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Simple Church: Returning to God's Process for Making Disciples Hardcover – June 1, 2006
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About the Author
Thom S. Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, one of the largest Christian resource companies in the world. He is also a best-selling author and leading expert in the field of church research. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons and live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Eric Geiger serves as one of the Vice Presidents at LifeWay Christian Resources, leading the Resources Division. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including Creature of the Word and the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church.
Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.
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Top customer reviews
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Simple Church is filled with research, examples and actual churches that show the simple approach works! Don't misunderstand and think that "Simple" means easy. In ministry we deal with people which makes things messy but the approach proposed in this book works because it's what the N.T. church used.... a simple, uncluttered, but often uncomfortable approach.
I believe this book is a must have for every church planter and every pastor.
Like many church and business books there is a often a very good kernel that might be explained in a long article but instead it is expanded to book length.
What is here is good. The basic thesis is that churches that simplify and focus their disciple-making structure not only do a better job at creating disciples, are more effective and evangelism and are better at creating deep disciples.
The study and the corresponding study and graphs are pretty impressive. However, what I noticed is not that the authors are not correct in their reasoning (that simple churches are more effective), but that it only explains a portion of the success. A large group of churches are not simple and still doing well. And many simple church are also not doing well. So are the authors correct to suggest that on average many churches would be better off being more simple? Yes, does that explain it all? No.
The book argues well for structuring the process of discipleship in the local church, describing what such a process could look like, but intentionally avoiding "another church model".
Since the book is about the process of building disciples, it is surprising to see that there is little effort at defining what a disciple is. In the last chapter ("Becoming Simple") the authors state that the leadership should have "open discussions about what kind of disciples God is calling you to make". The implication is that God calls different churches to make different disciples. Surely something more can be said than that. Each chapter ends with discussion questions, but not once is it asked "What is a disciple?" A good point is made in the book that we should not be measuring discipleship by program attendance (called a vertical measure in the book; a horizontal measure instead is suggested based on how many people are at each stage of the defined process of building disciples. But since the authors indicated that each stage of the process should be associated with one program in the church, they too are merely looking at program measures, albeit fewer and from a different perspective. The book seems to equate the maturity of a disciple with the participation in various stages of the discipleship process. That appears to be a particularly simplistic way of measuring the discipleship of a group of persons. But when no definition of disciple is given, not much more can be done.
Overall the book challenges churches to think beyond an ever-increasing collection of uncoordinated programs that do not contribute to the development of disciples. For that it is well worth the read.
Most recent customer reviews
Simple Church is a very good and helpful book. It adds value not only to the individual reader but to The Church Christ died to redeem.Read more