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The Unchurched Next Door: Understanding Faith Stages as Keys to Sharing Your Faith Paperback – February 24, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In a national survey conducted by author Thom Rainer and his staff, eight out of ten unchurched men and women said they would come to church---if only someone would invite them. When and how is the next big question. Rainer helps you figure out where your neighbors, friends, and coworkers are in their spiritual quest, and how you can know who among the unchurched people in your life are receptive to Christ. In this fascinating book, Rainer identifies five 'faith stages' that represent your running buddy, your sister-in-law, or your hairdresser. 'A discovery we made is that reaching lost and unchurched people is not always best accomplished with some cookie-cutter strategy, ' Rainer writes. 'The unchurched are different in how they respond to the gospel.' How different? You will be amazed at the variables that exist when it comes to how open people are to the Christian message. Open this book, and open your mind and heart to the powerful new possibilities of reaching The Unchurched Next Door.

About the Author

Thom S. Rainer (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and, Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (February 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310286123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310286127
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #639,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thom S. Rainer (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Transformational Church, Essential Church, and Simple Church.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As one of the privileged research team members for "The Unchurched Next Door," I would like to say that the book only covers half of what we actually did to research this work. Dr. Rainer did a great job of condensing our research, feelings, and attitidues into a book length work, and the conclusions he arrives at are solidly based in real, live, interviews.
On occaision, we researchers had to endure criticism, scolding, tears, cussing, and other generally nasty behavior, along with some true blessed events, such as hearing people ask, "What must I do to be saved?" Each of us was assigned several states and we each had to "discover" our own interviews. That in itself was an educational effort. Some traveled, others utilized the telephone, while others still demonstrated great creativity in many ways to meet the unchurched. Each of us discovered, personally, the unchurched persons that we interviewed.
Ultimately, as a pastor, I highly commend this work to both the pastor's library and the average church members's library as a reminder of God's Great Commission; to seek and disciple God's lost sheep. It is easy to read, easy to understand, and with dilligence, easy to do!
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Format: Hardcover
The Unchurched Next Door is an admirable attempt to understand why people don't attend a Christian church and how best to lead them to a relationship with Christ that includes church attendance. This monumental task was undertaken by surveying people around the United States to get their answers to multiple questions (statistical results are presented in an appendix). From the results of these questionnaires author Thom S. Rainer divides unchurched people into five distinct groups. These groups run the range from those who would attend if someone would invite them to those who are openly hostile to the gospel and people who attend church.

Thom S. Rainer is a dean at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a fact that he reminds the reader of on a regular basis throughout the text. Other than that one minor annoyance, the information is extremely valuable to anyone involved in church growth and outreach. I found some of the numbers to be surprising and some pretty much what I expected. Either way, the analysis was consistently insightful. The Unchurched Next Door is a highly recommended book for anyone charged with growing their church and its influence in the surrounding area.
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Format: Hardcover
This book gives us all a glimpse of what the unchurced really think about Christians, church, and a relationship with God in their own life, as well as perspectives about reaching them at different places on a spiritual receptivity scale developed by Ranier and his team. Laden with statistics, but written with a pastors heart, Ranier uses story after story to demonstrate that people far from God are genuinely interested in knowing more about the God we serve and follow. Ranier justifies with hard evidence from the field that many are waiting for a warm friendship with a Christian or someone who is willing to share with them in order to move up in receptivity about Christ. This book is what I would call encouragement and reminder for many, as well as equipping the reader with an understanding of the unchurched that might be previously unknown. The insights will suprise you!

What I learned: The average profile of the unchurced was suprising, as well as the information about each stage of spirtitual receptivity, from the most antagonistic to the most ready to ask Jesus to be the leader and director of their lives.
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Format: Paperback
Purpose:

The Rainer research team has unveiled “faith” stages to help us understand and advance the cause of evangelism and show us how to apply this knowledge in reaching the lost for Christ.

Content:

The author presents the research results and divides the unchurched into five categories with definitions, illustrations, examples and explanations of each. He then shares the insights provided by the formerly unchurched and offers ten reasons we have not reached them. He concludes the book by offering suggestions for reaching the unchurched at their particular “faith stage”.

Analysis:

If you are going to obey the great commission this book can be a great help in understanding how to go about it in an effective way. It is full of helpful information and suggestions. We are told to become “fishers of men” and it seems logical to be familiar with the “fish” you are called to catch. This book will help.

Application:

Who will benefit?

Every believer will benefit from the research and suggestions found in this book.

How will it benefit?

It will help you understand the thinking and attitudes of the unchurched so you can identify their faith stage and effectively reach out to them with the gospel.

Where does it fit?

In the design development of your discipleship and evangelism ministry.

Aha Thought:

“We asked Mark why he finally attended a church.

‘Because Chad invited me,’ he responded bluntly.

‘Any other reasons?’ we asked.

‘Nope, just because I was invited.’
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