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Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Review: "The Irresistible Church"

TITLE: The IRRESISTIBLE CHURCH - 12 Traits of a Church Heaven Applauds
AUTHOR: Wayne Cordeiro
PUBLISHER: Minneapolis, MN, Bethany House Publishers, 2011, (176 pages)

What makes a Church irresistible to heaven? Like iron filings that are attracted to a horse-shoe magnet, a Church that possesses these 12 traits will be irresistible to heaven, and subsequently to the community it is in. The author points out that the main audience is God in heaven, and that the book is not about making the church palatable to humans, but is lived primarily for God. The author describes an irresistible church as follows:

"An irresistible church is not a perfect church. Rather it is one that is constantly aligning itself to pleasing God. It is a people who position their hearts carefully and deliberately with the tenets of the kingdom so that God is pleased to work in unrestricted ways. God is irresistibly drawn to a church where every activity, every plan, and every leadership decision clearly displays His heart." (12)

The author hopes that the 12 traits proposed will accomplish all of the following:

"When an idea enters our head, it's called information.
When it touches our heart, it's called inspiration.
But when it bleeds out our toes and fingernails, it's called incarnation." (19)
The 12 Traits of an Irresistible Church

  1. An Irresistible Church Hungers for God;
  2. An Irresistible Church Remembers Who She Is;
  3. An Irresistible Church Lives Heart First;
  4. An Irresistible Church Practices Gratefulness;
  5. An Irresistible Church Promotes Healthy Relationships;
  6. An Irresistible Church Is Always Learning;
  7. An Irresistible Church Promotes Spiritual Self-Feeding;
  8. An Irresistible Church Connects Everything to a Soul;
  9. An Irresistible Church Chooses to Love;
  10. An Irresistible Church Takes Risks;
  11. An Irresistible Church Humbles Itself;
  12. An Irresistible Church Has a Plan.

My Comments

Unlike most how-to books which talk about techniques and various methods to get things done, Cordeiro focuses on bringing insight to the idea of an irresistible Church to God first, then to people. His formula is simply this:

Experience + Reflection = Insight;

There are 5 things I like about the book. Firstly, it has an enticing title. The idea of an 'irresistible church' is in itself 'irresistible.' A good book with solid content needs a way to draw people in. Boring titles do the book, the potential reader, the publisher, book distributors, as well as the author themselves a disservice. I feel that the title and the image of a magnet is a brilliant way to invite casual browsers to pick up this book to browse.

Secondly, the content is engaging. With each point made, the author weaves in his own stories, illustrations to demonstrate the point. This keeps the reader mentally awake, often looking for more.

Thirdly, it is enabling. For example, in Trait 8, Cordeiro helps us to link what we do to the big picture of what Church is about. 'Everything connects to a soul.' With great insight, he connects simple acts of service to the overall big picture of God's mission. I especially like the encouragement he gives to the volunteer setting up the sound system, and the woman volunteering in the nursery. I have no doubt that those people having given a fresh look at their contributions to the work in the Church, will be energized and recharged to do more.

Fourthly, it is encouraging. I have read many books that focuses on church-basing and people-smashing so much that after reading them, one feels drained and guilty to the point of despondency. This book is different. It is gently encouraging. One reads the book with many a 'Aha!" followed by encouraging 'Atta-boys." At the end of each chapter, the author ends with a promise, followed by an action step. It is a way of saying that there is hope. There is an opportunity to try again. And again. And again.

Fifthly, the book is enjoyable. The stories are nice. The quotes are captivating. The testimony is heartening. The main ideas in the book are well enforced with highlights reinforced throughout the chapters.

I like this book primarily because it is focused more on 'being church' rather than 'doing church.' He knows that busyness and frantic activities can easily drain a church. By orientating the church toward becoming pleasing to God first, we will naturally become irresistible to all. When one comes back to the basics of being the Church God wants, people will feel energized and charged up to be the irresistible church. Great book!

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

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