Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Irresistible Church (Review)...

Can I admit that I have developed some terrible reading habits? In reality I could probably say that I have just failed to develop proper reading habits, but either way the end result is that I get a book, read a chapter or two and then it spends an inordinate amount of time on the bookshelf until I remember it is there.

This is one book that broke the pattern, mostly due to it's alignment with a teaching series we were working on at church, but also due to the fact that once I started reading it grabbed my attention. In the end I ended up reading the book fairly quickly (by my standards) and our pastoral team used the book as one of our references for a teaching series last fall.

The Irresistible Church has a slightly misleading title as one begins to think this is a book about how you can make your church irresistible to people. I admit to thinking that this was going to be another book telling me how to "do church properly" and what our church could do to attract more people to it.

Instead this was a book focused on what character traits churches should foster so they can create a place where God would want to show up and do His thing each week. It is not just for the sake of making your church the next big draw in town and getting people into the pews, but rather for preparing your church to get out into the world and make a difference for Jesus. Wayne Cordeiro says it best with this statement:

"The point of an irresistible church is never to simply see its members attend church each week and then do nothing.  It's to attend, be equipped, and then go out and live purposeful lives for God. A church must be a place where disciples gather--and then scatter." (pg 22)

Cordeiro has a very straight forward style of writing in which he can clearly articulate with an apparent level of humility what he has learned over he 30 plus years in ministry. He never comes across condescending or arrogant and His personal stories of how he has come to discover that each trait is important shows a man who is letting God do a work in Him. I never once felt like I was being berated into some gimmicky quick fix. Instead I felt genuine words of compassion with some very straight forward action statements like "seek the presence of God".

This book speaks a great deal about what should ultimately be the heartbeat of the church. He paints a picture of a church that actually hungers for God's presence, a church that places a priority on people and relationships, a church that is committed to learning and a church that actually takes the time to come up with a plan. A healthy mix of heart and practicality.

I enjoyed this book and found it was an inspiring read that had me identifying with the picture he was painting and thinking to myself, "I'd love to be a part of a church like that!"

FYI, I had previously read Cordeiro's "Leading on Empty" and enjoyed it a great deal.  I think it's a book that every pastor should read!

***Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

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