Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who Stole My Church?

At our Elder Board meeting tonight we will be passing out a book to each Elder that we will be reading and discussing as a group. The book is written by Gordon MacDonald and is called Who Stole My Church? Here is how the book jacket describes its contents:

A storm hits a small New England town late one evening, but the pelting rain can't keep a small group of church leaders from gathering to discuss issues that have lately been brewing beneath the surface of their congregation. The men and women assembled are all long time Christians, mature adults, and dedicated church members. They could see their church was changing. The choir had been replaced by a flashy "praise band." The youth no longer dressed in their "Sunday best." The beautiful pipe organ sat unused. Even they felt out of place and uncomfortable in a church that had, until recently, felt like home. How will this group set out to fix what has become a deep rift in their fellowship? How will young and old relate to one another's need? Can the unity of their church survive, or even thrive?

Who Stole My Church is a fictional story that reflects the all-too-real situations of many church communities today, where loyal and long standing members can feel pushed aside by the new demands of evangelism in the twenty-first century. In this book you can walk alongside an imaginary community, led by a real-life pastor Gordon MacDonald and his wife, Gail, and discover how to meet the needs of all believers without abandoining the dreams and desires of any.

One review about the books says…“MacDonald charts new territory in church growth books by turning what could have been a long list of dos and don'ts into a highly readable, even novelistic, approach to the subject. With himself as narrator, MacDonald creates a cast of church members in their 50s, 60s and 70s who meet each week to discuss where their church has been, is now, and should go in the future. ‘All I know is that someone stole my church and I'd like to get it back,’ says one. MacDonald delves into the feelings of the older generation as they watch new leadership take over, see changes in music and use of technology, and begin to wonder how they fit. He challenges their understanding of what the church is, then looks at the early church and the modern church and the many cultural influences that transform Christian spirituality. MacDonald is especially strong when he includes young peoples' perspectives or brings research to bear on how people view and act on change. This is a challenging, innovative approach to a delicate subject. It's sure to benefit church leaders and members of all ages who dream of a ‘re-invented’ church.”

If you have been attending Grace Church for 10 years or longer, I would encourage each of you to put Who Stole My Church on your reading list for 2009. Even if you are new to Grace over the last several years, this is a book that you will not only enjoy, but one that will benefit you as together we seek to meet people where they are and help move them to where God wants them to be!


Keith said...

Hi Scott . . .

I recently put "Who Stole My Church" on the reading list for the D.Min. course I teach at Grace called "Implementing Change and Managing Conflict in the Church". It really is helpful in a lot of ways, no matter which "side" of many questions one might happen to take.


Pastor Scott said...

That is a great book for a course like that, Keith. Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great Christmas!

Rick Glass said...

Was in California this weekend and my uncle just gave me this reading it too!

Pastor Scott said...

Awesome, Rick. Let me know what you think!