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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
The approach described in this book "Ignite" is to have a series of 'big days' in your church to spark growth, and double the size of your church. The method is very practical, has been used in Searcy's own church, and lays out its rationale very clearly. The book is fairly well written, and will be of use to many churches who are healthy but stuck at a size barrier and wishing to break through.

I have enjoyed Searcy's other books like Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups,Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church, and Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch, which are also very pragmatic books seeking to help leaders do a good job with their systems for small groups, first impressions, and church planting. Searcy is definitely a 'systems thinker.' What I like about the other books is that they give very practical tips about implementing things that are very healthy and appropriate for most churches.

Yet I don't feel the same enthusiasm for Ignite. While he does not intentionally minimize the role of the Holy Spirit, and notes that God wants to reach people far more than we do, the book still comes across as a paint-by-numbers approach to manufacturing growth by human means. He says that both attractional and incarnational approaches to outreach work well and that he advocates doing both, this is a 100% come-to-us approach to evangelism. The material really isn't that new if you're already familiar with the purpose driven church model and the teaching of Rick Warren (which also thinks highly of big days). One issue I have with this book's approach is that it really has a goal of growth, as opposed to a goal of health. In every discussion of big days and church growth I've heard from Saddleback it's been very clear that the goal is church health, and the natural result (if your structure doesn't interfere) is growth - but you never make growth itself your target. When the table of contents talks about equipping the people for evangelism and giving them the tools they need to succeed, I was hoping for more than 'invite postcards'.

The book describes how big days and the buzz and momentum that come from it can attract more visitors. What is not discussed at all are the reasons why the people would choose to stay. For your limited budget and energy, do you want to invest in mailings and big events and attendance numbers, or do you want to invest in people and disciple-making that show the difference it makes to be a fully devoted follower of Christ. (If you're doing the latter well and want to know how to do the former, this book is for you.) Again, the book and methods aren't bad in themselves - if read and followed with a great attitude seeking to honor God, reach the lost, and be a part of God building a healthy church, then your church may find benefit from this. But more likely the church that is "stuck" and not growing may have a deeper and more spiritual reason that is not best addressed by Ignite.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2009
This book is very practical in providing ways to reach the unchurched. It is a companion book to Nelson's book 'Fusion.' An excellent book on how to invite and encourage others to church. Here are 10 key points that I am hoping to personally apply from this book:

1. Schedule 4 Big days for the next 12 months, such as Christmas, mid-February, Easter and mid-September
2. Utilize a preaching calendar in order to give members the opportunities to invite for new series.
3. Prepare invitation cards for the Big Day events
4. Build some intentional relationships with unchurched in order to be able to make a list of 10 unchurched people, pray for and invite
5. Plan for growth rather than control
6. Provide simple tools for members that include a deadline to invite.
7. Start using the 5 Tool Time suggestions
8. Provide brief training during our Sunday worship
9. Plan with leadership to offer mass promotion. Need to decide what vehicle to use
10. Prepare, in writing, the evangelism system for my church. Make sure that I have ready `What to do for a new believer within an hour, day, week month and future.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon December 4, 2009
Any book that starts with the question, "What if your church could double in one day?" is likely to be of great interest to pastors around the world, and it is perhaps not surprising that Nelson Searcy's book shot onto Amazon's best seller list when it was released.

Searcy knows how to create a buzz when selling books, and he applies many of the same types of techniques to growing a church. He recommends that you put on "big days" to reach new people. Christmas and Easter are natural big days, and you should schedule a few others at strategic times. Get your church involved in the build-up to the big day, praying, fasting and inviting their friends. If everyone brings someone else, then the number of people in your church can double in one day.

I learned some useful new things from Searcy's previous books on assimilation and small groups, but I did not find much new content in this book, given that I have previously read "The Purpose Driven Church" and a lot of other church growth books. Nevertheless, it is written in an engaging style (thanks, presumably, to the literary expertise of the co-author Jennifer Dykes Henson) and it contains most of what you need to know if you subscribe to Searcy's Sunday-event-driven church growth model. If you are more a believer in an emerging church / missional community model, this book is not for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2014
This should be a pamphlet, not a book. It's mostly fluff in the form of drawn out stories, redundancy, and cross-promotion.

Basically, he wants you to do four big event services each year (at Easter, February, a month after school starts in the fall, and maybe in the summer or Christmas), have your congregation invite people after writing their names down, and have good follow up with visitors. That's the book. A couple of good things, but mostly a waste of time and a shameless cash grab through relentless cross-promotion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2009
1. "God's Kingdom has never been and will never be built on a foundation of complacency". Great quote. We can never become complacent if we want to see God's Kingdom grow.

2. I can best reach people that are like me. This helps me understand why we're reaching the people that we are currently reaching.

3. The concept of "stretch and release". This is very good to know. We can spend time every week pushing things that our people will become numb to. If we push our people along with our big days, they will be more effective in reaching their friends.

4. When asking people to bring their friends, it helps to give them a deadline.

5. I must be leading my flock in the right direction. My evangelism temperature determines the church's. That was pretty huge!

6. The evangelistic temperature of our church is not as high as I thought, or hoped, it would be. It's time to get to work!

7. I (the Pastor) must keep the church outwardly focused if I don't want it to become inwardly focused.

8. We must have our other systems in place if we want to gain the most benefit from our big day.

9. I have to know the difference between wanting God's will or my will from our big day.

10. We have to plant all the seeds we can and trust God to water them and make them grow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Nelson's book is filled with many practical ways to raise the evangelistic temperature of your church, and I will share my top ten takeaways below. What I was not prepared for was how God challenged my own evangelism. I needed this reigniting of my heart.

My takeaways:
1. The path of discipleship IS the road of evangelism.
2. There is value in "Big Days" in the church for reaching new people, growing believers, and building momentum.
3. I need to know the evangelistic temperature of our church.
4. As the pastor, my job is to keep the evangelistic temperature in our church hot--I cannot hand this off!
5. Our staff, starting with me, need to model praying for the lost and serving in evangelistic activities.
6. Our staff needs to be praying for each other in the area of evangelism.
7. People do what is urgent--how urgent is evangelism at our church?
8. We need to celebrate evangelistic activity among our people.
9. God will never bring us more than we are prepared to receive.
10. We cannot "push" all year long; there is a need for rhythm and rest in the church.

Good stuff here that gets really practical and doable.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2009
I have been reading many books these past 4 years since spending time with Nelson Searcy in a Coaching Network. What Nelson has done in this book is to organize some of his best ideas, practices and learnings into a coherent and useful tool for those who are trying to figure out how to work in the church in the current environment. I do best when I try to find my top learnings from a book so here are the things that hit me the most in this read.
There is plenty here to keep you thinking and doing for quite a while if you put what you find most challenging into practice in your context.
1. I was struck by the Easter survey. To get a test of where people are in their spiritual journey - follower, 1st. time commitment, considering and don't believe. P. 148 What a great way to know if you are connecting people to Christ or not.
2. The follow up process for new believers - knowing myself what I would want them to do in 1st. hour, day, week, month is a great possibility for following up with people who take the first step. p 156
3. "Next steps for Your Journey" read and should devise my own plan (or use much of this one) p. 155 This piece is one of the benefits of buying the book and going to the book's website. more info for free!
4. Jason Eason's 6000 minutes of prayer - just saying things in this way is an awesome thing. I could adapt for our people 2000 minutes of prayer for an event. P.154 It sounds bigger and it is powerful.
5. When the Spirit of God prompts someone to attend church for the first time or for the first time in a long long time what will make them think of us? p 131 Have they seen or heard from us 7 times? This book made me think if what my church is doing to be on the minds of people in the community for that time when they decide it is time to cross the church door threshold in some way.
6. Are we risking enough to put it all on the line to reach people for Jesus Christ? Most of the UMC is not into risk. Are we at our church taking risks for the Kingdom work? p. 125
7. Empower people by expecting and challenging them to give their best .... AND challenging the Staff to do same. P74 I must be more bold.
8. Most likely to see new people in Feb,, Easter and one month after school begins. Pps. 70, 71 (for us it is also Christmas Eve) I am ramping up for this right now.
9. Pastor's primary role is to keep the evangelism temperature RED HOT! p. 53 which means that the evangelism buck stops with me. Ouch, think I just got burnt.
10. Big day, big Day, big day... do it! And something to offer to help them want to come back again the next week. (Most wars are won in the training of the troops)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2009
One of the things I love about Nelson Searcy's books is that they are so practical. Many books for church leaders are heavy on theory, or have lots of inspiration, but rarely get into the practical ways to do things. This book gives you a real approach to growing your church. In addition, it provides links to free downloadable resources that enhance it greatly. Here's a snapshot of what I took away from it.

1. God wants lost people more than you do.
2. Your Fall big day should be 1 month after school starts because people are still getting their schedule established until them.
3. February is a good time for a Big Day
4. February is accompanied by a host of emotional needs that stay repressed during other months. This is an excellent time to deal with these real needs as a Big Day initiated series.
5. When your members are praying with an "alert mind" and for "opportunities to speak" (Colossians 4:2-3) you have gone a long way towards establishing a minset for evangelism in the congregation.
6. If you do a Big Day without an effective assimilation process in place, you will quickly go back to the status quo.
7. The four corners of the evangelism system are the pastor, personal evangelism, promotion, and preservation
8. Say something like "If you found today's message helpful, whu not invite a friend to join you next week?" at the end of EVERY service.
9. Make a heart for evangelism one of the standard prerequisites for all new hires.
10. We don't double every week because as church leaders we aren't mobilizing people for evangelism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2009
When you hear "double your church in one day," wouldn't you think "what a hoax!"?
I thought so too. But bought it anyway to see what this guy had to say. Though we are in NY too, never heard about Nelson and his church.
But as soon as I picked up the book, I couldn't put it down. Yes, there is nothing new. But 'nothing new' we haven't implemented.
This will spur you. If you are bookish pastor, read this. And be uncomfortable so God can use you.
If you are a Reformed pastor like me, this will benefit you the most because this is theology in action.

I also picked up "fusion" on my kindle and going to download "small group" as well.

His methods are different from Tim Keller's (where many PCA guys are trying to emulate) though they both are serving in NYC. One should look into both.

I am remodeling my ministry around these methods.

Thanks and God bless Nelson!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 10, 2014
Ignite sparked ideas and enthusiasm among our church leaders for evangelism and growth. Any reader will approach Ignite from the context of their church and theology. Nelson Searcy is a big church, Baptist pastor, and his approach to church and growth reflects that context. His ideas can be applied to any other style of church and context--but not exactly. Ignite can inspire creativity and motivation to focus and work toward growth, as the Lord leads.

I have mixed feelings about the "Big Day" idea that is the center piece of Ignite's process for growth. How can any Sunday when we read the Scriptures, Preach the Gospel, Minister by the Holy Spirit, Participate in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and Fellowship with the Saints be anything but a Big Day? It is really a matter of making a day Big in the eyes of the beholders.

For Searcy, Big Days are special days when the church collectively joins in creating momentum for generating visitors and new members. Big Days can be Sundays like Easter or special events that church has like a Back to School Kick Off.

Searcy promotes a variety of church marketing systems in the book to get people to the church. Like any "branding," Searcy's marketing is designed to increase the awareness and comfortability with the church to support members' invitations to people. Other techniques include a variety of invitations, prayer cards of who to invite, preaching about evangelism, encouraging members, etc.

Searcy facilitates a very structured organizational system at his church. I hate to say it, but you could possibly leave God out of the equation, and I think Searcy would manage to grow the church one way or another. Searcy does point to the need for prayer to fuel and sustain evangelism. Mostly, however, this is a book about the practical, unmiraculous processes of growing church. It has worked for Searcy and others whose testimonies are sprinkled throughout the book. This is about doing all we can to bring people into the church to be touched and blessed by God. I think it requires caution, so that the goal and focus does not become growing the church instead of the glory of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

For some reason, Searcy includes an Appendix on teaching about baptism from the Baptist point of view. For him, nobody can be baptized until they are able to prove that they "understand fully the meaning of baptism." He asserts this view against baptizing anyone, such as infants and children or the mentally disabled, who are not theologically and doctrinally sound and articulate. This appendix seemed out of place and unnecessary--as well as faulty.

The ideas in Ignite can be used without neglecting the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. I hope to be able to put them to use in a way that glorifies the Lord.
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