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In 2006, few Americans were expecting the economy to collapse. Today the American church is in a similar position, on the precipice of a great spiritual recession. While we focus on a few large churches and dynamic leaders that are successful, the church's 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, our once friendly host culture 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 evangelicals for spiritual success, even in the face of alarming trends. This book is a heartfelt plea and call to the American church combining quality research, genuine hope, and practical application with the purpose of igniting the church toward a better future.
|Publisher:||Baker Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)|
About 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
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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is a must-read for church leaders and followers of Christ. It's pack with insightful information and data. I agree with this and know it's on target with biblical teaching.
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!
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.