Saturday, September 18, 2010

another review: transforming church in rural america

I meant to have more than just book reviews on this blog, I did. But i burned through my latest booksneeze book (wherein Thomas Nelson sends me free books covered in mucous if I write about them), and want to get my next one in the mail.

“Transforming Church in Rural America” is Shannon O’dell’s new book about his escapades in viewing the sticks as a mission field. In it, he basically says that We should not have to settle for mediochre, dying churches in Rural America.

He begins by describing common myths of rural churches, which is a fantastic essay in and of itself. Next, he talks about his church and how they have gone from being a small church to a multi-site megachurch using a clever acronym. This, primary part of the book is so-so. Finally, he encourages pastors to not settle for mediocrity.

Overall, the book is a decent enough read. it has moments of literary brilliance when he brings humorous personal examples into the story. Otherwise, the writing itself is okay. Conversational in tone, easy to understand, vanilla in style. Not unlike this review, the book is a straightforward read.


1) Lists- There are a huge number of bulleted lists, acronyms, pneumonic devices, etc. It’s like a giant sermon with dozens of memorable action points. The problem is that so many lists make any of them hard to remember.

B) Literature- Like i said, just okay writing. Decent enough content, but not memorable

iii. multi-site mixups- The big problem with this book is that the solution is the same as everywhere else: grow a bigger church. I appreciate his love for the rurals, but that does not mean a giant rural- based megachurch is the answer.

IV) the book tries to be too cute. hard to explain it any other way. Also, i disagree with much of the biblical interpretation that occurs in it.

While I don’t disagree with the premise, and loved parts, this book is just an “okay” overall score. Full disclosure: I received the book for free in exchange for this review

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