Change Your Church For Good: Leon's "Book of The Year" for Churchy Types
(Revised Edition), Brad Powell; Thomas Nelson, 2010
This book was originally published as "Change Your Church For Good: The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping," and has been updated for a new generation of church leaders by author, pastor, blogger and church innovator, Brad Powell. Powell is the pastor of NorthRidge Church in Michigan, where he has been pastoring since 1990. Powell relates how he entered into what was then Temple Baptist Church with the realization that the church was dying and had become completely irrelevant to non-Christians, especially those who were coming of age in a Post-Christian society. Now NorthRidge is home to thousands of members on three campuses and was recently named the Midwest's "Fastest Growing Church." The transformation that Powell relates is one that has taken nearly 20 years, and was filled with obstacles, trials, tribulations, crises and eventually unbelievable joy, hope and unprecedented growth. Powell's assessment of the Church is brutally honest. The main problem that the Church faces in our culture, Powell asserts is that it focuses "on insiders rather than outsiders (30). What Powell discovered was that the Church has for the most part worshipped tradition rather than the Truth of Jesus Christ. And the Truth of Jesus Christ is that we are his hands and feet in the fulfillment of the Great Commission---to tell the world about the Good News that God has saved and is saving it. This book completely lit me up. It convicted me as a church leader and as a pastor as well as affirmed what I have known to be true. I felt called to continue the struggle to help the church I am now serving become even more culturally relevant and alive in Christ---not for the purpose of becoming a mega-church, but for the purpose of reaching people with the message that Jesus is Lord. I have long felt like church has become a place where faith goes to die. Powell affirms that notion, but also challenges church leaders to move beyond it. He writes, "The church needs to create moments in which people can experience God as fresh, not tired; exciting, not boring; and alive, not dead (230). I plan on having my entire leadership staff read this book. If you are a church leader or pastor, I suggest you do the same--regardless of where you are on the transformation journey. You won't regret it.