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From the Church & Ministry: Theory & Resources section

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The Great Evangelical Recession

6 Factors That Will Crash the American Church… and How to Prepare

by John S Dickerson

Jacket

Paperback
Price: £8.99
Publisher:Baker Books imprint of Baker Pub. from Lion
Published:February 2013
ISBN:978-0-801-01483-3
Review:
Ecclesiastical recession is real. John Dickerson brings breadth and depth insight to bear on the state of the American church. Dickerson has taken research from many experts. He has used the information to describe what is changing, why it is changing, and how to prepare for it.

What is refreshing about this is its principled commitment to deep truth-telling and analysis, yet offering engaging possiblities, solid hope and real strategies to stem the tide of loss.

In the first part of the book Dickerson identifies the six trends of decline.
Inflated: the church isn't as large as we have been told.
Bankrupt: donations are declining, the giving generation is dying.
Hated: cultural change is accelerating, we are in a post Christian age.
Dividing: the church is dividing over issues, reacting to the religious right.
Bleeding: we are losing the next generation, over half the kids born into the church are leaving.
Sputtering: the engine of discipleship making is not keeping pace with population growth.

In the second part, Dickerson casts visionary solutions for recovery.
Re-valuing: Holy Spirit.
Solvent: ministry funding.
Good: proactive ambassadors.
Uniting: evangelical unity.
Healing: discipleship.
Re-igniting: personal evangelism.

There is scripture, wisdom and inspiring to serve the flagging and faithless. I was particularly struck by the Pentecost impact of the early church beginning with 120 individuals empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Don't just read the first part of this, for it could discourage you, or just the second half, for it may have you idealistic beyond reality. Read all of it and engage fully with what applies to your context. All in all remembering that Christ is building His church, and nothing will prevail against that!

Dickerson brilliantly echoes the original mandate of King Jesus in restoring genuine, selfless discipleship to ignite a passionate faith.

Reviewer: Johnny Douglas   (25/04/13)
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