Book Review: Essential Church
I just finished reading Essential Church by Thom Rainer and Sam Rainer. In this book Thom and Sam confront pastors, church leaders, and churches with the growing problem of people who have become “dechurched”. Dechurched meaning those who were once in church, but now are not a part of any church. The author’s premise for the book is that, “Young adults are likely to stay in the church if they see church as essential to their lives.”
In the first section of the book the authors look at the current situation of dropouts, specifically focusing on those between eighteen and twenty-two. Then, in the second section, they move on to churches that have been successful in keeping this age group and why they were successful in keeping them. The authors show that essential churches have four major components that help them keep people plugged in. These components are: 1) The church has learned to simplify. 2) The church moves its members to deepen their knowledge of God’s truths. 3) The church has high expectations of its members. 4) The church is committed to helping its members multiply spiritually.
I found this book very encouraging and challenging to me as a pastor on staff at a church. It encouraged me because I know that their are things that I can do to help students understand that church is essential to their everyday lives. It challenged me because I know that we have a long way to go in some areas. I thought this book was a great follow up to Simple Church, and I would recommend it to all pastors and church leaders that would like to see the back door closed and members who understand that church IS ESSENTIAL.