You say, “Why in the world would I want to read about dying churches?” This book is not so much about dying churches, but observations from the “autopsies” of fourteen churches who had died. Rainer describes the thought of an autopsy as disconcerting and one that no one enjoys. However, in his introduction, he makes a very poignant statement. “The trauma of observing an autopsy is only beneficial if it is received as a warning to the living.” He then goes on to state that this book is not about dwelling on the past, but bearing fruit in the future.
It has been quite a few years since I have read anything by John Maxwell. This book, given to me by a friend in the ministry, tops my book list thus far for 2014. Absolutely loved the humility by Maxwell throughout the book along with all of the quotes, illustrations, and proven principles of connecting with people around you. In matter of fact, I underlined or highlighted 101 different quotes, lines, or illustrations in the book.
This book was extremely helpful to me as a public speaker. However, Maxwell deliberately states that this will not only help the public communicator but anyone who deals with people on a regular basis. He also reiterates throughout the book that anyone can learn to connect with people…that it is NOT a natural born trait. He uses himself as an example who did very poorly in connecting with others as a young pastor for the first few years.
Having read quite a few of Paul Chappell’s book, I believe this has been one of his finest. Some of his books are a bit dry, but I found this one to be a compelling, balanced approach to the subject of the Great Commission.
It is often that you find two camps pitted at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the Great Commission. There are many churches who teach and preach and practice soul winning, soul winning, soul winning but do a poor job of discipleship (which is just as much a part of the Great Commission). At the other end are churches who are excellent at the discipleship piece of the Great Commission but are not reaching anyone with their evangelistic or soul winning efforts because they basically are not pursuing souls. This book is call for a balanced approach.
Chappell has done a superb job writing a Biblically sound book filled with philosophy and practicality concerning the Great Commission. And from what I can tell, he and his church successfully practice what he teaches in the book. It is no wonder that his church is a very solid, growing (quite young still), balanced work.