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Great Evangelical Recession, The: 6 Factors That Will Crash the American Church...and How to Prepare

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The American church is on the precipice of a spiritual recession. Our overall membership is shrinking. Young Christians are fleeing. Our donations are drying up. Political fervor is dividing us. Even as these crises eat at the church internally, the once friendly host culture of the United States is quickly turning hostile and antagonistic. How can we avoid a devastating collapse?

In The Great Evangelical Recession, award-winning journalist and pastor John Dickerson identifies ...

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The Great Evangelical Recession: 6 Factors That Will Crash the American Church...and How to Prepare

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The American church is on the precipice of a spiritual recession. Our overall membership is shrinking. Young Christians are fleeing. Our donations are drying up. Political fervor is dividing us. Even as these crises eat at the church internally, the once friendly host culture of the United States is quickly turning hostile and antagonistic. How can we avoid a devastating collapse?

In The Great Evangelical Recession, award-winning journalist and pastor John Dickerson identifies six factors that are radically eroding the American church and offers biblical solutions to prepare us for spiritual success, even in the face of alarming trends.

If you care about the state of the church in America, this is both your wake-up call and your road map to genuine hope.

"A brilliant book. A must-read for any Christian hoping to see their faith regain traction in a changing world."--Gabe Lyons, author, The Next Christians; founder, Q Ideas

"John Dickerson is that rarity among evangelicals--a journalist of the highest capacity, but more than that, an analyst of breadth, insight, and laser-sharp foresight. With persuasive force, his book portrays the future status and functioning of the church in a national culture that is alienated from Christianity. Few writers can gather, process, distill, and apply a host of facts with the precision of John Dickerson."--John McCandlish Phillips, veteran New York Times journalist and author

"An important book that every believer should not only read but heed."--Cal Thomas, USA Today columnist and Fox News personality

"John Dickerson has pulled together some sobering statistics and laid out a biblical game plan for dealing with the inevitable cultural changes that lie ahead. These aren't changes that might occur. They are changes that have occurred (the horse-is-already-out-of-the-barn-type changes). I would encourage every Christian leader to read, ponder, and consider the facts and the strategies John presents in The Great Evangelical Recession. It will help prepare you for the future."--Larry Osborne, pastor and author, North Coast Church, Vista CA

"Nobody likes getting a bad diagnosis--whether it's medical, financial, or spiritual. But once we get past the reality that things aren't the way we thought they were, we're actually in the best position to turn our circumstances around for the good. John Dickerson's workup on the health and welfare of the evangelical cause may jolt your spiritual senses, but he's followed it up with a prescription that will work. There's no gloom or doom in The Great Evangelical Recession--just an honest assessment of where we are and solid hope for what we need to do to get to where we need to be."--Dr. Tim Kimmel, author of Grace-Based Parenting and In Praise of Plan B

"The Great Evangelical Recession has gone a long way in contextualizing the plight of the church in today's culture. There is no question that the church has weakened over these last few decades, and before we can expect our Lord to bring healing and revitalization to its health, there must be a humble truthfulness to our condition. John Dickerson's work has served us well in bringing sense to what brought us to this point and providing honest reflection upon it. I believe we could once again see a dynamic and powerful witness to our world from believers honoring their Lord and bringing glory to their heavenly Father."--Dr. Darryl DelHousaye, president of Phoenix Seminary

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An investigative journalist and evangelical pastor, Dickerson is acerbic in his first book, identifying six alarming aspects of evangelical Christian decline in the United States. He asserts that the greater evangelical bloc has inflated its statistics, is going bankrupt, attracting hatred from society, dividing internally, losing young members, and sputtering in making new followers of Jesus. After addressing these pressing problems, he identifies six counter-measures to resurrect the movement. He suggests that re-valuing ministry for the 21st century; making churches financially solvent in a changing economy; doing good; uniting diverse streams of evangelicalism; and healing wounds by re-igniting individual discipleship will transform the current bleak landscape. While his facts may be accurate, he relies too heavily on only one or two research organizations. He takes a myopic view of Christianity in the U.S., equating Christianity as a whole with evangelicalism and neglecting minorities in favor of statistics on white evangelicals. Additionally, he makes too much of homosexuality, framing it as the cultural issue that evangelicals must address. While the latter half of the book is prudent and he has some good observations, it lacks even-handed ministerial insight. Agent: Wes Yoder (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801014833
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/15/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 307,782
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John S. Dickerson is senior pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Prescott, Arizona. An award-winning journalist, his work has earned dozens of honors, including one of the nation's highest, the Livingston Award for Young Journalists, given by Tom Brokaw and Charles Gibson. The Arizona Newspaper Association named Dickerson "Journalist of the Year" when he was just 24. John routinely publishes op-ed columns in some of the nation's largest newspapers and is a sought after speaker. He lives with his wife and children in Arizona
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Great Recession 11

Part 1 Six Trends of Decline

1 Inflated 21

2 Hated 37

3 Dividing 63

4 Bankrupt 81

5 Bleeding 97

6 Sputtering 109

Part 2 Six Solutions for Recovery

7 Re-Valuing 123

8 Good 133

9 Uniting 151

10 Solvent 167

11 Healing 181

12 Re-Igniting 201

Conclusion: The Moment of Decision 217

Appendix A "Is the Author's Church Declining? Maybe That's Why He's Pessimistic" 225

Appendix B "Aren't There Positive Things Happening in Evangelicalism, Too?" 227

Appendix C Defining "Evangelical" 229

Notes 233

Acknowledgments 247

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The sands are shifting. The times are changing. And like an ant

    The sands are shifting. The times are changing. And like an ant on the edge of a sand trap, the American Church can sense something is happening. Ask any observer of Evangelicalism -- inside the Church or out -- and you will hear some explanation for the problem. Some point to our own failings, and others point at the encroaching tide of secularism. It's our smug self-satisfaction, or it's the bold advance of the homosexual agenda. But something is wrong, and change is afoot.

    Although many recognize that times are changing, few see anything as dramatic as a recession on the Church's horizon. But this is exactly what author John S. Dickerson expects. His book "The Great Evangelical Recession" paints a stark picture of what the American Church will face in the next 20 years. Dickerson draws on his experience as a first-rate journalist as he uncovers six trends which together spell the end of church as we know it. And by the end of the first half of his book, the reader will be convinced that, whether we like it or not, change is coming. But Dickerson is more than just a journalist: he is also the senior pastor of a growing church in Arizona. He offers the Church six corresponding solutions to the big trends that are targeting us as Christians in the 21st Century. And while his solutions are not easy, they have the potential to transform the Church in ways that will enable it to stay true to its mission no matter how devastating the cultural changes may be.

    This is a well-written and eminently readable book. I found the premise both captivating and alarming. Dickerson marshals the evidence well and includes numerous vignettes that flesh out the abstract concepts under discussion. He displays a command of the literature analyzing evangelicalism, and is a true insider to the movement. His unique mix of journalist and pastor, positions him well to write this book. And his thoughts on a cure are spot on. I was struck by how simple and biblical they were, yet how practical and relevant. And these are no mere social theories. One can see that for the last several years, the author has been seeking to implement these very principles in his own church of five hundred.

    As more and more people flock to mega-churches of every variety, we are losing our ability to see the bigger picture. My church and yours may be growing, but small church after small church is folding. How many new converts to Christianity do you know? How many new disciples are in your congregation? Are you too busy with the latest Christian fad to notice the sputtering state of American Christianity?

    Many will miss Dickerson's message, and some will ignore it. I encourage you to pick up his book and think through it. You may disagree with some of his solutions, but you can't fault him for trying. This book is a valiant attempt to warn the Church of its coming dark days, and it isn't all doom and gloom. Dickerson presents a hope-filled view of the future that is tethered to the Biblical commission to make disciples. May we heed his message before it is too late!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    Insightful & Practical, Highly Recommend for leaders, teams

    The research in this book is solid, but what really sets it apart is the way it makes sense of the research. I especially enjoyed the "solutions" for dealing with ministry funding, retaining young Christians and responding to an increasingly sexual and immoral culture. This book makes sense of where the church is today--and how we can get to a better place.

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