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Rethinking the Church: A Challenge to Creative Redesign in an Age of Transition Paperback – July 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books; Rev Exp edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801091659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801091650
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #411,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He holds M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Seminary and has completed advanced graduate study at Vanderbilt University and continuing education at the University of Oxford, England. White is also an adjunctive professor of Christian Theology at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and the author of several books, including A Search for the Spiritual and Life Defining Moments. He and his wife, Susan, have four children.

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Customer Reviews

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I highly recommend this book for any pastor, church leader and board member.
Tethered Soul
The primary strength of this book is that it asks the right questions - it leads the reader to ask the right questions about his or her church.
Donald S. Meador
White writes one of the best works available on why a church must be flexible to be effective and how that flexibility is created.
F. Wesley Shortridge

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Donald S. Meador on October 15, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rethinking the Church by James Emery White is the book to read when it comes to understanding why your church is not growing. The primary strength of this book is that it asks the right questions - it leads the reader to ask the right questions about his or her church. The secondary strength of this book is that it does not prescribe one set answer, one model of doing church, as the only possible answer for the absence of growth in one's church growth.
Based on his experience of starting a church that reaches lost people, White delineates questions that need to be asked by every church. Even though the book was written in 1997, I found the questions to be accurate today. The questions White leads the reader to ask in the areas of Purpose/Vision, Evangelism, Discipleship, Ministry, Worship, Leadership Structure, and Community seem to me to be timeless questions. The value of answering these questions honestly and applying the answers thoroughly cannot be overstated.
When reading this book, the discerning reader will understand the style of worship used in White's church. The beauty of it all is that White does not try to force the worship style of his church upon the reader's church. However, he does stress the importance of using a worship style that is relevant to the lost people in your community.
I would recommend this book to everyone in church leadership. It will help you to understand the context in which you minister, and, hopefully, how to minister better in that context.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Rethinking The Church explores the nature of the church with a view to making the necessary changes that will ensure that the church remains relevant to our culture. The author proceeds from the foundation that much of what we do and see in today's churches is derived from 17th to 19th century culture, and as such has lost much of its relevance to our postmodern society. We need to critically examine our churches to discern to the world today and what is simply tradition holding over from days gone by.
White draws heavily on the writings of Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and George Barna: so heavily, in fact, that it often seems he has little to say that is truly original. If you have read The Purpose Driven Church and are familiar with Hybels' writings, you will find a lot of repetition in this book. Still, at only 128 pages it is an easy read and still worth your while. If you have not read books on this topic before, this makes an excellent introduction.
This book does a good job of showing the importance and, to some extent, the methodology of taking a critical look at the church to evaluate if it truly is an effective tool for God's work. I appreciated that on the whole the author treats the traditional church with respect, seeing the beauty of traditional parts of the worship service and traditional music. At the same time I appreciated his harshness on the necessity of being willing to make changes where changes are necessary.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gerald Khoo on September 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book that brings us to rethink who the church is and what the church is about. James Emery White takes us through rethinking evangelism, discipleship, ministry, worship, structure and community... every aspect vitally important to the life of any church.

In his introduction, Emery states 8 reasons people give for not attending church:
1. There is no value in attending (74%).
2. Churches have too many problems (61%).
3. I do not have the time (48%).
4. I am simply not interested (42%).
5. Churches ask for money too frequently (40%).
6. Church services are usually boring (36%).
7. Christian churches hold no relevance for the way I live (34%).
8. I do not believe in God, or I am unsure that God exists (12%).

When you read a list like that, how do you feel? Would you feel compassion for the lost, or would you feel that we are not here to please the lost? The book does not ask us to compromise God's standards, but to look closely what we hold on to, and whether they are God's standards, or just something we created to protect God's standards.

When Emery talks about "rethinking", he is referring to the effectiveness of the church, i.e. doing the right things. Any church can be efficient, i.e. doing things right, but efficiency does not mean that the church is effective in what she does. Emery does not give us a set of methods to follow, but draws for us the picture of the current culture and society that we live in, asks questions for us to reflect on what is happening, and at the end of the day, we need to decide what needs to change and how the change is to take place.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ray McKay Hardee, Senior Pastor, Forest Pointe Community Church on April 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Dr. James Emery White has written a special book for the church, church planters, and church strategists. White is no mere theorist, but a man of action. The principles espoused in this have been put into practice in the real world at Mecklenburg Community Church. In 7 years, he has moved from the dream of a seeker-targeted church to seeing over 3000 in attendance each weekend. Dr. White does not play around the fringes of easy believism, but challenges his members to go deep in their commitment and their faith. Having personally experienced a Mecklenburg Community Church worship service, I have been challenged to implement this philosophical foundation coupled with practical use of state of the art technologies to grow our church. With countless Mecklenburg members committed to going deep in their faith, James White has turned a vision into a reality and a book into a manual for church growth success.
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