Churches are dying every day. That isn’t news you’ll read in the latest issue of Time, national or local newspapers but the fact is many churches are dying every day. Many pastors are leaving the ministry every month and every year. What is the Church to do? Should we give up and close our doors? These are difficult questions and difficult issues to address. Thankfully Dr. Thom Rainer an experienced Pastor, researcher and popular author and blogger has written Autospy of a Deceased Church 12 Ways To Keep Yours Alive to help Christians think through these and other issues.
I’ve spent my entire life in the Pacific Northwest, specifically the majority of it in Washington State (26 years) and almost seven years now in Idaho. During this time, I’ve seen many churches close their doors for a variety of reasons but the biggest one has been because of failing to heed to biblical orthodoxy and proclaim the gospel. In his book Dr. Rainer looks at the slow erosion that occurs as churches grow older and move away from the gospel, the past as a hero, local churches refusing to reach out to the community, budget issues, churches that focus on preferences, failing to keep the pastor long term, a lack of prayer, no clear process and facility issues in part one of the book. In the final section of the book the author looks at hope for churches that are dying.
While the tone of the book is sober, it is also hope filled. The book not only diagnoses the problem of dying church but points to the solution in Jesus Christ. Reading about local churches dying was painful for me. Painful because I love the local church and God’s people and desire to see them growing and healthy. Yet, the reality is churches are dying around us or declining at a rapid rate for a variety of reasons as the author of this book notes. With that said the mission of God continues on unstopped as a generation of those unashamed of the gospel proclaim the glories of the gospel to the praise of Jesus and the spread of His fame to the nations. Whether you are a pastor, church planter, seminary student or a concerned lay person, I encourage you to read Autopsy of a Deceased Church 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive, because it is a book that will help you to not only understand why local church’s are dying but also why the local church is the hope of the world with Jesus as its Captain and Chief Shepherd. It is because of Jesus that the Church will never die out, and because of that—that His church continues on growing, expanding and even being pruned that it may bear fruit pleasing to Jesus for His glory.
Author: Thom Rainer
Publisher: B&H (2014)
I received this for free from B&H book review program for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and is the Host for the Equipping You in Grace Podcast. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Parler, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.