My thoughts on this book may not be popular review . In all honesty, I had a hard time reading this book. I did not agree with much of the ideas expressed.
Let me back up… I grew up in suburbia, attending a moderately sized Baptist Church just south of Atlanta. When my family moved to a northern, rural part of the state, we began attending a much smaller church, but I wouldn’t call it “rural” in the traditional sense of the word. I did, however, attend many of the “rural” churches in the area. You know the kind: one big room, a piano and a podium, seating for most (but not all), and a lot of loud preaching. When i set out on my own, I church hopped from moderate sized churches to mega churches and back to rural churches, finally landing in a moderate church that felt like I “belonged”. I have to admit, I was hurt, and did become somewhat jaded somewhere along the way.
It seems that if “transforming” and growing the rural churches is the main goal, then we are missing the point. Love the people. Teach them the ways of Jesus. Help to apply His teachings to our everyday lives today. Teach them how to love each other. Teach them how to love those that are not of the church.
That is the true transformation that really any church can benefit from. Some churches do this already, and do it well, but there’s always room for improvement. Until the day that we are transformed like Christ, then we can always step back and find better ways to let Him do the”transforming” in us.
There is a sweet charm to rural churches. In a photograph, they remind us of a simpler time. I think if we try, we really can have the best of both worlds. I do appreciate this kind of book and its potential in opening the dialog about change.