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126 Reviews
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Combination Of Theory And Implementation
Reading through Barefoot Church, I was encouraged greatly, while also blown away by how Hatmaker weaves in the ability to call out issues AND give great answers. Here are some areas that I believe Barefoot Church offers a new contribution.

1. It was raw and hope filled, instead of pessimistic and deconstructing. Many guys are writing books and articles that...
Published on October 22, 2011 by Vernon

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
This book was thought provoking at times and is leading me to consider ways to be more intentional about ministry. The practical advise on change management was very helpful.
Published 14 months ago by Kevin


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Combination Of Theory And Implementation, October 22, 2011
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Reading through Barefoot Church, I was encouraged greatly, while also blown away by how Hatmaker weaves in the ability to call out issues AND give great answers. Here are some areas that I believe Barefoot Church offers a new contribution.

1. It was raw and hope filled, instead of pessimistic and deconstructing. Many guys are writing books and articles that address problems, but they have been incredibly lazy in working out answers. Hatmaker definitely talks about problems, but does not just keep the issue hanging. He gives some engaging answers.

2. Chapters 5 and 9 were incredible. The ideas that are brought up in talking through the "unchurched" and "dechurched" are solid (Chp. 5). Also, in chapter 9, the 6 ways on how to engage non profits are priceless. They are worth the price of the book in themselves.

3. A collision of theory and implementation. Many books are continually jumping in the deep water on either side, while not realizing that both make up the pool. Brandon does both very well.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Barefoot Church Review, November 7, 2011
This review is from: Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture (Exponential Series) (Paperback)
Recently, Brandon Hatmaker has written a book called Barefoot Church to address the church's mission to serve the least in our culture. I am greatly appreciative to Brandon and Zondervan for the opportunity to read and review this book for free.

The book begins with a vision Brandon has one night during a church service where God asks him to give his new boots to a homeless man. Brandon's heart is truly exposed and thus begins his journey to find out what it means to be a barefoot church: a church that is not afraid to serve the least, even if it means giving away your shoes and winding up barefoot. He sums it up when he writes, "We engage the culture by engaging the needs of that culture. We have to do this on their turf, not ours (pg. 85)."

The book is full of serious, heartfelt Biblical discussion about social justice and the church's mission. It's why Brandon started Austin New Church in Austin, TX. Through his journey he has found what it means to serve the least and truly lead a barefoot church.

It is found by being different and there must be a different way to measure success. Today's churches in the US do not always have the reputation of being culture changers. We're not known for serving the hurting, needy, homeless, hungry, and orphaned. Yet, times are changing and Brandon and ANC are leading by example.

The most challenging chapter for me would be Chapter 8: Partnering With the Non-Profit World. Brandon gives great reasons why churches should partner with non-profs, but I believe there could be more problems than are described in the book. I do not believe that churches should not partner with non-profs, I just do not believe it is as cut and dry as made out in the book. It still seems like churches are the fat kid from Goonies that has to do the Truffle Shuffle to get in the house - we're still not the "cool kids." The church must be the trend setters. Hopefully there will be a day when non-profs want to help churches serve the least, not the other way around.

This book is convicting and moving. It is riddled with true, slice of life stories that cut to the heart and make you think. It helps you see the difference between a "come and see church" and a "go and do" church, a barefoot church obviously being the latter. The book is practical and thought-provoking, moving and passionate, convicting and challenging. The reader is even left with steps to becoming a barefoot church in the final chapter. This is worth a read, even if you may not agree with everything, as was the case with me. I recommend you pick it up.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my top 3 all-time favorite books!, January 16, 2012
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This review is from: Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture (Exponential Series) (Paperback)
Barefoot Church
Wow. Another amazing, unashamedly Jesus-centered message by the Hatmaker family!
This one hit me right at the core. Jesus taught us over and over that the most important thing He wants from us is our love and service to those in need, to the least of these. And yet somehow, in today's church, we are compelled to think that as long as we are filling our "Biblical knowledge tank", we are fulfilling our life's mission. Fail. We think that if our schedules are filled with "church" things, we are somehow living up to our calling. Fail. We think that if our church is packed to the brim that somehow we've hit the target. Fail. And, we believe that if we are loving others, but we're not willing to sacrifice our own wealth to better their poverty-stricken life, we are still living as Christ asked. Epic Fail. Jesus isn't asking us to give out of our extras. He's asking us to give until it hurts. He's asking us to make sacrifices to Him. To lay our abundance on the altar and allow Him to dispense it to those He puts in our path. He wants this not only as our priority, but as a way of life. We need to prioritize and schedule time into our daily lives our to love those in need. Not to fill our calendar with "church events" and if there's any room left to squeeze in a little time at the homeless shelter.
Jesus is not asking here. He has demanded. He's demanded our time, our talents, and our treasures. He has said that what we do for the least of these, we do for Him. He has told us countless times that the only way to gain favor with God is to love the unlovable. And still, we sit in our big churches, listening to sermons and Bible studies, consuming more and more Biblical knowledge, and feel totally satisfied, even though we aren't being the church at all. We are doing church. Jesus never once mandated, commanded, or even asked us to "do church". He said to "BE" the church. How in the world did we get so off course?
Good news though. Brandon Hatmaker has put into our hands some basic "how tos" to get started. And even more importantly, he's completely compiled the "whys" for us! Why should we live a life of mission? Why did Jesus put such a high priority on this? Where are we (personally/corporately) steering off course? How can we get back to our calling?
Thank you so much for writing this book! I have had this book for 2 weeks. I read it once almost straight through. And I'm already on my second read through! My next step is to process as much as I can, and then start the real work of figuring out how to take our family from where it is (and where it's headed) and line it up with Jesus' command for us to live missionally, serving the least of these. I'm sure it won't be easy, but Brandon lays it all out there for us...it wasn't meant to be easy...It was meant for us to be in full fellowship with God and with others, and it was meant as a way for us to need to cling to Him every second of every day.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have one book to read on BEING the church, it's this one, October 20, 2011
By 
D. Gamble (The Region, IN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
One of the most practical books on leading a church to missional impact. Brandon reveals in an engaging and personal style his own journey to starting Austin New Church where they Gather to Go not just stay put. He puts flesh on all the theory out there for being a missional church and puts the "and" in AND of being both gathered and scattered. I first heard Brandon in person and then subsequently picked up the book and it has really helped my thinking in the kind of church I want to start. This is definitely a must read for any church planter or pastor wanting to lead their church to new kinds of effectiveness in reaching out and actually being the hands and feet of Jesus. Not a book for the feint of heart or those who are happy with the status quo. But if you have a holy discontent to see MORE from your church, pick this book up and read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent, yes!, October 30, 2011
This review is from: Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture (Exponential Series) (Paperback)
I was not sure what to expect when I began to read Brandon Hatmaker's book. It was his first book, it was my first time really becoming acquainted with him, and also the first time I read some of the kinds of material/information/thoughts that are in a book like this.

Brandon doesn't hold back on what he believes should be at the core of the modern day New Testament church - serving the neglected. He lays out his belief through honest, written conviction and verses and stories straight out of scripture. I mean honestly, how can you argue with that? :)

I've been on a journey as of late redefining what scripture claims that "discipleship" really is. I was pleased and excited to see that Brandon touched on this - which only helped me think more on the subject. On page 109 he wrote, "The problem with our current forms of discipleship is not necessarily found in what we do well; its found in what we've neglected." I found that to be strikingly insightful because we, as a church culture, usually try and fix what we are already doing. We spend hours upon hours searching for a solution to something that might not even be a problem. Instead, it might behoove us to try and figure out what we may be lacking.

If the only thing that I read in the whole book was the first sentence on page 127, it still would have been worth it for me. The sentence is very short, but reads as follows: "It is risky to be different in the church." Many of us out there have have felt that prompting. We have wanted to step out, risk something, challenge the system, and just plain ask "Why?" However, we often fear what the response will be. This sentence along only encouraged and challenged me to live the life in response the Gospel that I feel God has always been, and always will, be calling me to.

One of the last things that I thoroughly enjoyed about the book was the Brandon did was that he encouraged you to seek the Spirit's help in figuring out what your family's, or church's, or your own next step might be. He gives examples of what you could do, or what Austin New Church did. But in the end he tells you that you need to figure it out.

I think many times we can read a conclusion in a book, and convince ourselves that "Oh, that will never work with me. I couldn't possibly do something as drastic as that." And that will ease our conscience until the Spirit brings that topic back up in front of us. But every Christian has the ability, and responsibility, to ask the question: "God, what do you want of me?"

Brandon, thank you for the challenging words, the stories, shedding light on scripture, and risking to bring a message that isn't very popular yet in the western church. I appreciate it more than you know.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all, February 14, 2013
By 
Tim Lubinus (Ames, Iowa USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture (Exponential Series) (Paperback)
Brandon Hatmaker in Barefoot Church shares his church's values and his experience in serving an urban community. Hatmaker stays in the radical middle between the "missional" and "attractional" constructs of church. He is not attempting to promote one or the other, but simultaneously both. He makes it clear that he views evangelism as distinct, though not separate from social action.

In his church, Hatmaker created a structural necessity of community service by expecting all of his church's small groups to spend half of their time serving together. He claims that if small groups focus on community rather than mission they may get neither. However if a small group focuses on mission it will likely get both community and mission. This is the best insight of the book in my opinion.

Barefoot Church also is highly decentralized. Hatmaker regards community service that is organized primarily by church staff as non-sustainable. The more people mature in Christ the less they should need motivation and structure provided by someone else.

For Hatmaker, community service is much more than helping the needy or obeying the instructions of Christ. Service is a way to help the church get into the community so that the community doesn't withdrawal from the church. Unbelievers are far more likely to join together with a church service project than a worship service.

I disagreed with Hatmaker in at least two ways:

One disagreement is with his statement that in order for a church to reach a community, it needs to be attractive to all of the community. While I get the desire to be sensitive to the whole community, it is rare that I church can be a good fit for every population segment. Trying to accommodate the needs of every audience will work as well as an FM radio station that plays every kind of music. Instead of being a good fit for everyone, it will be a good fit to no one.

Another statement that I disagreed with was Hatmaker's recommendation to church leadership to highly regard the opinions of those outside of the church on how church funds should be used. While these opinions may have some value, I don't think that a church should feel compelled to highly regard the opinion of unconnected people or opinions that are not biblically informed.

Hatmaker has boldly created an environment that emphasizes service in his context. While I believe he overemphasizes some of his points, Barefoot Church provides some helpful insights for any church leader.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for the church people and de-churched people, April 3, 2012
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I would suspect if I give a copy of Barefoot Church to a non-christian friend, with their perceptions of what Jesus taught and how many Christians actually live, after reading it they would say, "Yeah, that's what Christians should be like if they actually lived out what Jesus taught."

This is one of those books where I constantly found myself nodding in agreement constantly as I read. Several, "oh, that's good", or "yeah, exactly", or "that's awesome" where either internally said or actually vocalized as I rolled through the book. This is the first book I read to completion on my kindle touch and I really like being able to go back and see my notes and highlights. Several quotes from Brandon jump out, like, "I wondered if I would have to leave occupational ministry in order to commit fully to serve those in physical need." and "Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it. But, I'm afraid He would ask me the same question."

I'm in church leadership, after having been "dechurched" for several years, and this book echos what many lay leaders, pastors, church-goers, indifferent Christians, and even non-christians think about what Jesus taught, in relation to caring for the community, and the appearing contradictions many American churches and many Christians actually live out. Like going after the $8,000,000 building with reclining seats, a gym, a coffee shop, and book store that will sit empty 5.5 days a week instead of being a more biblical steward of the resources God has provided and serving the homeless community around the corner. This isn't a "social gospel" book that encourages Christians to serve people without also letting them know about the truth of the gospel. No, it addresses that there is need in the community and also gives directions and examples on how to fill those needs within the context of the Gospel. And not just on how to serve those, but how to pursue justice to eliminate the need.

I just ordered the Barefoot Church Primer follow up book and look forward to digging into it as well as soon as it arrives.

Barefoot Church Primer
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are you serving those in need? Do you know how?, July 15, 2013
This review is from: Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture (Exponential Series) (Paperback)
Want to help the needy and serve the poor? What about doing it now? Brandon Hatmaker is the pastor of a church in Austin, TX that believes that the good news of Christ couples both sharing and caring - sharing the news about salvation and at the same time caring for those in need - and he believes that the church, as a whole, has generally done one or the other well, but has trouble combining the two. For his part, Hatmaker understands that what the church prioritizes, it programs - so if serving the needy is really a priority of his church, it must move from lip service to foot service - the church must become the hands and feet of Jesus serving those in need! Hatmaker uses the term "missional" to communicate that service and evangelism are more than "mission trips" but are rather a way of life, something to be done every day, as a normal part of living. And Hatmaker believes that when one sees the needs, one should be equipped and encouraged by the local church to meet those needs. The Barefoot Church is a great book for every pastor and layman alike - while Hatmaker intentionally addresses the programmatic element of a church, the reality of service is important for every follower of Christ to consider.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for Lay-readers too..., January 5, 2013
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This review is from: Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture (Exponential Series) (Paperback)
I started reading this book at a point of extreme frustration with my church. I was almost afraid to read it because I expected it to increase the frustration. However, the ideas presented resonated with my experiences and then the section at the end that was basically 'what to do next' was extremely helpful. Our family did a lot of praying and decided to stick with our church and pray for the Holy Spirit to move...and we have seen so much change in the year since!!!

While our community, being one built of mostly new-to- the-area/city/state, is not well suited for the exact model set up in the book. Many of the ideas and warnings of potential problems are applicable and useful.

Highly recommend this book to anyone wondering what's missing in their life/church...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fantastic and truly inspiring read! Wow!, October 22, 2011
Brandon Hatmaker truly captures the spirit of missional living, brilliant! He gives an excellent model with practical examples that anyone seeking more from Christian life can follow. This is must read...WOW, AWESOME!
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