Most helpful critical review
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Agree with premise, hate the writing
on September 27, 2007
Many people are praising this book for its challenging message. I don't disagree with the message.
I was disappointed in this book because it the poor quality of writing inhibits clarity and good argument. Also, because the author believes every gathering must fit its unique context (I agree!), he tries to avoid making specific recommendations. The result is just jumbled ideas and vague quasi-suggestions. If you are looking for a book that will teach you how to start an emerging worship gathering, this is not going to be very helpful.
The best part of the book is where Kimball profiles several different emerging worship gatherings (at the back), and it would have been a better book to start with these, then draw observations about things they have in common. (And it would have been better if such observations were written by a better writer.)
More specifically about the writing, Kimball's problems start with a poor vocabulary. A good vocabulary results in an economy of words and a precision in meaning; a poor one yields vague, shallow wordiness.
For example, he writes on page 172: "Historically, church ministry functions in a certain way and there was a specific approach to looking at the church leadership structure. But Graceland [an alternative/emerging worship gathering] started going against the norms of consistency and church uniformity!" Lots of words, little clarity: it's clumsy and vague.
I found Kimball's avoidance of specific suggestions or guidance for creating emerging worship gatherings annoying. Either he is unable to find common threads in emerging worship gatherings, or he is deliberately obfuscating. I wish he would show a little more faith in his readers, and tell us how each gathering he profiles was envisioned and created. Most of us are bright enough to realize that our situation is unique, and we must be careful in applying the lessons from other gatherings. But more specifics would have made this a much more helpful resource.