Stetzer and Rainer love the church and are excited about it. Their latest research has given them hope.
We know Christians should always be transforming (2 Cor. 3:18). This book is the first part of the initiative led by LifeWay Research. It is only the beginning of the plan to help churches on their way to becoming a Transformational Church. “The goal of a Transformation Church is to make disciples and nothing will deter them from this task.” (6)
To find out what makes a successful TC seven thousand churches were contacted and surveyed. Certain practices and values rose to the surface. The authors turned these into a blueprint called the Transformational Loop.
It includes: discern (missionary mentality), embrace (vibrant leadership, relational intentionality, prayerful dependence), and engage (worship, community, mission).
Discern: actively seeking to understand their community, to minister appropriately to that community.
Embrace: leaders with passion (happy to give away their ministry), Christians deliberately connecting with each other (outwardly focused), need to engage in prayer (the vehicle by which God changes people and the world).
Engage: expecting transformation to happen in worship (encountering God), systems putting people in community with one another (ministry is not left to the professionals), understanding the mission of evangelism and discipleship.
LifeWay Research has developed an assessment tool to help churches see how they are doing in each of these areas.
The authors explain each of these aspects, giving biblical principles and examples of actual churches excelling in the area.
The authors do pray that churches will go on the Transitional Church journey. They realize this will require a cathartic moment. There must be A) an awareness that something needs to change, B) belief that God will change the church, and C) the crisis that comes with such a change.
With the predicted decline in church attendance coming – this book is essential.
This book does not release until June, 2011. If you are a leader in your church, mark your calendar to buy this book in June.
I read an advanced reading copy of this book in an egalley form, provided by Broadman and Holman Publishing Group.