In Anatomy of a Revived Church, Thom Rainer takes the opposite route on revitalization that many others take. Instead of focusing on where churches get off track, he centers on how they get back on.
The book begins and ends by laying out a chilling—but certainly accurate—assumption about churches that die. They are choosing to die. In between those two assertions, he lays out the choices of churches that are doing the opposite, the ones who are choosing to live
“In essence, the revived churches chose to live,” Rainer writes. “That choice was arduous. That choice was challenging. That choice was painstakingly slow at times. That choice was almost always painful. That choice required church members and leaders to put God and others before themselves. That choice was sacrificial. But in the final analysis, that choice was a choice of life.”
The book focuses on seven key attributes of churches that make this life-giving choice.
- They accept responsibility.
- They overcome the trap of traditions.
- They expand the scorecard.
- They commit to powerful prayer.
- They deal with toxins.
- They no longer seek silver bullets.
- They choose meaningful membership.
Rainer’s short book is easy to read. Each chapter is short and can be read in a single sitting. If you’re a part of a church that seems to be headed into decline, it’s a great book to hand out to other leaders. Both practical and clear, pastors and lay leaders alike will be able to apply its teaching to their churches.