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Sticky Church (Leadership Network Innovation Series) Paperback – October 2, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Larry Osborne is a teaching pastor at North Coast Church in northern San Diego County. North Coast is widely recognized as one of the most influential and innovative churches in America. Osborne speaks extensively on the subjects of leadership and spiritual formation. His books include Sticky Teams, Sticky Church, 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe, and Spirituality for the Rest of Us. He and his wife, Nancy, live in Oceanside, California.

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Product Details

  • Series: Leadership Network Innovation Series (Book 6)
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Leadership Network Innovation Series edition (October 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310285089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310285083
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Larry Osborne is one of the senior and teaching pastors at North Coast Church in Vista, California. Under his leadership, weekend attendance has grown from 128 to over 10,000. Recognized nationally as one of the 10 Most Influential Churches in America and one of the most innovative, North Coast Church pioneered the use of video worship venues and is one of the leaders in the multi-site movement with more than 31 local worship options each weekend-each one targeted at a different missional demographic. More than 90 percent of North Coast's average weekend attendance participates in weekly sermon-based small groups, a concept that is spreading across the nation as an alternative to traditional small group methodologies. Osborne's books include Innovation's Dirty Little Secret, Accidental Pharisees, Sticky Teams, Sticky Church, Mission Creep, The Unity Factor, A Contrarian's Guide to Spirituality and 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Eric Nygren on October 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
I knew I wanted to read Larry Osborne's new book Sticky Church as soon as I read the title. I would guess that that every pastor and every church has wrestled with the question about how to get people who visit their church to not only stay but how to get them connected. As Osborne points out we've tried just about everything but we still see too many of our people leaving through the back door.

The solution for Osborne and the folks at North Coast Church was to help people "stick" by getting them to be a part of their small group ministry. But the small groups at NCC were not your typical Bible study group or multiplying cell group. Osborne details the process that led him and his ministry team to focus on Sermon based small groups. As a result, those involved in small groups at NCC were given an opportunity to make application from what they heard the previous Sunday in the context of encouraging, accountable relationships.

I found Osborne's book to be extremely helpful in developing my own vision and strategy for ministry but probably not in the way Osborne would have imagined when writing this book. I pastor a rural church where we don't have small groups--we are a small group. I found many of Osborne's comments and principles to be very relevant to our situation and the ministry we are trusting God to develop. Osborne covers everything from preaching, to church health, to relationships, and leadership training. I imagine the principles I gleaned will be most beneficial to the way I give leadership to the local church.

My copy of Sticky Church is now marked up and well worn. My goal now is to go back through the book so I can process again the principles Osborne has shared.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Chad Oberholtzer on May 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm on staff at a church that's been doing small groups seriously for about five years. I've read many books on small groups and have learned some important things from most of them. As all honest authors admit, no particular model is completely transferable from one church context to another, and Osborne thankfully acknowledges this reality. Rather than prescribing the North Coast model as the panacea to solve all small group problems, he seems to approach "The Sticky Church" from the perspective of "here's what we've experienced, here's what's working for us, so use whatever is helpful." I like that.

The overall premise of the book is that many churches spend too much time widening the front door (getting new people to come) and not enough time closing the back door (discouraging current attenders from leaving). As other reviewers have noted, Osborne spends the latter part of the book explaining NCC's primary solution for creating a Sticky Church, their small groups. There are two things about groups at NCC that are somewhat unique from much of the standard small groups literature.

First, their groups are primarily sermon-based, which simply means that their "curriculum" is discussing the sermon from weekend worship. This has many benefits, which include encouraging better sermon listening, note-taking, and accessing the message online or with a CD if a person missed the message. And probably the biggest value of sermon-based groups is the simplification that it creates in people's lives, who are bombarded with messages and ideas and don't need yet another thing to be pondering and studying, even if it is a good small group study.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Gibbs on December 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
"If the back door of a church is left wide open, it doesn't matter how many people are coaxed to come in the front door," according to this book. Healthy churches are "sticky", because they concentrate on growing people up to maturity, not just on attracting "spiritual window shoppers". The book goes on to describe North Coast Church's sermon-based small groups model.

Small groups provide the best forum for Christians to learn to stick to other Christians and to the Bible. When the subject of each week's small group meeting is the preceding Sunday's sermon, the level of attention paid to the sermon increases, and many people even start taking notes. Those who happen to miss the week's sermon are more likely to listen to it online in preparation for the weekly small group meeting. Newcomers find it easier to fit into small groups, because they can study up on the sermon before they come.

According to Osborne, the ideal group size is 8 to 12 singles or 6 to 7 couples. People need to be in a group with people they are compatible with, so purely neighbourhood-based groups do not work well. Because people have limited time, small groups need to be the main priority; other activities can be held during a season of the year when there are no small groups. There is enough new information in this book to make it recommended reading for all church leaders.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chad Estes on August 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Larry Osborne has written a new book called "Sticky Church" dealing with one of the most needed ingredients in the recipe for quality discipleship--time. He writes the book in the context of his ministry, a large, multi-site congregation in southern California. There is a lot of talk about "shutting the back door of the church" so that people can come any time they want but they will never leave- a religious version of The Hotel California.

North Coast Church hasn't really shut the back door of their church, they don't appear to be that controlling and it is against fire code. But neither did they invest any money in a marketing strategy to make the front door more inviting. Instead their focus has been creating an atmosphere where people engage with others and then want to stay. The foundation of North Coast's model is sermon-based small groups.

Overall the message of this book is how a church can learn to facilitate a healthy, small group atmosphere. It cannot be controlled, managed, or manipulated. It merely should be birthed and then nurtured along. This will be a healthy wake up call for churches who have approached their small group ministry with a business philosophy instead of looking at it as an organic family.

Kudos to Osborne and North Coast for modeling a healty expression of small group ministry within a large church. The book is certainly a recommended read.
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