Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review: Growing God’s Church: How People Are Actually Coming to Faith Today by Gary L. McIntosh

Review: Growing God’s Church: How People Are Actually Coming to Faith Today
Gary L. McIntosh
Baker Books

After so many church growth books have been written, marketed, read, and whatever becomes of such material afterward, this book contains some information that reveals some of the results of a research project that measured what might be considered as the outcome of all the advice presented in the church growth books.  That’s the way I read it.  What really is working with whom is the gist of McIntosh’s results.
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Fear not, this does not read like a statistical report or a doctoral thesis.  He insured the results remained accessible to most readers.  Part 1 explores the biblical version of what church is and does along with some discussion of the current versions found in today’s culture, mostly Western culture.  I found it thorough and hard to argue against even if I didn’t agree with some of what he had to say.  
Part 2 reveals the results of his research work, bar graphs for those that want the information immediately and in discussion form for those with a bit more patience.  McIntosh looked at the results from the standpoint of gender, generational age, region, person most influential in choices made by the respondents related to faith, church attendance, and several other pertinent areas.  For those working within the church setting some of the information may be surprising and other information validation of what had been obvious, but pushed aside for a time.  

Part 3 covers suggestions for evaluation and/or change that the author felt could be helpful.  I will not spoil the book for you.  Instead, I will let you pick a copy and read it for yourself.  Do not start at the end.  The end is the conclusion of the prior work presented and needs to considered in light of that. 
I do recommend this book.  The research tool used has been included in the appendix for those that want to see the questionnaire and he included his research procedure for distilling the results in the early narrative portion of the book.   
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

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