Item description for Change Your Church for Good: The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping by Brad Powell...
The church is the hope of the world when it's working right...and therein lies the problem. Many aren't. This has led both Christians and non-Christians to give up on the church entirely; it has led many others to give up on all existing churches-and maybe even start new ones. But all church can and should be transitioned to a new life. A church is never beyond hope.
This book provides principles and practices which can lead to a resurrection of any church, in any setting. It will provide the inspiration and information needed to lead a church successfully through the necessary changes of tradition and culture without compromising God's timeless truth. When this happens, the church will once again be what God intended...the hope of the world.
The church is the hope of the world when it's working right...and therein lies the problem. Most aren't. This has led both Christians and non-Christians to give up on the church entirely; it has led many others to give up on all existing churches-and maybe even start new ones. But all church can and should be transitioned to a new life. A church is never beyond hope.
This book will provide principles and practices that can lead to a resurrection of any church, in any setting. It will provide the inspiration and information needed to lead a church successfully through the necessary changes of tradition and culture without compromising God's timeless truth. When this happens, the church will once again be what God intended...the hope of the world.
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Studio: Thomas Nelson
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.38" Width: 5.58" Height: 1.11" Weight: 0.84 lbs.
Release Date Feb 1, 2007
Publisher Thomas Nelson
ISBN 0849918758 ISBN13 9780849918759 UPC 023755027641
Reviews - What do customers think about Change Your Church for Good: The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping?
Tipping Sacred Cows into a Golden Calf Oct 8, 2007
Brad Powell, Senior Pastor of North Ridge Church in Plymouth, Michigan has written a new book about how to take your tired, old church and make it new again. Change Your Church for Good: The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping (W Publishing Group, February 2007) is 316 pages of church transition strategy illustrated by Brad's own success at transitioning the historic Temple Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan into North Ridge Church of Plymouth, Michigan.
The principles Brad articulates for team building, vision casting, and making progress toward change are positive and valuable. They aren't necessarily biblical, however. But that isn't to say they are necessarily unbiblical either. Except maybe for the rather bizzare story of God almost speaking audibly to Brad and telling him to transition the church to fit himself and then to relocate the church from Redford to Plymouth, "a community that will then be a perfect fit for both of you [Brad and Temple]." I haven't been able to locate a verse for that one.
The formative years of my spiritual life were spent at the Temple Baptist Church of Detroit. In his book Brad variously characterizes the church that formed my spiritual life as "irrelevant," "bound by tradition," "declining," "unhealthy," "dying," "Southern-cultured," "defensive," and possessed of "a lot of anger and conflict."
From 1976 when I first began riding the bus to Temple, to 1989 when I left to take my first pastorate in northern Michigan, this irrelevant, bound by tradition, declining, unhealthy, dying, Southern-cultured, defensive church with a lot of pent up anger and conflict faithfully proclaimed the word of God from its pulpit and in its Sunday School classes, faithfully trained teenagers and young adults in soul-winning visitation, and remained committed to the timeless truth of God's word in the midst of a changing culture and declining city. I owe my spiritual life to a church Brad Powell dismisses as "irrelevant." Temple Baptist Church was certainly relevant to me. And history bears out that prior to 1991 Temple was significantly relevant to many who owe their spiritual lives to its ministry.
Brad has always dismissed the history of Temple Baptist Church as irrelevant, which is surprising since his own success at North Ridge is due in large measure to the foundation laid by others throughout Temple's long history. For 40 years Dr. G. B. Vick labored as the faithful pastor of Temple, yet Brad can only say of this great leader and pastor that "he managed the ministry with consistent excellence and relative success," (italics mine) even though, as Brad characterizes Dr. Vick, he was not the communicator or innovator the previous pastor was. Brad has spent his entire ministry at North Ridge building on the foundation other men laid, especially those of this mediocre leader, Dr. G. B. Vick.
There is no question that Temple was in decline and dying when Brad arrived in the early 90s. Brad and I fundamentally disagree as to why. He points to "banjos playing in the basement" to illustrate the church's cultural irrelevance. I would point to the failure of the church's leadership to biblically deal with sin, both among themselves and the members of the congregation. Temple died because the Spirit abandoned it, not because the culture found it irrelevant.
I would argue that Temple's problem wasn't its inability to connect with the culture. It had succeeded in connecting with the culture for 70 years before Brad arrived. The gospel has always been and always will be foolish to the culture, but that doesn't make the message irrelevant. It's not preaching, or hymns, or traditional Sunday School, or soulwinning visitation, that kill a church. It's sin left unconfronted that kills a church. The pastor who immediately preceded Brad resigned because of a "moral failure." God knows, plenty of others should have hit the altar that day with confessions of failures, moral and otherwise, of their own. But rather than point to spiritual decadence as the source of Temple's decline, Brad blew past that and focused on "banjos in the basement" as the culprit. And, of course, if indeed the decline were due to "banjos playing in the basement" and stern looking "arms crossed ushers," it would be easier to convince the people that the problem was "relevance" rather than sin.
But if the problem is spiritual, well the answer to that problem is a different one altogether. Dealing with a spiritual crisis doesn't require abandoning the historic biblical principles that got you where you are by throwing them into the same pile with banjos playing in the basement. A spiritual crisis requires repentance and confession and a recommitment to those historic principles. But if your goal is to tip sacred cows (like banjos, organs, and arms-crossed ushers) into a Golden Calf, some things that really aren't sacred cows (like expository, evangelistic preaching and worship music with a solid theological foundation) get labled sacred cows so as to faciliate your goal of Golden Calf forming.
Brad diagnosed cultural irrelevance as the disease that killed Temple and he presecribed a heavy dose of cultural capitulation as the remedy. It worked. And in a culture that values quantity more than quality, relevance more than spiritual depth, the fact that it worked is all that matters. For Jesus' attitude toward quantity over quality see Matthew 7:21-23 (note the words `many' and `knew' and you tell me what Jesus values more: what you produce or who you know - numbers or relationship?).
SOME VALIDITY, SOME URBAN MYTH Jun 10, 2007
I read this book and have attended Northridge dozens of times. I grew up in Temple Baptist and spent 3-4 days there until 1982. My parents met at Temple Baptist in the early '60's. My grandmother attended in the 1940's. Needless to say, I know a lot about the history of Temple Baptist.
It was indeed culturally irrelevant by the time I left in 1982 as it was stifling and ultra conservative. Northridge is now transformed into a place where new Christians and seekers of God, Christ & the Spirit will be able to connect and find God, healing & worship. It is definitely a place to launch into Christianity although the waters can be shallow.
There are only two items I do not like about the book. One is that it is poorly written. It reads as if Brad dictated it. It needed better editing.
The other item I do not like is the information that the membership declined since 1955. This "fact" has been picked up all over the web. Although this is true, the contextual information that is left out is that this was partly intentional by Temple Baptist.
In 1955 Detroit had virtually no suburbs. As the suburbs began to spring up, Temple Baptist financially launched and encouraged dozens of suburban churches to support neighborhoods. It was understood that their membership numbers would decline due to losing members to the new churches that Temple launched. This was the primary reason for losing membership from 1955 - mid 1970's and not cultural irrelevance. I think that this was important information which was left out of the book.
Otherwise, this book is an important guide for how churches can attract people seeking or needing Christ that would otherwise never set foot in a church. They can't find Christ if churches don't try to reach them by connecting with our modern culture.
Great Book Apr 28, 2007
Are you in a church with a 175 year history? Traditions that are blocking the spread of God's word. Is your church in decline or simply not growing? This book builds on Rick Warren's concept of purpose driven. Our church is currently going through some major transitions. Pastor Powell's book has been a great encouragement.
Read this Book Mar 14, 2007
I know first hand the remarkable place that Northridge Church is and the remarkable changes that occurred due to Brad's vision and leadership. I never really felt at home in church until I attended Northridge and truly realized that God could be revelant to my life and the way I live it. If you care about growing your church and making it relevant to the masses you MUST read this book.
The book flows well and is a true eye opener Feb 28, 2007
I just finished reading this book and highly recommend it to anyone that cares about their church, and the mission of THE CHURCH. God, through Brad, changed a dying and irrelevant church into Metro Detroit's most dynamic and effective church body. This was only possible because the members caught his vision for reaching the lost, and offering them the hope and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ. For those that know of NorthRidge, it is an opportunity to see what happened behind the scenes in those turbulent years of transition, and to see the spiritual and emotional struggles that Brad and his leadership team endured. For those that are new to the story, it is an opportunity to learn from their struggles to move your church to where it should be. If we are not reaching the lost, we are not obeying Jesus' command. To reduce the book to a few sentences: most churches are ruled more by tradition and customs than by the Word of God., are directed more by illogical fears and selfish motives than by Christ's Command to "Go into the World", and are more focused on insiders than on the outsiders, erecting walls to hold out the "undesirables" rather than trying to desperately pull them from the flames. The book is a solid Eye openener that will have you re-evaluating everything your church does to see if it is done because it makes us feel comfortable, or if it is done to pull in as many of the lost as possible "without compromising God's Word." People are hurting everywhere. No one is exempt, and the Church needs to be the one offering the "One" that provides true healing. Brad and NorthRidge are getting it right, that is why I now go there, and why so many thousand others go each week. If every church had the heart and drive of NorthRidge, this world would be a much better place.