I have rarely read a book that has probed my heart as much this one did. There are two groups who need to read this book: Elders and Ministers. This has to be read if a church wants to move from irrelevancy to relevancy. Yet, he challenges us because typically when we hear the word “relevant” we automatically think “unbiblical” or “conformist.” In this book you will be surprised by and even comforted by Andy’s challenges for us to be relevant AND biblical. Some pros and cons and some of my favorite quotes.
- Systems thinking
- Looks at vision as template instead of programs/models
- Immensely practical
- Uses biblical wisdom
- Tells his background to give you context
- Seeks for each to look at his model and adapt instead of adopt.
- He pushes the envelope and for many this is too much for them. I see it as a con only in the sense of how the reader may take this. I also see this as a pro.
- Preaching method will make purists cringe. He rarely preaches expository sermons and will only use a verse or two if necessary. Keep in mind that this is too accomplish his the church’s vision of being a church for the unchurched.
- As leaders, we are never responsible for filling anyone else’s cup. Our responsibility is to empty ours.
- I think every church should be a church irreligious people love to attend. Why? Because the church is the local expression of the presence of Jesus. We are his body. And since people who were nothing like Jesus liked Jesus, people who are nothing like Jesus should like us as well.
- We don’t grade ourselves on size. We grade ourselves on how attractive we are to our target audience.
- The tragedy is that what comes to mind when the average person thinks of church is such a far cry from what actually took place in the era in which the church was born. In the beginning, the church was a gloriously messy movement with a laser-focused message and a global mission.
- It’s a shame that so many churches are married to a designed-by-Christians-for-Christians-only culture. A culture in which they talk about the Great Commission, sing songs about the Great Commission, but refuse to reorganize their churches around the Great Commission. These are often the same churches where members talk about grace, sing about how “amazing” it is, but create graceless cultures where only those who play by the rules feel welcomed.
- Every innovation has an expiration date. At some point, new isn’t new anymore, regardless of what the package says. Eventually, new ideas feel like yesterday’s news. Bread is not the only thing that gets stale over time. Every new and innovative approach to ministry has an expiration date as well. Every single one. Nothing is irresistible or relevant forever. That should unnerve you a bit.
- When people start with the, “Don’t preachers only work one day a week?” I have a good comeback. Feel free to use it. I say, “Think for a minute about the most stressful part of your job, the part that is the make-or-break for you financially. Imagine having to do that every week on a stage in front of your family, friends, strangers, and people who don’t particularly like you. Imagine not having the option to call in sick or reschedule because you weren’t quite ready for the presentation.” End of conversation.
- Some of my favorite messages are the ones where I open up with a statement that makes everybody uncomfortable. Create tension and you’ve created interest. Iron out all the tension and you will eliminate interest.
- The longer you’ve served where you are and the longer you’ve done what you are currently doing, the more difficult it will be for you to see your environments with the objectivity needed to make the changes that need to be made. The shorter version: Time in erodes awareness of.
- People are far more interested in what works than what’s true. I hate to burst your bubble, but virtually nobody in your church is on a truth quest. Including your spouse. They are on happiness quests. As long as you are dishing out truth with no here’s the difference it will make tacked on the end, you will be perceived as irrelevant by most of the people in your church, student ministry, or home Bible study. You may be spot-on theologically, like the teachers of the law in Jesus’ day, but you will not be perceived as one who teaches with authority. Worse, nobody is going to want to listen to you.
- The church needs leaders who are willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that we hand it off to the next generation in better shape than we found it.
- The actual mission of many churches is Pay the Bills. No, you won’t find that written anywhere. But let’s be honest, most local churches don’t feel any urgency about anything until the money starts running out. Then suddenly they are concerned about “reaching people.” That’s when they start talking about how to attract young couples. A church can go for years and baptize nobody but children and no one is concerned. A church can go for a decade without a single profession of faith and nobody calls a special meeting. But miss budget for three or four months running? Suddenly everybody’s concerned. They’re talking about change. But not because they’ve had an encounter with God. Oh no. It was their encounter with an Excel spreadsheet that drove ‘em to their knees. Then, to add divine insult to injury, once the financial crisis passes, everything goes back to the way it was. The tragic truth is, most churches in the United States won’t change until finances force them to.