Item description for Moving Beyond Church Growth (Prisms) by Mark A. Olson...
Overview Are unrealistic expectations for church growth sapping your morale and putting you at risk of burnout? Do you sense dissension within your congregation? Issuing a clarion call to church leaders for bold new thinking, Olson envisions faith communities that are radically centered on God, profoundly compassionate and engaged, and sustained in relationship.
Publishers Description Character development for communities of faith Mark Olson believes that trying to meet unrealistic expectations for church growth, along with expectations that pastors be all things to all people, has resulted in low morale, even burnout, among clergy and dissension within congregations.Olson's book argues that church-growth models exemplify and exacerbate the tendencies of the modern age and Constantinian Christianity, holding the church hostage to technique and marketing. These assumptions set up pastors and churches for disappointment and failure. But they also, in his opinion, miss an opportunity to envision a faithful alternative to the consumeristic church.Olson's valuable book calls church leaders to faithful, bold, and courageous rethinking of congregational life and witness in substance, purpose, and style. His own 20 years of ministry in rural, suburban, and urban congregations inform an alternative rooted deeply in the past and anchored in strong leadership and worship, but also profoundly compassionate and engaged in the surrounding community. In this model, pastors' primary responsibilities are not to fix everything and everybody but to enable people to be present to each other and to provide hope.
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Studio: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.52" Width: 5.49" Height: 0.48" Weight: 0.52 lbs.
Release Date Dec 1, 2001
Publisher Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN 0806643463 ISBN13 9780806643465
Reviews - What do customers think about Moving Beyond Church Growth (Prisms)?
Highly Recommend Jul 24, 2007
In a time when the church has become enamored with numerical growth Olson's book is refreshing and timely. Unfortunately Olson died before others could take up this new paradigm for living out life as the church.
A caveat is that this book is written primarily for Lutheran Christians so some will not like Olson's take on theology, etc. But for many this book provides a framework that emphasizes the need for faithfulness over and against technique.
If you feel pressure to "grow" the church by any means, this book will help you to trust ever more in the power of the Word.
A thought provoking book! Dec 30, 2002
Mark Olson wrote this book after 20 years of pastoral ministry in various states and while serving as pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. His book joins the ranks of several books calling for the escape from the CEO approach of the predominate school of Church Growth.
His book passionately calls pastors to a systemic approach to Church Health and Growth through relationships and radical dependence upon God instead of through programs and man centered self-confidence.
While Olson does not write academically, his stories and content demonstrate an accurate application of the family systems theory to the church. I see this shine through the best in Chapter 8. Here, he illustrates very well how conflict often arises in a church when the pastor and pastoral family fuse with a church.
I agree with him that the pastor must maintain some critical distance while also staying in contact with the congregation. This is the healthiest approach for the pastor, and for the congregation. We must always remember that we are their pastor, not their overly familiar friend. I think every seminary student, new pastor, and experienced pastor who is inclined to over-function would benefit from reading this one chapter.
The focus of this book is pastoral theology. It does not claim to be a book on the sin problem of humanity nor on the primacy of Scripture. Nor is it about the ordination of women clergy which my Methodist heritage is not at issue with. Neither does it offer any pat answers for moving beyond church growth. His main objective is to get the reader to think differently about a more biblical vision of being and doing church. His creative use of stories accomplishes that goal.
I only see one main flaw in Olson's book. I would prefer a stronger use of biblical teaching on the church in each of his chapters. It is not only time to move beyond Church Growth, it is also time to move beyond a family systems only approach to church health.
What specific things ought a post-systems approach to healthy churches incorporate? It would help unpack the systems view already contained in the NT so that people focus more on God's grace & wisdom via scripture than human insight and technique via systems with just a dash of Christian language. If we are not careful family systems can become a new theology regardless of what view you take of the Christian faith.
I appreciate Olson writing this thought provoking book! It?s too bad that he passed away in November of 2002. I?m sure others will work on the seminal thoughts found in his book.
Going in the Right Direction May 24, 2002
I so wanted to give this the five-star treatment, but couldn't.
Pr. Olson has so much good to say: that Church Growth is not working and more importantly that it is not God's way of growing the church, as is modernity's approach not that either.
What he presents is return to being a traditional pastor with a twist. The twist being trusting completely in being a means of grace pastor and then letting God build the church.
How well put. Except, he doesn't really ever come clean about the inerrancy of God's Word and repeatedly seems to back female ordiation as Servants of this Word.
Nor, does he come right out and speak of sin and its defestation, nor the pure gospel as the only remedy. Unless these means of grace put forward this pure healing balm, there is nothing.
Well serving as this book is by making pastors reflect on what their "God-given"task is and who they are accoutable to (and there is much good stuff on this), this book falls ultimately short in not clearly declaring a confession of faith that this reviewer can Amen.
Much to commend one's reading of this book. Much to support what confessional Lutherans have always and still are saying with the above corrections noted.