Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Blessed Church : a review

“The Blessed Church” (WaterBrook Press, 2012). It’s the story of HOW the Gateway, the church Morris planted in the Dallas- Fort Worth area in 2000 has grown to a megachurch with multiple campuses. In short readable chapters, he explains WHAT he along with the staff and elder board have done, but, and this is an important part of my 5 star rating, WHY they did some of the things they’re done. The book is divided into 6 parts which include the story of Gateway, its vision, the role of the shepherd, empowering leaders, church government and the culture that makes Gateway the church that it has become. There’s very little here that hasn’t been said before in lots of leadership and church-growth books, but at least it’s the important stuff. These important tips are scattered throughout the text and called “Keys to a Blessed Church”
I admit that it’s sometimes difficult for me to get past the pages where someone claims that God is speaking directly to him. (My problem, not his). But in this case it appears that listening to that voice has certainly paid off. A couple of important take-aways include the need to take everything to the Lord in prayer, and be prepared to wait (and sometimes wait and wait some more) for an answer. There are some important tips on developing a vision and how a vision can help the church be what God intends it to be. And the one thing that made me sit up and take notice is this simple statement “God made us to want to bring increase.”   Morris continues with, “nevertheless, we pastors are made to feel that our dreams of broad reach and wide impact are somehow inappropriate.”
I was ready to dislike the book simply because of its title. Who are we to think that God should bless our church? But Morris shows how they have been blessed, not because they went out and did and did and did until God was forced to bless them, but how they have been blessed because they have tried to stay faithful to what God was calling them to do.
There are all sorts of excuses for not being a mega-church, but God blessed Adam and Eve and told them to be fruitful and multiply. He told Noah to be fruitful and increase in number. Jesus’ parable of the talents shows that the Christ follower is expected to increase the ‘harvest’.  Our churches are not called to sit back and be comfortable, we’re called to step out in faith, to follow God's leading and watch the kingdom grow. Morris explains what they looks and why we do it.
A great book for those who want to follow God's leading but without understanding “why” might have trouble with the “what” and the “how”.
 "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

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