Saturday, January 30, 2016

Growing God's Church by Gary L. McIntosh

McIntosh has noted that, while churches are becoming more missional, they are also becoming less evangelistic in their practice. He's concerned.

He's written this book to help leaders understand how people are coming to faith today. Decades ago people were getting saved at revivals. That's no longer happening. The statistics from that era just do not apply any more. McIntosh did his own research to get current data. He has evaluated the data in light of the concepts of missional and coming to Christ.

He has found that friends and relatives are the major avenue of people coming to Christ. The influence of family members is huge. He also looked at why people attend a particular church and what keeps them there. The quality and relevance of the pastor's preaching plays a huge role in those areas. With so many churches changing their names, taking away denominational references, I was surprised to find out that the name of the church is not a major factor in people considering a church.

This would be a great book for church leaders as they contemplate the concept of mission and how it directs, or at least affects, their church. They will also find great insights into ways to be evangelistic in their community. The last section of the book contains many practical ideas for reaching out and inviting those in the community to meet Jesus. McIntosh has also included probing questions at the end of some chapters, and down-to-earth ideas at the end of other chapters, so this would be a good book to study and discuss around the church board.

I like McIntosh's use of Matthew's dinner, with invited friends, as a metaphor for engaging family, friends, and associates with the gospel of salvation. Rather than the revival preacher, it is now the friend or relative across the table who is the one influencing people for Christ.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Gary L. McIntosh (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is president of the Church Growth Network and professor of Christian ministry and leadership at Talbot School of Theology. He is an internationally known speaker and church consultant who has written twenty-four books.

Baker Books, 190 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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