Thursday, August 04, 2011

The U-Turn Church: New Direction for Health and Growth

The U-Turn Church: New Direction for Health and Growth

I recently was given a review copy of Kevin Harney and Bob Bouwer’s book, The U-Turn Church: New Direction for Health and Growth. I am always interested to look at books which speak of church renewal and health, especially ones where the authors are pastors who have worked in churches needing renewal.

Both Harney and Bouwer have been a part of exciting things in their churches, and it was encouraging to read how God has worked in their contexts. The book was filled with all the usual advice, get a crystal clear vision, make sure you focus on Biblical principles rather than personal preferences, take risks, unleash leaders. The ideas are not new, they just have different examples flowing from the experiences of the authors in their church settings.

As a pastor of a small rural church I found myself thinking that this book might be better suited to pastors of larger churches, and that’s probably true. But there was one section that I found very valuable - the power of prayer. The authors share some of their own personal stories and strategies for increasing and deepening prayer in their churches. There were practical applications, as well as a sense that no matter what you do, ultimately it is God who turns churches around. With this foundation for my reading of the book I was able to see it less as a formula or pattern, and more as a living testimony to the fact that God still uses the church to reach the world.

In my younger days I was always looking for that one book that would have the secret to developing a vibrant and vital church. As I have spent time in pastoring and in prayer, I have realized that the key is to deepen my relationship with Christ and to invite others to do the same. This book allowed me to celebrate God’s work in these two churches, as well as calling me to deepen my relationship with Jesus.

So if you’re looking for a won’t find it. If you want to hear how God has worked and be encouraged that He can work in your congregation as well...then this book is worth the read.

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.