Who Stole My Church?: What to Do When the Church You Love Tries to Enter the 21st Century

 
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Product Description

Has your Church been Hijacked?

Millions of people in their fifties, sixties, and seventies feel their churches have been hijacked by church-growth movements characterized by loud praise bands, constant PowerPoint presentations, and cavernous megachurches devoid of any personal touch. They are bewildered by the changes, and are dropping out after thirty, forty, or fifty years in a congregation. It's a crisis!

In this fictional story, pastor and author Gordon MacDonald uses topical examples and all-too-familiar characters to reassure readers that it is possible to embrace change, and to demonstrate how that change can actually be a positive influence in their church. The church, he says, has always been in a state of change; it has been changing for the last two thousand years. It is time to embrace that change and use it further the Kingdom of God

Customer Reviews:

  • Surprisingly good
    I love to read but I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I can say that I am pleasantly surprised at how easy this was to read and while written as fiction, the message is still the same and you can apply this to a church or any organization out there, times are changing and what some people valued is not valued by the younger generations and the church can die a slow death or embrace some change and move along with the 21st century. I believe there can be a happy medium...more info
  • Theologically Correct and Hermeneutically Sound
    MacDonald's book stands on good theology and good biblical interpretation. First, the church does not belong people. The church belongs to God and the responsibility to give leadership has been delegated to pastors/elders. Second, the book gives a clear distinction between cultural values and biblical values. Unfortunately, many believers confuse the issue. They equate their personal preferences with bibilcal imperatives. When this occurs, the believer will slip into legalism. The end result is that their preferences are more spiritual than other preferences. Third, MacDonald articulates that ministry style naturally changes over time. The Scripture is not a how to manual of ministry nuts and bolts. We find great latitude for structure and style in the epistles.

    I gave this book to a group of elders ranging in age from 44 to 75. They loved it and it allowed us to discuss necessary changes. I highly recommend the book....more info
  • Who Stole My Church-Spot On!
    I just finished reading Who Stole My Church? by Gordon MacDonald. I could hardly put it down. I was iritated that my ministry interrupted my reading. It seems as if MacDonald has been the fly on my wall. The development of his story of a "fictious" church (a premise I find hard to believe) trying to change and come into the 21st century without falling apart, was absolutely spot on. I could not wait to see how the characters would react to issues in the church and with each other. I know those people! I wish I had the skill to guide my congregation that MacDonald had with his "fictious" congregation. Praise God for his insights!...more info
  • Interesting and Unsettling
    Gordon MacDonald's book "Who Stole My Church?" is engaging and thought-provoking. When I first picked up the book, knowing MacDonald was an older pastor, I thought it was going to be a defense of the traditional church. Instead, MacDonald wrote the story of a fictitious church in transition, showing the conflicts and challenges that arise when churches move toward change. The fiction format definitely made the book worthwhile for me. If not for a story,even one that lacked great depth, I probably would not have finished the book.

    I honestly come away from the book still thinking about and weighing its conclusions. I wish generations could connect and communication in the church could happen like we see in this book, but I have rarely observed such things. I wonder if the changes we make in churches, if simply about worship styles or structure, will not just become another form of tradition. I wonder if accomodation to the community might sometimes obscure the gospel. The gospel is an offense to many. Is there no place for confronting sin, with the goal of redemption? Is there any place for a call to repentance, not from a spirit of self-righteousness, but from a genuine love for people? I am still wrestling with all of this in my own church context. It is not easy. MacDonald's book will give you much to think about along these lines, so it is a worthy read. ...more info
  • Sometimes churches need to be stolen
    This book is not a typical "how to" book but a "why" book put into a story format. In my opinion it hit's a home run. Too many times churches become stagnant because they don't want to change to the point making a newcomer or an un-churched feel unwelcome or so awkward they will never come back let alone experience the love of Christ.
    In today's culture where many do not know any Bible stories, why Christ died on the cross, or that God loves them so much that He gave His Son as an atonement for their sin. Oh yea, they also wouldn't know what "atonement" means.
    Many churches insist on speaking "Christianize", singing hymns that make no sense to an outsider thus the church keep shrinking then gets into financial trouble because there are not enough people to support it.
    If a church in today's culture is not looking for ways to bring in new believers they are missing the whole point - - to win the lost for Christ and make their congregants into fruit bearing Christians.
    If your church has become "lukewarm" and not seeking the lost you are not obeying God's commandment and commission. There are many ways to make your church a better church. This book gives some pointers on how a church could do it in a good story format.

    ...more info
  • Pastor Gordon Tries to Keep The Older Generation Onboard
    This is a fictional story where the author writes himself into the story as the pastor of a church struggling with change. The older members don't like all the powerpoints and the loud praise music with the same words and phrases robotically repeated. They don't appreciate the organ being turned off and put out of the way. They miss hearing the old hymns. They want to know "Who Stole My Church?"

    Pastor MacDonald convenes a Discovery Group with many of these older members. He discusses church history, the history of change within Christianity, and the need to modernize and update the way ministries are carried out.

    Gordon also does a good job of developing the characters around the table. John is a quiet, mysterious, long time church member with an explosive temper. Russ is a businessman estranged from his son. Win, Yvonne, and Lillian are some of the more outspoken members of the group. Clayton is dating someone, but is still grieving the loss of his wife.

    A fine job, and Macdonald brings the point home with clarity: The church belongs to God, and we need to reach out across generational lines and come together....more info
  • Good but with a fictional flaw
    MacDonald's book is a treatise on how individual congregations can best meet the needs of those around it under the extremely thin disguise of a story. There are characters and something of a plot, but it's mostly all a conceit for MacDonald to get his point across.

    The plot, if it can be called such, is this: MacDonald places himself as the pastor of a fictional church, one that recently had something of a set-back. The leadership tried to pass a series of changes to the way the church did things, only to have some of the oldest and most faithful members push back. MacDonald, rather than rail on them, suggests they meet to discuss the changes and why he feels they're necessary. The title comes from the plaintive cry of one of those members at that first meeting.

    If we're trying to judge this book as fiction, it falls flat. As a matter of fact, I'd even be tempted to say that this shouldn't be called a "novel" or a "story" or anything like it. It's more like a Platonic dialogue. The characters, while distinct, are foils for MacDonald. They eventually come around to enthusiastically see things his way. The only holdout is depicted as a reactionary and something of a jerk (more on why this bothers me in a bit).

    In terms of nonfiction, this book gave me a lot to think about. Lutherans (especially my kind) are a stubborn bunch. There's an old joke that goes, "How many Lutherans does it take to change a lightbulb?" "CHANGE!?!?!" We tell that amongst ourselves because it's true.

    But MacDonald makes a strong case that sometimes, change is not only necessary, it's healthy and good. Every congregation should take the time to reevaluate what they're doing at one time or another, if for no other reason than to make sure that everything is still working the way it should. That process may be painful, especially if people discover that something isn't working right, but then, it's sometimes necessary to go through "growing pains."

    But there is a problem with the way MacDonald presented his argument. Since he did so through a story, he could simply have all the characters come to agree with him in the end. They all become "enlightened" enough about his new, better way of doing things that they all fall in line and become enthusiastic for the new ways. The only person who doesn't is depicted in a very harsh light afterwards, so much so that MacDonald insinuates that he's almost an abusive husband and not really a Christian.

    That's unfortunate, because it leaves the impression that if you don't agree with MacDonald's analysis of how churches should adapt to the 21st century, you're somehow less of a Christian. I would strongly disagree with that assessment. It might have been better if some of his "discussion partners" had ended the journey unconvinced but willing to go along with it. Or better, if some of them made it clear that they still didn't like it, still thought he was wrong, but weren't going to leave the congregation. Simply put, MacDonald set himself up for everyone to pat him on the back for his keen insight.

    Had he presented his argument in a standard, non-fiction sort of way, people could evaluate his ideas and take them or leave them. Now, with the fictional story format, a person who doesn't quite buy his arguments is left with the impression that perhaps the problem isn't with the ideas, it's with them and their faith. Not cool.

    In spite of that, it's still an intriguing read. I can only hope that more people read it. For people of the younger generation, it's a good insight into the way the older generation thinks. For people of the older generation, it's an argument for why "We've always done it that way!" isn't a valid argument. And for pastors, it's defintiely food for thought about how we should conduct our various ministries.
    ...more info
  • good dealer
    Product was in perfect condition and delivered in a timely manner. I highly recommend this dealer...more info
  • Loved it... and it came at a time when we desperately needed it
    My husband and I co-pastor a church in a conservative denomination (you may see a review pop up from my husband when he remembers to do this) anyway...

    We are in a cycle of change and we must change and change has been going well for the past three years or so. We've successfully become outward focused instead of inward focused, we are intentional about how we set up our worship space, what we call things, how we welcome people and quickly engaging them into the family. Our church is in a low income neighborhood in one of the most expensive cities in America. We attract 95% men, mostly homeless or previously homeless and a great deal of current and former addicts of all kinds. A mostly male church is not a normal thing in America, infact most are heavier on the female folk and place emphasis on women's ministry and outreach. We have some women... I think I can name 10 or so. Most of our men are divorced or never married so few of the women are connected to any of the men in the congregation.

    Of the folks who come (male and female) most are completely previously unchurched and many others had negative experiences as young people and have been away from the church for a very long time.

    Enough of that...

    This book was phenomenal, fiction or not, because it brought to light what the older folks are thinking (we have a few of those) and what the younger people were thinking, how important is the name you call yourself as a church, etc. My husband and I bought one copy of this book when it came out and since we both wanted to read it right away he had to read it to me outloud so we could share it - which actually proved a great opportunity for both of us to share and discuss it (and turn off the television for the few days it took us to read this in the evenings). We have recommended this book to our pastor friends and those we know who are struggling with the church they attend but do not pastor. I have blogged about this book on Facebook, Xanga and Myspace because I believe it can be a great launching pad for the same kind of real discussion and possible rebirth for an older church the way the fictional story lays out. Please read this book!...more info
  • Great info but too narrow-minded
    I thouroughly enjoyed the book and found it interesting. It's easy reading, but with lots and lots of footnotes for both justification and for further reasding. The book contains lots of great history that is pertinent to how the church evolved into the church that exists today in many forms. If you're interested in the once and continuing reformation of the church, this is a book for you. The author raises great and valid questions about infant baptism, the office of clergy, and church architecture, among many other things. My primary objection is that the author seems to be on a fundamentalist streak of some sort, implying that the church must be as it once was in the very beginning. The implicity argument of the author is that if a church is diffrent than the first century church, that it's not as it should be. While the author has some great ideas and good points, he seems to be stuck in the first century and stuck in one was of doing church or being church. Overall though, I'd buy the book again just for the information and provocative suggestions that have a lot of integrity....more info
  • Excuses, excuses
    The first 20 pages hits the nail on the head on what my feelings are about my church. I do not like the new "praise music" with the praise band (7/11 songs~seven words sung over and over eleven times); the plaid shirt & Dockers my minister has now chosen to wear for Sunday worship; the enthusiastic traditional hymns I love are gone (occasionally a traditional song is sung but to a different tempo with guitar accompaniment); the choir sings to canned music while the big organ & grand piano sit silent; no longer do we have a Sunday evening service or a mid-week Bible Study/Prayer Meeting. All these things are clearly stated by the factious group of seniors in the book. Then the pastor gathers this small group of seniors together for a series of meetings to "solve" their concerns & frustrations. He kindly tells them they are "has beens", they will all be gone in about 15 years & it's time for the younger generations to assume responsibility~~get use to how things are~~times have changed. The needs of the older generation are of very little concern; they have been life long church leaders, prayer warriors, they have lived a full life walking with the Lord but now it's time for change at their expense. He gives excuses for the changes & attempts to lay a guilt trip on the hurting seniors for not joyously embracing the new changes. I want to leave church on Sunday feeling like I have contributed to the worship service plus feel like I have been fed/nourished/rejoiced but instead I feel empty/frustrated/hurt. I'm sure I'm not alone, this change is occuring all across America in just about every denomination. I know, "When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be", but in the meantime I'm still here on earth feeling empty when I leave church on Sunday morning. ...more info
  • What a wonderful experience!
    What a great way to show the face of the changing church in America today. I know we've struggled with many of these issues in my church. Reading this book has also given me a new perspective on what our pastors and staff are up against. Who Stole My Church was a great illustration of what CAN be done if people are willing to put aside (some of) their pride and work together for the greater good of the church and the glory of God. The format of the book makes you WANT to continue reading. It's uplifting, thoughtful, and sweet. I highly recommend it!...more info
  • Old people in churches: Change or Leave
    Actually I am a conservative younger person who is appalled by the church being taken over by praise teams and stupid repetitive choruses.

    The wise pastor in this fairy tale lovingly convinces his older congregants of the wisdom and love they will be showing by embracing the forms of worship preferred by people who are new Christians and have very little idea of doctrine and a low opinion of tradition.

    One by one, the older members of the church succumb to the laxity and moronic style of modern worship. The one older man who stands his ground is revealed to be abusive and apparently not a Christian.

    The only people to whom I would recommend this item are those who wish to fight the encroaching postmodernism that is invading our churches.

    And to those who would say that my calling it our/my church is disingenuous, I would say that this is common usage and someone will be running the church and I would just as soon it be someone who does it traditionally....more info
  • Hesitantly surprised
    I just finished, literally, just finished Gordon MacDonald's "Who stole my church?" (It's still warm) I was pleasantly surprised. I need to explain the title of this review before I go much further though...

    I'm a big MacDonald fan! I've read several of his books and have even bought copies to pass on to others. Here's the catch though, he writes "Christian living" books, along the lines of spiritual growth and maturity. He's an expert there. "Who Stole my Church?" on the other hand, in my 1st impression, was not going to be worthwhile. Why? Two reasons: #1. The dust cover looked eerily like a sample (read music "sampling") of Collins's book "Good to great" So, I was not interested as soon as I saw the cover; what I thought of as a cheesy similarity of Good to great.... #2. and more importantly, I was pretty sure that MacDonald wouldn't be any good at making the transition from books he's good/great at, that being non-fiction self-helpish genre, over to.... fiction. Yes, "Whole stole my Church?" is a fiction work. So 2 and 2 together, and I "wrote" off reading it.... (nice pun, huh?) I was wrong though. So why did I read it?

    Well, a future in-law of one of the college kids at NE who just happens to be in ministry recommended the book to me for certain reasons that aren't necessary to post about; so, I was open to the idea. I was doubtful of the book at first, ok, I was cynical of the book at first glance.... but when the book was recommended to me, and how it was, I immediately got on Amazon and ordered it...

    Would this be too corny to say, here's a book that should be required reading for all Christians? Well, I am from the Midwest and love cornfields... The book is powerful. I shouldn't of discounted the book off-handedly the way I originally did. The book tells a story from the perspective of the preacher of a congregation that is facing a time of transition, a time of worship wars, a time of generational perspectives that don't match up... Sound anything like the real world? It should, because I think the framework for the plot fits nearly every congregation that's at least 20 years old. New church plants won't relate well to the book, though I'd bet there'd be some pearl of wisdom, here and there, even new Church plants could glean....

    I won't spoil the plot. Let me say that the story gets rolling over a Sunday afternoon congregational meeting that blows up in a fight of sorts, and the morale of the Church is lower than low.

    The reasons I would recommend the book are multiple. While not exhaustive, here are a few of the gems in the book: It teaches us how the generations see each other, as in, not the same (duh). How to build consensus so as to introduce change and how to help people see change without being overwhelmed or too threatened. It raises the subject of the value of mentoring. It unpacks the inconsistency in the worship wars that many Churches are embroiled in; how all music was new at one time.... and, this books shows in a powerful way how conflict when handled in a mature way is healthy... If I were teaching a class to ministry students I would make it mandatory.... There's a ton of other team-building lessons that are woven though the narrative, and the need to be opening our eyes on how evangelism is nearly never going to happen when there's infighting going on...

    Oh, by the way, I did buy a copy of "Who stole my Church?" for a good friend of mine here at our Church. I'm looking forward to the conversations it will generate. And, I guess I need to email a thank you note to the one who recommended the book......more info
  • Change is not the problem
    Having come from a church wrecked by precisely the kind of change Gordon MacDonald describes in "Who Stole My Church?", what I found most insightful was the author's mindset, and in three ways. There's a fourth way -- how MacDonald unfairly frames the people opposed to change -- that other reviewers have cited. (And it's not just aging Baby Boomers who are concerned about what's happening in churches or who are adverse to forced change -- let's not forget the massive amount of change the Boomers brought to American society in the first place.)

    First, the pastor discovers in his weekly meetings that he doesn't really know the people of his congregation, and while he doesn't explicitly make the point, what he learns is that people don't resist change. That's something only consultants, and unfortunately a lot of church consultants, believe and teach to unsuspecting pastors and elder boards.

    What people resist is change being forced upon them, with no explanation, no communication, no understanding, and no opportunity to discuss, influence and pray about. "Don't tell the congregation what you're up to" was a church consulting tenet exposed in, all of places, the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. It was also a tenet that was steadfastly followed at my own church, with ultimately disatrous consequences.

    A second aspect of the author's thinking that bears consideration is church leaders embracing group-think: "We get it; the congregation doesn't." Convinced they're right ("We're the new Willow Creek for our city"), any question or concern is quashed. Group-think by leadership, particularly when it's accompanied by no communication, is what creates the conflict.

    The third aspect MacDonald accidentally reveals is the influence corporate restructuring and the vast secular literature about business change has had on the church. Quoting Peter Drucker is only a tiny indication. Citing S-curves is straight out the business consultants' handbooks. No one asks whether the philosophy and practices of business is appropriate for the church, because so many church leaders occupy influential positions in business.

    I'm glad I read "Who Stole My Church?". It helps me understand what is often going on the minds of many local church leaders when this kind of change is undertaken.
    ...more info
  • How to move your church into the future without losing the past
    Reviewed by Leslie Storey for RebeccasReads (5/08)

    Author Gordon MacDonald has been a pastor and author for 40+ years and is a former president of World Relief and currently serves as chairman. He also serves as editor-at-large for Leadership Journal. He has written several other books including "A Resilient Life," "The Life God Blesses," "Renewing Your Spiritual Passion," "Rebuilding Your Broken World," the best-seller "Ordering Your Private World," and "When Men Think Private Thoughts."

    While "Who Stole My Church?" is a non-fiction book, the author has fictionalized the subject making it much easier to read. This story is based on his experience as a pastor and the characters are those that you might find in your church sitting next to you each Sunday.

    This book addresses the ever-changing world and what churches (and really any organization) need to take into consideration in order to survive with the technological savvy younger generation without alienating the older generation. It can be tricky to convince those that are set in their ways that change is a good thing. The author is also able to pull in scripture to illustrate his points as well as ask questions of the older generation about things that they did that moved the church to make changes which may have met with resistance from their parents, but in the end was a good change to make and was accepted by their parents and the older generations at that time.

    Not all of the characters in the author's story embrace change and some rebel against it. However, many learn through the lessons taught by the pastor and by meeting the younger members of the church what inspires this generation and what motivates them to spread the word of God. This is what any church needs to do for continual growth and success, make sure it meets the needs of its congregation.

    I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did, and found myself relating the premise of the book not only to churches but really any organization. The dynamics are very interesting and I fall somewhere in the middle, liking some tradition but realizing we have to appeal to the younger generations to draw them into the church if we want to ensure that their spiritual needs are being met.

    "Who Stole My Church?" is recommended for anyone that wants to understand how to deal with change within a church and how to put the appropriate spin on that change so that everyone wins in the end....more info
  • Great book!
    Gordon MacDonald used fiction to make sure that Christians understand that the church has to be constantly changing in order to stay relevant. Great book!...more info
  • Who Stole My Church?
    This is a very informative book which helped me to see that the church has evolved throughout history. I now have a better understanding of why the church has had to change to meet the needs of the younger generation. This book met a real need by suggesting that the two generations should have a dialog to get a better understanding of each other's needs....more info
  • Great book
    I'm about half way through this book. Really enjoying it. Very thought provoking....more info
  • It's changing our church
    Outstanding book! It's as simple as this. God is literally using this book to bring healing and hope to our church. It's helping our Senior Adults understand the consequences of their stonewalling behavior towards change and helping our young people empathize with the pain of our Senior Adults. God is using it to change hearts in ways I have tried and failed. We are passing about 20 copies around to our people. Many have come up to me, their pastor, and asked, "Are you sure you didn't write this. This is our church exactly."

    Thank you Gordon MacDonald for speaking into the arena of church change in a way that people actually listen - a story - instead of facts, logic, and reason. God is bringing renewal to our 93 year old church. Thank God and Thank Gordon.
    ...more info
  • Disapointed
    When I purchased this book, I did not fully read what I was purchasing. I thought I was reading a book dealing with a major problem in America's churchs of older groups of those attending church being left out in the worship service. I thought it was just me, but learned from many mature Christians that many were disappointed in new church music, and many stopped going to church. The book is fiction and presented an idealistic approached to the subject. I will give the author high marks for trying. But the best approach is to realize we need the youth for the future of the church, but the older people are paying the bills (doesn't sound spiritual) and have spiritual needs also. Paul said, "I become all things to all men." This could have easier been applied to this nation wide problem in having a bit of worship music for everyone and not having to issue ear plugs becasue the music is to loud. God can hear just fine. Good try Mr. McDonald!...more info
  • A Superb Book On Change
    This book is a flowing narrative of the classic story of conflict in a congregation over change. The author writes a fictional account through personal experiences of being a minister for over forty years. The story resonates with reality. There are power struggles, control issues, dropouts, and healing, forgiveness, and unity. The power dealings with change in a church through the eyes of those who are against it. Most books about change are written by those seeking to change the church, while this book is written compassionately through the eyes of those who are hurt by change. The story ends well, unlike some real life accounts of complete disaster in congregations. Throughout the book the author provides methods and leadership styles that will help bring about unity and purpose within the congregation. This book is not dealing with the divisive methods of change agents, but if anyone who has gone through any type of change would realize, any change is always resisted within a congregational system. It seems the minister's job in a congregation is to change the church for the better, and unfortunately it seems that to some members of a congregation their role is to maintain the status quo even if the congregation is failing in God's desire to be a First century congregation. This is a great book....more info
  • A sensitive and well written appeal for change
    I could not put this book down and I am sharing it with the older members of our church who are working through just how things have changed. Although it is a novelization, I thought I recognized so many of the characters in the book and the tough times and triumphs of the fictional church. It is a sensitive and loving guide for those over 50 on how our churches must change in order to survive. It is also a wonderful witness to who the church really belongs to and what its real mission is.

    There are many guides to change but this is one of the most insightful on how change impacts the lives of people of faith. ...more info
  • Who Stole My Church?
    "Who Stole My Church: What to Do When the Church You Love Tries to Enter the 21st Century." Wow... was someone standing behind me when I expressed these exact sentiments? Gosh, what happened to the hymns? Better yet, what happened to the hymnals? What happened to the choir? What is all this multi-media stuff going on up on the screens? Ok, I see the words, but where is the music? Doesn't anyone sing in harmony anymore? What is all this "praise" stuff anyway? Guitars, drums, singers dressed in jeans (and even some with holes in them...). Where'd the organ go? And what is all this clapping and swaying to the music... who stole my church?

    This book really opened my eyes as to what is going on today in the church... and in the world. There are major changes happening in our younger generation. And I hate to say it, but I saw myself in this book and didn't really like what I found. I've been resisting all this change without even realizing how much I was distancing myself from the delightful younger generation... including my own family. Gordon MacDonald is right on with all the major events that are going on today. As he writes his book, he introduces us, chapter-by-chapter to the cast of characters. I guarantee that you will find yourself in one of them.

    The delightful outcome of this book is that it helps us all to understand the various generations, and how to appreciate our differences. The end result is that if we hold to past traditions in the church, we will lose today's children. They will soon be taking over, and their lives were nothing like our childhoods. They were not raised in the stable 40s and 50s (or earlier). It's a totally different world today.

    After reading this book, it was like a sudden "aha!" appeared. I now understand more of what is happening and have made the decision to switch from the more traditional service in our church to what I call the "praise" worship.... the contemporary blend. I don't want to feel "old"... I want to join the younger generation and get with it. They like to smile and be happy in church and not be so sullen and quiet. That can't be all bad...... ...more info
  • Helpful for anyone in a church that's struggling with change
    Who Stole My Church? is a book that's both the same as, and different from, other books on transitioning churches.

    That's not particularly helpful, so let me explain. It's the same as other books because it covers some of the same ground: changes in culture, life cycles of organizations, the history of musical innovation within the church, and the bell curve that divides people into innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. This is helpful information, but it's ubiquitous. But that's not the unique contribution of this book.

    Who Stole My Church? is different from any other book I've read on transitioning churches because it's a story, or parable, of real people who resist change in dialogue with an older pastor who leads them in processing what's happening. I said that they're real people, but I need to make it clear that this is a fictional book. But they're real in the sense that I've met every single one of them. In fact, sometimes I had to put this book down and shake my head. Was MacDonald spying on the church I pastor a few years ago? MacDonald writes as someone who knows how people struggle with change within a church. He's been there. I wish this book had been written ten years ago. As a work of fiction, it's very true to life.

    This book may help the late majority and laggards to understand why churches must contextualize, even though this is a painful process. I especially like it because it's written by someone in their peer group. Those who are struggling with change will recognize themselves in the book, and will also probably feel that they have been sympathetically portrayed.

    This book will also help pastors understand what's really happening as people react to change, and it may provide a model for both groups to come together and process what's happening.

    I really hope that pastors who are thinking of going into an established church to lead change read this book. It will give them an idea of what they're in for.

    Who Stole My Church? doesn't do everything. It doesn't help sort out what shouldn't change, and how much change is too much. It doesn't provide all the answers to what's faddish change versus significant change. It doesn't present a deep theology of the church, and it doesn't unpack all the resources of the gospel that will help us in the process. But it succeeds in what it sets out to do. It tells a story of a church that's struggling with change, helps both sides understand what's going on, and provides an example of how the resulting conflict could lead to greater health rather than disintegration. If you're in a church struggling with change, or thinking of pastoring one, you'll find this book helpful....more info
  • Must read for Pastors and Midlife Plus Adults
    My husband & I have recently launched a ministry working with and through midlife-plus adults. This book came at a perfect time. We thoroughly appreciated the story. With the demographics of our nation shifting to an older population - Who Stole My Church? - shows the value of being intergenerational in ministry focus. And let's hear it for Pastors who are willing to listen to concerns & frustrations of older adults, and through prayer and love, link the generations! So grateful this book was recommended to us.

    ...more info
  • Who Stole My Church finds an audience
    It's a magnificent reminder that the church belongs to God -- not man. It is a really good resource for churches experiencing growing pains. It's an admonishment that growth doesn't mean that you have to root older members out, but that they can and should be integral parts of the growth process. It's also a kick in the pants reminder of who true Christians are to minister to -- the lost....more info

 

 
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