Book Review: Who Broke My Church?

Who Broke My Church? 7 Proven Strategies for Renewal and Revival

by Kent R. Hunter

I don’t know where I got this book.  I’m sure that it’s a good book for someone, but not for me.  In fact, I went through and purged my Amazon wish-list of any books I’ve put on there over the last fifteen years that propose to help you transform your church from icky to successful.  It’s not that this isn’t a good desire (depending on how you define terms), but the reality is that none of these books seem to accomplish what they claim to.  Either that means that millions of people are reading them and then ignoring everything they say (which is completely possible!) or that what they say isn’t ultimately as guaranteed (“proven”) as they think it is.

This is an encouraging book in some ways.  The language is peppy, sprinkled liberally with quotable slogans and catch-phrases, and with ongoing references to other current writers on the Church or leadership or any number of other topics.  Perhaps it’s encouraging to people to read books like this, and perhaps there are people who have seen substantive change in their congregations as a result.  I just don’t know any of them personally.

Some of his insights are helpful, such as differentiating between being a servant or a volunteer.  Other things were less helpful, such as insisting that no church can survive or thrive unless they update everything to match what people in the larger culture expect.  Suggesting that Jesus came to model a new way of doing ministry is more than a stretch.  And  if you’re going to make that stretch, why is it that nobody ever advocates for a itinerant ministry model, since that’s how Jesus did it?

Read the Bible, and if you read it well enough and long enough the strategies that this author (or most any other author, frankly) advocates will be obvious enough.  Or they won’t be.  One thing I find interesting with reading the early Church Fathers is how little – as in not at all – they talk about growth strategies or evangelism programs.  They talk about unity, about believers committing themselves to one another.  But not about how to improve worship attendance.

Hmmmm….

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