Thom S. Rainer and Ed Stetzer
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.