Breakout Churches by Thom Rainer

I picked this book up for very obvious reasons.  The story follows churches that were in continual decline for a number of years and then under the same pastoral leadership turned around and saw significant continual growth.  Rainer and his team study 13 churches.  Admittedly the team was surprised that only 13 churches fit the criteria of being a break out church.  After spending considerable time attempting to locate churches which fit the criteria they struggled to find 13.  Rainer admits that the principles presented cannot be viewed as a “magic solution” to transform a stagnant church because God cannot be manipulated.  The team sadly discovered that for a stagnant church to become a break out church it came at a great price.  The pastoral leadership of these churches paid a high price physically and emotionally.  There was a great deal of resistance and spiritual warfare involved in the transformation process.

In the end of the book showed the fruit of a few pastors who were willing to pay a high price to lead mediocre churches to become what God saved them to become.  It is sad that the reason for the churches become mediocre in the first place was apathy and selfishness.  Praise God for the few that have changed.  I would highly recommend the book.  It is not a magic solution.  Yet, there is some valuable information here.  It debunks a lot of the proposals that church growth literature promotes as essentials.  A valuable work.

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