that congregation will probably not survive. That's the discouraging take away. On the other hand, this is the story of how one dying congregation resurrected itself. Many of the ideas and suggestions are spot-on: preach and teach with authenticity, know your demographics, use technology to communicate, eliminate jargon and coded language, be visible and active in your community, make your building attractive and easy to navigate. Knowing that there are concrete steps, many of which are inexpensive, is encouraging. Our church had already begun some of these suggestions, and are implementing others. However, I think that the author, Rev. Molly Baskette, vastily underestimates her role in the change process. I think this process may be too difficult to maintain for the length of time it needs without consistent, committed leadership and direction.
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