Over the past decades, millions of Americans have left their churches, disappointed. While most Americans still believe in God, fewer and fewer are participating in organized Christianity. (170/3490) Smietana knows the world without organized religion would not be a better place. His book is one that suggests organized religion can continue to exist, though in a reorganized manner.
Smietana has divided his book into three informative sections. First, he looks at where organized religion is today, its decline. Next, he takes a deep look into why people are leaving, often relating personal stories. Finally, he relates stories of churches who have adapted to the changing religious landscape. Business as usual for the organized church will no longer work. White churches will need to be more diverse to be sustainable in the future, for example. (1920/3490) Some churches may need to merge.
Smietana concludes his book by reminding church leaders of decisions that will need to be made. Will a church seek serving the community or will it seek power in that community, for example. Things cannot continue the way they are. Churches will need to seriously think about survival and the work it will take to accomplish it.
I highly recommend this book. I think every pastor and church leader serious about the survival of their church would do well to read it.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Bob Smietana is an award-winning reporter and Pulitzer grantee who has become a well respected and well-known religion reporter with over two decades of experience. He has served as a senior writer for Facts and Trends, senior editor of Christianity Today, and the religion writer at the Tennessean. He is currently a national reporter for Religion News Service.
Worthy Publishers, 256 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)