Skip to main content

The Blessed Church





The Blessed Church by Robert Morris

Robert Morris, Senior Pastor at Gateway Church which has over 20,000 in attendance tells his story in ministry in his new book entitled The Blessed Church.  I was wondering as you probably are as you take up this book, how in the world Gateway Church grow to be that large?  Part of the message of the book is Robert’s desire to elucidate some principles that have solidified his mission in helping to grow this church.  The book is divided up into 34 chapters ranging from roughly 3-8 pages a chapter.  The goal in writing is that ‘we might pastor churches that God blesses to be a blessing’ (15)!

Throughout the chapters in the book Robert provided a section called Keys to a Blessed Church that encapsulated some of his bigger concepts.  On p.40 Robert writes, “It’s okay to want to grow.  It’s part of the way God made us.  But we must always monitor our motives and attitudes.”  As the church was busting at the seams, Robert desired for more people to come and hear the life-changing message of the good news.  Yet, he also knew that just having more members for number’s sake would only lead to pride and conceit, something that was not his goal.  So, with a desire to see the church grow alongside a careful attention to the motives and attitudes of our hearts, growth is able to occur.  This truth is so hard to practice but very applicable to the everyday road of a pastor.

In the chapter on Writing the Vision, Robert tackles the subject of vision statements and how a church can carry out their primary vision.  For Gateway, Robert writes, “Early in Gateway’s life as a church, I asked the Lord to provide a positioning statement that would accurately and attractively present our heart to the community.  In response he gave me a simple expression of His heart: We’re all about people.   It remains our positioning statement to this day” (61).   Very early on the vision for Gateway church was meld into a vision for people.  In the next page, Robert includes the mission of Gateway which includes, ‘to see people saved, healed, set free, discipled, equipped, empowered, and serving in ministry’ (62).  What I think really resonates here is the active nature of the mission statement, one that has people engaged from beginning (saved) to serving in ministry.  Secondly, the vision is crystal clear as to how the process of should work of the maturation of Christians (from faith to healing, freedom to discipleship).  Although I think Robert would presume that God is the one who is at work with the church’s activity in this process,  I generally think a good vision includes some aspect of Christ and his work. 

Robert gives a stern warning to those who are false shepherds and to those who would seek to scatter the sheep.  He is right to say that, “The number-one way to spot a false shepherd is a pattern of scattering sheep” (78).  Church sizes get smaller and the pastor even encourages people not interested to go elsewhere.  The only critique I have here is what about faithful churches who remain planted firmly in the gospel but have a difficult time acquiring new members.  In our day and age many people will visit for a time but then vanish for various reasons.  Yet, I think that if a pastor is constantly pushing sheep away we need to be on guard of that ministry.

Overall, I think this book is good at telling the story of Gateway Church and what God can do to grow the church.   I have various disagreements with parts of the book but was encouraged by most chapters.  I hope this chapter builds a fire under pastors to continue the work of feeding the sheep and getting their  hands dirty in the work of God’s field

Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for the review copy of this book in exchange for review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Growing up with the NIV, the NKJV was not a bible I was familiar with.  This new NKJV Study Bible takes all of the features of the Thomas Nelson Study Bible and makes them better.  Right out of the box I noticed that the Bible was considerably lighter than most study bibles I have read.  Further, the text font was much larger than most study editions, although I’m not quite sure of the size. The aquamarine color was a great touch and the Bible was finely put together, enduring the wear of many coming years of use.
Why is this Bible worth the purchase?  First, the study notes were great for extra handling of particular confusing and messy areas of Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  Yet, the study notes aren’t an obstruction to the reading of the biblical text.  Clearly, the editors have taken great care in making the text stand out and the notes illuminate certain themes and areas of Scripture.  Second, the NKJV takes into account all t…