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Transform your Church

Author: Paul Beasley-Murray
Published By: IVP (Leicester)
Pages: 215
Price: £8.99
ISBN: 1 84474 085 4

Reviewed by Author unknown.

This book started life as a series of weekly columns in the ‘Baptist Times’ relating to church life at the local level. These have been collected around six main themes - Ministry, Church Membership, Pastoral Care, Mission, Leadership and Sunday Services. Each of the original columns has been added to by developing or expanding its theme in an additional related piece for each chapter.

The pieces are vintage Beasley-Murray - practical, down-to-earth, pithy, relevant, honest, real, forged out of personal experience of ministry and rooted in a desire to help pastors and ministers in the business of leading the local church. There are some chapters where the reader will be challenged, as in the call to resist the temptation to seek a career path to lead bigger and better churches instead of nurturing and building a congregation (ch.6). Some will be considered provocative, as in the chapter describing occasions when he would marry divorcees in church (ch.17). Some might cause the reader to take a step back, as, for example, in the call to exercise church discipline (ch.11). And some will be seen as going too far - only twenty minutes for a sermon (ch.45)!

Whatever the reaction, no one will find these chapters dull. Although originally written with Baptist churches principally in view, there are lessons for church leaders of all denominations in these chapters. I wasn’t convinced that the inclusion of five different verses of Scripture at the end of each chapter for groups to consider and reflect on together would work or be used, but try it and see. A second edition of the book could profitably include some further resources, a booklist and some useful websites.

Some readers may want to read this book from start to finish, while others will dip into the different subjects as and when the need arises. Every reader will want to return to it again and again for its wise words, which, if they lead to action, will help to transform your church.

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You are reading Issue 38 of Ministry Today, published in November 2006.

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