“Change Your Church for the Good” Brad Powell

“Change your church for the Good” by Brad Powell

Of all the books that I have picked up and read this year about ministry and the church, this one was at the top of the list. I was amazed and impressed by the way the author not only told about the great things that are going on in his church but the challenges and mistakes they made along the way. I also loved how he talked about the transition that they took and that churches need to take to keep moving forward and to be connecting with what God is doing. Chapter 2 was great because he emphasized what the church should look like (taken from Acts) and what we need to do to get there.

The great point he made in the book was the idea that the church is not playing offence. That most churches are only playing defense (some are sitting on the bench). That most churches are just trying to keep people from leaving their church instead of trying to reach out and get new people to come to their church. He said, “If our main focus and worry is about people leaving, we are in a world of hurt. So we play defense, protect our territory, and compete with one another over the relatively few people we have in our church rather than going after the multitudes held captive by darkness.” He continues by saying, “We are fishing in each other’s half-empty goldfish bowls.” I would add that as the church we have become ‘keepers of an aquarium’ but we are called to be ‘fishers of men.’

Over the next few chapters he continues to talk about why the church is not working and how we as leaders need to be challenged in our faith. Every pastor in every church needs to read this book. I loved it and I highly suggest you read it as a staff.

“Change Your Church for the Good”

Brad Powell

Chapter 1: Failure was not final

I had been leading people to me…rather than to Him.

James 4:6

Chapter 2: Well Conceived

What the church is supposed to look like

  • Alive not Dead
  • Love not Hate
  • Forgiving not Condemning
  • Truth not Tradition
  • Freedom not Bondage
  • Acceptance not Rejection
  • Desire not Duty
  • Transformation not Modification
  • Authentic no Hypocritical: Timothy 3:5
  • Relevant not Irrelevant (The church is spending most of their time answering questions the world is not asking.)
  • People not Place
  • Relationships not Religion (The goal of the church is not that people fall in love with the church but that they fall in love with God)

Moses saw the same circumstance but unlike the others, he also saw the God that controls the circumstances.

Ex. 14:13-14

Chapter 3: Poorly Executed

If you are a believer, you are responsible for your church. God is holding you responsible.

Are you reflecting Jesus or Jonah?

Gods purpose is to seek and save the lost. If we care more about those temporary things than His clearly expressed eternal purpose, we’re reflecting Jonah and not Jesus.

Most churches are not playing offence. On the contrary, most churches are playing defense or worse..sitting on the bench. They’re trying to keep from leaving the faith and their churches rather than reaching out to new people.

If our main focus and worry is about people leaving, we’re in a world of hurt.

So We play defense, protect our territory, and compete with one another over the relatively few people we have in our churches rather then going after the multitudes held captive by darkness.

We are fishing in each other’s half-empty goldfish bowls instead of in the vast, untouched oceans filled with people.

Like a kid acting out scenes in adulthood. Like a little girl playing house or getting married. It might look similar buts it’s not the real thing. It’s not changing anyone. Just like our churches.

“We are called to be fishers of men and not keepers of an aquarium.”

Why is the church not working?

  • We have a heart problem (rev. 2:4)
  • We have a focus Problem
  • We have a faith problem
  • We are not speaking the language of the culture

If people are going to connect to God’s truth, they needed to hear it in a language they could genuinely understand.

The Primary problem facing the church today is the culture barrier. The church is not making sense to people because it’s not able to connect to them.

Chapter 4: It’s all in the Delivery

The Church must be relevant

Irrelevance is the compromise:

Relevance, speaking in the language of the culture, in no way compromises God’s truth.

Ambassador: Role of an ambassador is to learn the language and culture of the nations to which he or she is assigned.  As Christians, God in His word has called us to be ambassadors.

While the ambassador does not have to adopt the culture or beliefs of the country, he must understand the country, the culture, and the language in order to well represent his own nation.

If we do not communicate God’s truth in the language of our culture, we will fail to fulfill God’s expressed purpose for the church. This is the ultimate compromise.

The Church must learn to communicate God’s Truth I a relevant way. (4 major keys)

Key #1: Environment

Key #2: Style

It’s up to the strong mature Christ-followers to sacrifice for the lost, rather than the other way around.

Most churches are built around pleasing the mature Christians. Why? Because they are the ones doing the giving. But playing to the money, instead of the God given purpose of the church, kills the church every time.

Jesus gave and sacrificed Himself for those who gave Him nothing. The church must do the same.

Music: The style of music used in the church tells a person whether the message is relevant to them.

Some church member’s attitude; “If people want to come to our church, let them learn to like our music. Why should we have to use their music?”

Presentation: If we are not stimulating people visually, we’re not connecting with them.

Story: Most people learn more through stories then through lectures.

Passion: If it’s not worth getting excited about, it’s not worth attending.

Method of relating with people: Vertical style or Horizontal style

When vertical or authoritarian approach to life was carried into the church. Pastors tended to preach at people rather than talk to them.

Key #3: Language

I need to use the language of today.

Key #4: Need

We must never allow ourselves to love our way of doing ministry more than we love God and seeing lives changed.

Chapter 5: You gotta be crazy

About the Leadership

Chapter 6: Can’t do it alone

About the Leadership

Chapter 7: Give them the reason

When the church is significantly outdated and irrelevant, it loses its ability to influence people for Christ and eternity. Though it seems fine to the insiders, the outsider comes in and receives the message loud and clear: God is old, tired, dusty, and irrelevant. “If  this is what God is like,” they conclude, “Then I can’t relate to Him.”

Nehemiah: The City was broken down and a mess God’s people were living in squalor, and they didn’t even notice. They didn’t see the problem.

Not that people don’t care to change; they just don’t notice. (they are comfortable)

Chapter 8: Help them see in 4-D

“GREAT HERITAGE, GREAT FUTURE.”

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