July Book Review
Bill Easum and Bill Tenny-Brittian have teamed up to offer a new book that could ignite a new missional energy in our existing United Methodist churches. They both have a deep love for the “mainline” Protestant church, of which the UMC is one. Out of this love, they offer a provocative call with very practical suggestions that will stretch us out of our comfort zones in a way that could offer new life for stagnated churches. It also has implications for planting new churches and multi-siting. But it is really designed for existing churches to envision the power of the old Wesleyan small groups that where people’s lives are transformed. The book is called Dinosaurs to Rabbits: Turning Mainline Decline to a Multiplication Movement (2018). The bold call is to develop a mindset of multiplication (instead of addition, let alone survival). The book is chock-full of provocative ideas, and I do not believe we have to agree with all of it in order to benefit from the overall vision. One way to summarize the book is to share what it proposes to put on a church’s scorecard, or how to measure effectiveness. The criteria are (p. 41): (1) How many new Christians (i.e., adult baptisms) do we have this year? (2) How many disciples (i.e., people who are learning the “Jesus trade”) do we have this year? (3) How many people do we have who are being mentored to be neighborhood missionaries this year? (4) How many people are we sending out to connect with lost people this year?
I encourage every pastor to get this book, read it, and strongly consider sharing it with a group of people in the congregation who will be inspired by its vision.