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Friday, July 30, 2010

Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches from Growing: How Leaders Can Overcome Costly Mistakes by Geoff Surratt

 Geoff Surratt's Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches From Growing is an entertaining and informative read. Like I noted in the title, I am not a pastor (but I have been an active church member nearly all of my life), but I still found the book quite enjoyable.

Surratt's 10 things are:

* Trying to do it all
* Establishing the Wrong Role for the Pastor's Family
* Providing a Second-Rate Worship Experience
* Settling for Low Quality Children's Ministry
* Promoting Talent over Integrity
* Clinging to a Bad Location
* Copying Another Successful Church
* Favoring Discipline over Reconciliation
* Mixing Ministry and Business
* Letting Committees Steer the Ship

Surratt does come at things from a non-denominational perspective so some of these items were not particularly applicable to my Missouri Synod Lutheran church, but most were. I was able to note that our church does most of these things well, including just moving out of a bad location (too small) and not letting the pastors do it all.

Surratt fills his chapter with real-life examples of what not to do, including lots of his own (self-described) stupid mistakes. At the end of every chapter he interviews another successful pastor about the issues he just wrote about and gets a slightly different perspective. Surratt's humor carries the book and saves this from being a drudge of a to-do list and makes it a joy. For example where he is commenting on his lack of ability to counsel parishioners with their personal problems: "My natural response when people tell me their personal problems is, 'Wow, what are you going to do about that?' You'd be surprised at how few people find solace or direction in that kind of advice."

It's not all fun and games though. Surratt has some especially profound thoughts on seeing church as a family (kind of choked me up as I was listening to it using the Kindle text-to-speech mode while walking the dog - enough so that I read it to my wife when I got back from the walk).

Good, informative read. Deceptively light-hearted - you'll laugh and you'll think at the same time.

This book can be found on Amazon here: 
Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches from Growing: How Leaders Can Overcome Costly Mistakes

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on March 19, 2010.

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