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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book Review: "The U-Turn Church"

TITLE: The U-Turn Church - new directions for health and growth
AUTHORS: Kevin G. Harney & Bob Bouwer
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011, (210 pages).

The idea of a U-Turn essentially means moving from unhealthy to health, from stagnation to growth; from something aimlessness to purposefulness. It is no longer time to carry on business-as-usual for churches that are not growing. It is time to make a U-turn! This is the premise of the authors, that churches need to grow in terms of numbers as well as spiritual vitality.

What the Book is About

The authors guide the reader by firstly recognizing a need to change our current mode of doing church. This recognition comes about beginning with God, granting us holy zeal, a deep sense of urgency, a clear vision and continuing prayer. Without these it is not even possible to talk about any U-turns. In other words, before we can even make a U-turn, we need to know WHERE to U-turn from.

The second part of the book deals with the details of what a U-turn looks like. Churches need to U-turn by:
  • Moving from 'Personal Preferences' to 'Biblical preferences'
  • Recognizing at least 6 kinds of roadblocks impeding the unleashing of leaders in the Church
  • raising our expectations from low to high, in terms of seeking and doing God's will
  • developing a 'tough skin' against well-intentioned dragons, and retaining 'soft hearts' toward people, especially those who attack us, rightfully or wrongfully.
  • Adopting 6 holy risks (p136-141) and 8 principles (141-146)
  • outreach and evangelism
The third part of the book contains reminders that U-turns are to be constantly ongoing. This section is important, so that whatever good that has been done in the beginning and the middle will not be easily unraveled.

My Thoughts

This book is deceptively simple but contains many gems of wisdom harnessed from years of painful pastoral experience and joyous results of growth and vitality. Harney and Bouwer are generous with their examples, honest with their pain and disappointments, and passionately convicted that it is possible to U-Turn any Church toward health and growth. This is a necessary book for pastors looking for hope and encouragement. It is a vital book for leaders wanting to see real change in the Church. There is great stuff for cell group members to examine themselves using the exercises laid out in the book.

Use it in Bible studies. Use it at leadership seminars. Use it at preaching a sermon series. This book has wide applications, for Church work as well as personal growth.

Ratings: 4.25 stars of 5.


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

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