When Harry Reeder came to Pinelands Presbyterian Church in Miami, he got a stark warning during his first week from one of the church’s former pastors: “Well, I believe that church has the mark of Satan on it.” It had all the signs of a church where a funeral was more likely than a revival.
But a revival is what came. In three years, the church grew to more than 400 in attendance. More than half of that growth came from new believers. After that, he had a similar experience at Christ Covenant Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, leading the church from 38 members to more than 3,000 in regular attendance in 17 years.
From Embers to a Flame not only describes Breeder’s story of revitalization at these two locations, but it communicates the biblical principles behind God’s work in those situations. Breeder, a Presbyterian pastor, put his emphasis not on the growth of the church but on its health. He writes, “We should focus on the health of the church and let God take care of the growth. If you do it the other way around, you may end up with an unhealthy church that has a lot of people—one that may look successful statistically, but is not really pleasing to God or delivering transformed disciples serving Christ.”
Breeder does a great job unpacking a biblical pathway to health centered on the gospel, powered by prayer, and led through disciple-making. Any leader looking to turn around a dying church should consider reading the book and applying its principles.