Item description for Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them by Thom S. Rainer...
Overview A first-of-its-kind comprehensive study of the formerly unchurched explodes some common myths as to what it takes to reach people and provides insight into how the Christian church can develop effective approaches to reach the growing number of unchurched in North America. (Church Life)
Publishers Description We ve read all the hot books on evangelism, we ve attended scores of seminars---and still we re not reaching the unchurched. Eighty to ninety percent of churchless Americans will never enter our culturally relevant, seeker-sensitive doors. What are we missing? Maybe we ve been asking the wrong people. Instead of consulting the unchurched masses, it s time we heard what the small but important minority who have recently begun attending a church have to say. What made the difference for them? What critical factors helped spark their faith in Jesus and drew them into the community of believers? Thom Rainer shares results and conclusions of this groundbreaking survey of the formerly unchurched. At last, here are proven insights into what evangelistically effective churches are doing right. Filled with charts, graphs, and other visual aids, plus an abundance of true-life accounts, this book explodes myths about the unchurched. You will discover: * Why pastors and doctrinal preaching are critical * The enormous influence of family and relationships * Which things matter more than we thought, and which matter less * The traits of unchurched-reaching leaders * How to become a church for the unchurched"
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Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, one of the largest Christian resource companies in the world. Also a respected pastor and researcher, he has written more than twenty books and coauthored the No. 1 best seller Simple Church. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons, several grandchildren, and live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Reviews - What do customers think about Surprising Insights From The Unchurched & Proven?
quality resource Jan 1, 2008
Great stats for church progress written with quality expertise. This is a must have for every pastor interested in church growth. This will stir your heart to reach people for JESUS.
Great insights! Sep 1, 2007
Tom Rainer offers very interesting insights from his surveys of formerly unchurched. Churches, pastors and leaders can use the survey responses to develop effective strategies for reaching the lost in their communities.
Church Growth Remains Elusive Jun 30, 2006
With more research and "How To" books than any other time in history the American Church still seems to be on the decline. In this volume Thom Rainer, Dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth, takes his best shot at the problem. Is his "best shot" good enough? It's certainly helpful, but probably not a home run.
This book reiterates solid leadership principles.
This book insists (thankfully) that traditional conservative churches can grow without becoming "odd".
This book paints a vivid contrast between effective and ineffective pastors.
This book actually goes to those recently converted to Christianity and asks them why they converted.
This book was written by someone who knows what he is talking about.
The research sample is too small and biased. Rainer studied 350 new Christians, 350 Christians who transferred to a new church, and 100 pastors - ALL from conservative evangelical churches! This is circular logic. That is, if you asked all of the new people who came to my church why they came to church, they would mostly respond that they liked particular aspects of my church. This only shows that my church has the ability to attract new persons, not that my church has the only way or even the best way. NCD (Natural Church Development) has interviewed more churches of more types on more continents than any other study. Do not overlook NCD material when researching this subject.
This book accepts national statistics that are no longer universally accepted. This book "assumes" that Conservative Evangelical and Fundamentalists Church in American outgrow liberal and mainstream churches. 10 years ago this statement could have been made as a fact. This is no longer the case. Recent studies have shown that conservative churches are also in decline at about the same rate. The reasons are heavily debated, but the results are that church growth is isolated in all Christian movements.
This book is a must read, if for no other reason, it reinforces that churches CAN be effective without being out of balance. But this book should not be viewed as the final word on the matter.
Insights From Culture But Few From Scripture Jan 22, 2006
Programs, church growth books, church growth conferences. Everytime you turn around there is the latest method on how pastors can build "their" churches. Rather than seeking to be biblical, most church growth "experts" and books tend to rely on charts, polls, and the latest methods of the business world in order to reach people with the gospel. In the midst of it all, God's sovereignty in salvation (Jonah 2:9; John 6:44) and sound doctrine are lost (1 Timothy 4:16; Titus 2:1).
I was sent this book by a clergy. In the book he put a note on how this book had changed his life and he wanted the same for me. I read the book but my life was not changed probably for several reasons.
First of all, I am not a part of the clergy-laity system that Rainer teaches. His exaltation of the pastor fits into the scheme of the book. While I do believe pastoring is biblical (1 Peter 5:1-5), no-where in the NT do we find one man shows or CEO's as in today's churches. In fact, the Bible never calls anyone Pastor as a title (Eph. 4:11-16) but exalts only Jesus as the Head of the Church (Col. 1:15-20). Rainer puts the growth of the church on the shoulders of the "pastor" but leaves no room for God's power (Acts 2:47).
Secondly, the lack of biblical content. While Rainer filled his book with stats, charts, and polls on the "unchurched" he never dives into Scripture to show biblical church growth. Disciples making disciples is God's plan (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20-21) but he places the growth of the church on programs, methods, and the church "service." In this book you will find less than 10 passages of Scripture and no exegesis of those passages.
Third, he presents the "unchurched" as seekers. The Bible says there are no seekers (Romans 3:10-11). In fact the Bible presents us as haters of God (Eph. 2:1-3). Man, by nature, is not seeking God but is seeking how to be a god (Genesis 3). Rainer presents American society as "seekers" of God and we need to only find the need and fill it. It is our duty to preach the cross (1 Cor. 1:18) and to leave the results up to God (1 Cor. 2:1-5; 3:10-15).
Fourth, Rainer never discuesses discipeship and what it truly means to be a Christian (Acts 2:38). He simply assumes that if the church claims to be evangelical and is growing then it must be biblical. He never points out the radical demands of Jesus (Luke 9:23-25; 14:25-35) or what it truly means to repent (Luke 13:5; 24:47; Acts 3:19; 17:30; Romans 2:4). He never discusses baptism into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Peter 3:21-22). He simply assumes that to believe in Jesus makes one a Christian. How sad! Many growing American churches are full of people who do not know the Saviour nor His work on the cross (Romans 6:1-4). They claim to know God but by their actions they deny Him (Titus 1:16).
Overall I must say that my clergy friend missed the mark on this book. While it offered insights from our cultural church in America, it did little to offer a biblical view. If you want to find books on church growth try reading and praying the book of Acts. In fact, try living the book of Acts! They turned the world upside down with their preaching (Acts 17:5) and yet we look to the world for solutions on how to read them. May we repent and return to the Sovereign God who is able to do more than we can ever imagine (Eph. 3:21-22).
Rainer's Best Yet Aug 23, 2005
Having read nearly all of Rainer's other books I thought that this one would probably contain lots of redundancy. However, I was captivated from the first chapter. This book really hits the mark on an area way overdue. We have spent so much time looking at the needs / views of the unchurched that we have neglected to explore the obvious arena of the recently "churched" - those who have moved from unchurched to churched. A fascinating read that will affirm many areas we already knew but also provide for some surprises!