Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Book Review: Change Your Church for Good

The issue that lies at the heart of Brad Powell’s argument in Change Your Church for Good is that the church must change in order to stay culturally relevant. In this revised edition Powell attempts to use the lens of his own experience in the transformation of a congregation to suggest to others a mode of thinking for evoking similar change in their own congregations.

And though his own story is inspiring, a critical church leader must also hold onto caution in using this text in a prescriptive way. Powell suggests that cultural irrelevance is the reason the church is in decline, and in so doing he tells of how his own congregation was dying once upon a time. While his congregation did turn around using his methodology, and while it was a truly dying congregation at one time, Powell’s line of thinking unintentionally tramples the storied past of his congregation and negates all that was positive before. Though he tries hard Powell failed to adequately reclaim the timeless nature of the Gospel and its ever-relevant nature. The gospel, it seems, is always true for Powell, but devoid of power when the people who present it aren’t “relevant” enough.

Additionally, the question must be asked: What does this book contribute to the advancement of the church? And if I’m totally honest the answer is not all that much. There are no principles designed, no methodology suggested, no information presented, that is new. Much of the work is a rehashing of other contemporary works without any credit given.

Problems aside, Change Your Church for Good is not altogether beyond redemption. There are glimmers of inspiration present. On an especially positive note, the structure of his theology of the church presented in the third chapter is intriguing. To present it in an “is versus is-not” dialectic is helpful for examination.

While I cannot recommend spending the $19.99 cover price of the book, or even a deeply discounted ten bucks or so, I would not argue with you if you checked it out from the library.

If you want to find this book on Amazon.com click here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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