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Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Pull" (Bob Franquiz)

TITLE: Pull: Making Your Church Magnetic
AUTHOR: Bob Franquiz
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2013, (192 pages).

Many churches grow stagnant and stale over time. They become unattractive and for some, a chore to go to. Without the "pull" factor, churches will decline and even go out of existence. A Church that is not growing is dying. A Church that is not doing outreach is not interested in growing. A Church that is not doing discipleship is not caring enough for her people. The key for any revival, any start of growth, and any fruits lies in learning to reach out the way that Jesus has taught us. Bob Franquiz, founding pastor of Miami's Calvary Fellowship, and founder of the Church growth website, ChurchNinja.com, is passionate about all things outreach. He believes that every Church must do outreach to three groups of people: Internal, Peripheral, and External. Very importantly, one needs to remember that there are no "silver bullet" solutions to this problem. It requires a multidimensional approach that galvanizes the entire Church to work together in the Great Commission.

The Internal group refers to people already attending faithfully the services each week. They are those who are already within the fold but needs constant nourishing and care. The primary way to feed them is via the pulpit ministry, discipleship, evangelism, and to make them eager to come to Church.

The Peripheral group refers to friends, family, new believers, and acquaintances with regular church attendees. This group needs to be sensitively reached through special Sunday events. For new believers, they can learn the 8 '-ates' to ensure that they are not left behind. The three "irrefutable laws of outreach" will empower members to know who they need to reach; how to reach them; and how to get their attention.

The External group refers to those outside the two categories above. They can be strangers, neighbours, or anyone walking into the Church. Through direct invitations, flyers, social media, and all kinds of media both online and offline, churches can rally their people to do outreach together.

Franquiz ends the book with the story of how a Pastor Willie who had never done promotional outreach, turned around to help his church reach the highest level of church attendance once outreach becomes a focus of ministry.

So What?

The underlying conviction in this book is that whatever is written must be practical. Whatever is practical must be practiced. Whatever that is practiced needs to be shared. Outreach is the key theme. Throughout the book, Franquiz lets his excitement about evangelism leads the way in reaching not just one group but all groups. He believes it is possible. This is critical because belief drives actions. Actions that are performed without much belief will gradually fall with a dull thud. The single biggest benefit is for me, is in recognizing the three groups of people to reach out to. Conventional understanding tends to see outreach as more for people out there. No, it needs to be as all-encompassing as possible. Sometimes, I like to call it "in-reach" for those within the Church, and "outreach" For those outside. The peripheral section may be somewhere between the two. Anyway, the idea is the same.

I appreciate the many examples and steps suggested to spur imagination and creativity. The part about digital evangelism is for me one of the highlights of the outreach explosion. Considering the explosive growth of social media, churches will need to see this more as an opportunity and to approach it with less fear and more faith. Let not the ills of social media discourage anyone from trying to use it rightly.

While there are many good points in the book, especially the easy to follow practical steps, I feel that Franquiz may have unwittingly become dogmatic about those who have not done anything to not write a book about it. While in many cases that is true, we need to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the different gifts given to different people. There will be some who have the gift of writing but someone else the gift of practicing. For example, Philip Yancey is a writer, but not all the things that he has written about is exactly something that he had personally practiced. Writers often put down what they have learned from others too. That said, this book has more positives to take home. It is a powerful adrenaline for outreach.

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Baker Books and Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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