ISBN 978 1 78974 458 3
I guess there are not many churches who have been unaffected by the changing trends concerning church attendance and involvement. Most churches have found the need to do some type of inventory of their work.
This timely book will be a great asset in this process. The author lays out a plan for a threefold assessment of church life: Social, Societal and Spiritual before turning to a variety of suggestions on implementing what has been discovered.
I particularly liked one feature of this book: the way the author runs a story of three church scenarios in Manchester, France, and Romania. Seeing the issues that lay at the heart of church revitalisation through these little narratives helps the concepts discussed to be grounded in relatable church situations. Some readers might hear echoes of the comments of church members and their own thoughts in these stories.
The author is a British church planter who has spent most of his ministry in France. He has developed many of the ideas in this book in partnership with groups attached to the European Leadership Forum. There is great value in the international flavour of these discussions that makes them more useful than those that are more focused on one geographical location of demographic group.
One key takeaway from this book is the importance for church leaders of being intentional in listening carefully to Scripture, the church and our society in discerning how to recalibrate and fine tune our strategies for healthy fruitfulness in worship, fellowship and witness.
John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex. He is Director of Training at the School of Preachers in Riga, Latvia.