Cover image for Church : an insider's look at how we do it
Church : an insider's look at how we do it
Stackhouse, John G. (John Gordon), 1960-
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
191 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


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BV600.3 .S73 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The following observations are offered to the rest of the church as the commendations and provocations of a loyal church member, not as the flatteries or insults of an outsider. They are offered in love-and exasperation, and longing, and even a bit of pique at times-in the hopes that the church somewhere, somehow, will be the better for them. -from the prefaceJohn Stackhouse's collection of short writings will be an invigorating reading experience for everyone, from pastors to laity, who loves the church in spite of its eccentricities and excesses. Heavily sprinkled with satire and wit, Church offers plenty of food for thought on topics such as worship, preaching, leadership, money, membership, literacy, and even summertime events (or the lack thereof). It is straightforward and practical, written by one of the keenest observers of the North American church scene.While Stackhouse is shameless about bringing both the good and the ugly to light in his provocative reflections, he is also shamelessly passionate about making the church an even better, more inviting, place to be.

Author Notes

John G. Stackhouse, is a professor of theology and culture at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author or editor of several books

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Spending time with someone who has an opinion about everything-and is willing to share it-can be agonizing. But if he hits the mark more often than not, it's bearable. And if he's clever and engaging and asks enough questions so that it appears he's not a know-it-all, but a know-a-lot, it can become downright enjoyable - like reading this book. A self-admitted "opinion-monger," Stackhouse has collected here dozens of short (two- to six-page) opinion essays on a wide range of church-related subjects, clumped together under broad rubrics: worship, preaching, leadership, fellowship, mission, etc. Instead of a sustained theological argument, he offers a bunch of smaller points; he opines, for example, about the scriptural mini-canons most folks use, misunderstandings of church membership and the tiny honoraria churches pay to clergy. Though he is an academic (a professor at Regent College and at the University of British Columbia), this book reflects the other hats he wears as an editor and journalist with Christianity Today and Books & Culture. The essays use all sorts of tricks to teach and cajole and persuade and entertain. For example, there is a hilarious tongue-in-cheek memo about making decisions to maximize efficiency in the church, and an "Actual Pastoral Job Description." Although the subtitle suggests that the book is for outsiders, it's insiders-those who know and love the church, and have strong opinions about it-who will most enjoy this book. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 9
Part 1 Worship
1 Music to Worship Byp. 15
2 Before You Leapp. 18
3 Some Musings after Sunday Dinnerp. 25
4 Temptation in the Gloryp. 28
Part 2 Preaching
5 Are There Any Questions?p. 33
6 I Have No Opinionp. 36
7 Tiny Bibles, Tiny Christiansp. 39
8 Less Is Morep. 41
9 You Never Know, Do You?p. 43
Part 3 Leadership
10 We Don't Care What You Thinkp. 47
11 Finding Out What People Thinkp. 50
12 Our Pastoral Brain Drainp. 54
13 Clergy Couragep. 57
14 Unholy Excusesp. 60
15 Beams First, Motes Laterp. 63
16 The Actual Pastoral Job Descriptionp. 66
17 Creativity and Pastoral Leadershipp. 69
Part 4 Fellowship
18 Are You a Member?p. 75
19 We Need More Argumentsp. 81
20 Hail to the Faithful!p. 87
21 Shaking Hands with a "Label"p. 90
22 Grunting Our Appreciation?p. 93
23 The Wo/men's Issuep. 95
24 An Ounce of Preventionp. 97
Part 5 Christian Education
25 Throw the Book at Themp. 103
26 If Your People Aren't Reading, Is It TV's Fault?p. 106
27 Reading on Purposep. 111
28 Just Two Is Just Finep. 115
Part 6 Revival/Renewal
29 Background to Blessingp. 119
30 Everybody Wants Revival and Renewal--Don't We?p. 123
Part 7 Denominations
31 What's in a Name?p. 133
32 Multi-denominationalismp. 143
Part 8 Money
33 Some Sacred Bottom-Line Thinkingp. 149
34 By Their Honoraria Ye Shall Know Themp. 152
35 Seven Deadly Signsp. 158
Part 9 Mission
36 One Does Not Equal Infinity, but One Is Infinitely More than Zerop. 169
37 No More Mr./Ms. Nice Guyp. 171
38 "WWJD?" Is the Wrong Questionp. 174
39 Spending Too Much on Those with Too Much?p. 177
40 Feminism Fatiguep. 180
41 Summertime Stupidityp. 183
42 The Importance of the Localp. 186