Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book: "Extreme Church Makeover"

This review was first published on YAPDATES here.

Title: Extreme Church Makeover
Author: Neil Anderson & Charles Mylander
Published: Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2005

Extreme Church MakeoverThis is a book about revitalizing Church. The key theme of this book is that every church that is entangled in conflict and disunity can be redeemed through an 'extreme' makeover. Riding on the success of the previous book: "Steps to Freedom in Christ," the same formula that enables individuals to be liberated is applied to a larger body, namely the church. In other words, the key to any makeover is firstly to 'resolve personal and spiritual conflicts' (7). The challenge is to uncover past hurts and make brave leadership decisions to address them head on. One of the key observations is that 85% of churches surveyed are 'spiritually dead and bearing no fruit at all' (11).

Typical of Neil Anderson's stance, the book relies heavily on recognizing the spiritual forces that lurk underneath any church body conflict. That is the reason for the large emphasis on prayer throughout the book. Anderson and Mylander are spot on in terms of identifying root causes. What are the elements of makeover?

- Protection from the evil one;
- Be rooted in Christ;
- Clear understanding of what is destructive and what is constructive;
- Clear Understanding of roles of pastor, board, members and leadership;
- Leadership as a function of 'leader, follower and situation';
- Ministry Model that incorporates Cause-Community-Corporation enclosed together via "Communion in Christ.'
- Healing bad memories and tough with past sins;
- Leadership

The part I like is the Cause-Community-Corporation model, which was credited to Jim Dethmer's "Moving in the Right Circles" published in the Fall 1992 edition of Leadership Journal.
Communion - described as the ethos of every member and leader of the church to center their lives on Christ;
Cause - Sharing the good news with people local and abroad;
Community - celebrating relationships;
Corporation - wisely administering the resources God has given.
The last segment on leadership is perhaps one of the most crucial. Members of the church must be free to discover their true identity and freedom in Christ. Leadership must provide space and let individuals be free and honest with themselves and the church, without fear or favor. Clearly written, one of the most helpful parts of the book is the leadership strategy portion. The five strategies of Planning, Praying, Preaching, Involving Other Leaders and Active Discussing among members sum up the way to approach a Church makeover. Leaders must be empowered to lead. Followers need to trust and support the leaders as much as possible. Ultimately, any efforts to revitalize the church is not easy step-wise formulas but tough meticulous steps toward self-discovery, corporate trust and constant prayerfulness against the spiritual powers of the world, and the lusts of the flesh.


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