WINNER of the 2011 "Retailers Choice Awards" for ‘Church & Culture'!Churches committed to following Christ's example want this world changed for the sake of eternity. While the supernatural piece of making that happen goes without saying, how does a body of believers do its part to be in that "sweet spot" where true spiritual transformation occurs? In Transformational Church, best-selling research authors Ed Stetzer and Thom S. Rainer survey fifty thousand churches—then narrow the scope down to five hundred congregations—for a qualitative answer.
Their book, the most comprehensive study of the modern American church to date, contains a wealth of indispensable new data, nuanced insights, and how-to guidance, all centered on this key finding: "Transformational churches make disciples whose lives are being transformed by the gospel, so that people engage the culture around them for its ultimate transformation. Deeply committed to the essential foundations of discipleship (worship, community, and mission), transformational churches practice their faith and make disciples through vibrant leadership, prayerful dependence upon God, and relational intentionality. And they do so paying mind to their unique context and with a missionary mindset."
- Great book for pastors who are looking for tools to move their Church forward!
I was fortunate enough to listen to this book as part of the christianaudio.com reviewers program. The audio-book is available from http://christianaudio.com/review/product/list/id/6533/.
This book is aimed at the Senior Pastor or Church Leader level, and as such probably would not be useful for the average Christian to read.
The data and information contained has been gleaned through a rigorous process of elimination and section of Churches, inter-denominational, and of varying sizes across the US, that are actively advancing the Kingdom of God, and the members of these Churches were surveyed to get their impressions of what their Churches do, and don't do, what they value and don't value.
This book is not a list of things that theoretically should work in your Church, or the latest trend or ideas, but proven principles. The heart of which is each and every member having a missional mindset, and taking the gospel of Jesus Christ into the world.
I thought the book was well read, although there are many places where the readers voice changes, it seems that he left, had a break and came back with a fresher voice. It might be better the make these breaks more strategic in future.
With this type of book I really need a text version to refer back to over and over again, because I do not have the spare time to listen all the way through the audio again to find what I want. So I have purchased the book. Making a PDF version of the book available (especially for word search) would be extremely helpful.
Over all I have given this book 5 stars, as it hits home well with it's target audience, I have even purchased some copies as gifts for some of my pastor friends.
- Well researched and thought provoking
Having listened to the audiobook, I was impressed with the research and the recommendations offered by the authors. This is not a book that will provide you a how-to list of things your church can do to see growth. Rather, they look at other churches across denominational barriers. Instead of telling you what you must do to reach people, you will learn what churches that are actually experiencing growth and reaching people with a gospel message that leads to regenerate men and women.
You will learn that what I find are many “duh” statements. Things like the necessity of prayer and the need to focus worship on God and not man come quickly to mind. In essence, get back to the Bible and your church will see the growth that many desire. That growth, however, will not be a worldly growth in numbers (though those will come). Rather, the growth will be in the spirituality of the congregation.
I realize there are a ton of “how-to grow your church manuals” being published and sold as the next great innovation. Transformational Church is not one of those manuals. To read this book is to take a hard look at what you are doing correctly and incorrectly in your own church. The new report card will help you to discern your need, embrace the necessity of change, and engage your community where they (and you) are located. I highly recommend this resource in both the audio and print editions.
- Interesting research on thriving churches
In Transformational Church, Thom S. Rainer and Ed Stetzer present their research findings as to what thriving, growing churches are doing differently and why various areas of church practice are important.
In some ways, the book has a similar premise to The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons which I recently reviewed. I think this book was an improvement in a number of ways. One was that there was no shortage of case studies. While some of them were well known churches, many were not very well known churches doing good things. Given the tendency that sometimes exists in the Christian community to focus excessively on the famous churches, this is a good thing. Another improvement was that it was more balanced when it comes to dealing with the flaws, not just the positive aspects of the researched group.
While the book is about churches, it would also provide useful food for thought for those in para-church ministries. I’ll be thinking about how their findings about growing churches may have implications for the university ministry I’m involved in.
The only thing I didn’t particularly like about the book was that at times it seemed to overdo the statistics.
Given that many Christian authors make questionable use of statistics, it was great to see a detailed explanation about how they got to their statistics and what measures were taken to ensure the research conclusions were valid.
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- Worth a read if you care about making your church a transformational one for His Glory
This audibook is definitely not for ordinary Christians who just want to come every Sunday to the church and don’t care about what’s going on in their church. This book is more tailored to church pastors, elders, and leaders who care about their church and how to grow the church both quantitatively and qualitatively.
The book is based on a survey of many churches deemed as “transformational churches” based on a certain criteria. The criterias are explained in the beginning but more detailed at the end of the book, if you want to check for the credibility of the research. I was relieved to find that this audiobook does not just talk about some figures or numbers based on the survey results. It actually uses the results as the basis of the book on how to transform your church to become a transformational church (or T.C).
Thom and Ed clearly explained every details of what a transformational church should have. As one of the leader in the church, I can quickly relate to the topics that are discussed in depth such as the importance of the mission as a church, the importance of having transformational groups, and also handling issues that would definitely arise in every church (such as a debate on worship style or musical instruments for example). I’m also glad to find that the book really focuses on God and His Word (as we all should have) and not relying on theories, figures, or past experiences.
The book can be quite informative although at the same time you may have heard or even know about some of the topics being discussed. The book goes overly detailed but does cover every single aspect needed to be a transformational church. Nevertheless, even if you already know about them, the book is a good reminder of what God wants from His churches to be and to do.
Since the book does not much have conversations, the narration can sound dull at times. There are a few statements from the authors in the audiobook and I do wish that the narrator could put more expressions to make the statements more alive though.
If your church is new or perhaps have less than 50 people on a regular Sunday service, I’d definitely suggest to read this book if you really care about the growth of your church and how to grow it in the right directions.
Taken from my blog post at http://www.writeforgod.com/transformational-church-by-thom-rainer-ed-stetzer.html
- Bland and mechanical
The audio book "Transformation Church", by Thom S. Rainer and Ed Stetzer, is narrated by John Lescault. I've followed Ed Stetzer on his blog for quite some time, and have come to expect great, yet bland, works. Such is my feeling listening to this audio book as well.
I believe that the narrator, Lescault, did as well has he could given the material provided. Unfortunately, in addition to a dull and doctoral writing, Lescault provides the listener with a mechanical and monotonized effort, leaving a dry taste in the mouth and hopes of file corruption, to permit listening to a musical talent or different audio selection instead. I wish I could provide a better review for this effort, but to do such would betray the shopper's interest in choosing the best option available. I recommend, for those interested, grab the paperback and skip the audio.
See the score and more at infinitlove.com
- It's a fresh approach to meaningful 'growth'.
This review is made possible by the christianaudio.com reviewers program.
Let me preface this review by saying that I knew going into this book that I would agree with just about everything in it. I've read plenty of Thom Rainer books as well as books by Ed Stetzer. I believe that their view on how to 'do church' is very relevant, but also Biblical. If you are new to the authors, then I recommend that you read Simple Church (Rainer) and Lost and Found (Stetzer).
Transformational Church is book a about simply that. What makes a church a TC? How do TC churches operate? Churches have long operated under the traditional business model. They are looking at the following:
1. How many people are coming?
2. What's the % growth of the budget?
3. How large has our staff grown?
Along with that model, we judge people by the following:
1. How many events did you come to?
2. How many people came with you?
3. How much did you give?
How have we missed it for so long? By operating under this mindset, we are missing God's plan for the church. A church is not a building or organization, but living organism.
TC is look at church families from around the country and they look at what makes them a TC. The authors avoid a do this and become that approach to ministry, but rather look at the principals that led that particular church to transform. It looks at what truly leads people to a life changing relationship with Christ (rather than church member of the year)
It's a fresh approach to meaningful 'growth'.
- Interesting Survey Results
When I first started listening to this audio I wasn't very impressed. I didn’t really know what it was about and thought it just was another ‘how to’ book about making your church the best!
I was going to give up listening, but I decided to persevere and I’m glad I did. This isn’t a ‘how to’ book at all, so don’t buy it for that reason. Instead it’s the results of a comprehensive survey completed by Protestant churches across the States.
The results are interesting, as there are many stories from different leaders, in how they are doing ‘church’ in a way, that sees real lasting change amongst their members and communities. I particularly liked the chapters on prayer, community and mission.
I’d say overall it’s a positive audio although I did find the narrator’s voice a bit dull, and sometimes it was a repetitive. If you are a leader in a church who likes to know what is going on across America, this is probably the audio for you.
Thanks to christianaudio.com Reviewers Program for this copy.