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The Purpose Driven Church

The Purpose Driven Church (Growth Without Compromising Your Message And Mission) by Rick Warren

I took this book off the Banner Cross Bookshelf when I was looking for a Bible study book. I was intrigued to find out how a church could grow from nothing to a congregation of over 10,000 people in fifteen years. It is a very good read and could help the church at Banner Cross focus on its ministry.

Rick starts with a history of Saddleback Church. He then goes on to debunk some of the myths about growing churches. He says that the church must offer people something they cannot get elsewhere. Asking people for commitment doesn’t turn people off: it is the way many churches ask for it. Never confuse methods with the message. The message must never change, but the methods must change with each new generation.

He talks about the different forces which drive a church, and concludes that the only important driver should be “purpose”. He says that absolutely nothing will revitalise a church faster than rediscovering its purpose.

Further chapters deal with why clear purposes are needed, defining the church’s purposes, communicating the church’s purposes, organising the church around its purposes and applying the church’s purposes.

Rick splits the composition of the church into five concentric circles of commitment. At the centre are the core members – lay ministers; next are the committed maturing members; then the members of the congregation; the crowd of regular attendees and finally the unchurched community. The goal of the church is to move people from the outer circle to the centre.

He also uses a baseball square to identify the stages people need to go through to get from the outer to the inner circle, and the training offered at each stage. The rest of the book is taken up with developing the processes to attract unchurched people to services and achieve the growth of people within the church.

Rick says that when designing a service it should be designed for a particular group i.e. a seeker sensitive service should be different to a member’s service. If you try to please everyone you will end up pleasing no one. He also places great emphasis on what is expected from members at each stage of their Christian journey. Members of his church have to sign a declaration before they can go on to the next stage.

Andrew Watchorn



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