Monday, October 11, 2010

Book "Transforming Church in Rural America" by Shannon O'Dell

About the Book: Small church buildings dotting the countryside are home to ministries that often struggle with limited attendance, no money, and little expectation that change can revitalize their future. In Transforming Church in Rural America, Pastor Shannon O'Dell shares a powerful vision of relevance, possibility, and excellence for these small churches, or for any ministry that is stuck in a rural state of mind. The book reveals: how to generate growth through transformed lives; ways to create active evangelism in your community; no-cost solutions for staffing challenges, enhancing the worship experience, and inspiring volunteers. Focusing on vision, attitude, leadership, and innovation, you can learn the practical strategies and biblical guidance that helped to grow a church of 31 into a multi-campus church of several thousand, with a national and global outreach. Discover effective structure and ways to cast God-given vision so others can follow and make an impact. Experience the blueprint for transforming into effective, dynamic, and thriving churches - no matter where the location or how small it may be. What Church Leaders are saying . . . I'm captivated by Shannon's story, challenged by his witness, and moved by his resolve. As I read, I found myself turning the pages quickly and anticipating what was coming next. Shannon sounds a clear call for leaders of the church in rural America - but the principles translate to any leader trying to move a congregation toward life change in communities of all sizes. This is a rare book . . . one that I'll be buying several copies of to hand out to encourage pastors every chance I get. Tim Stevens, Executive Pastor at Granger Community Church Shannon O'Dell's passions for the rural church in America is contagious. The vision to see the small church reach multitudes through partnerships with other churches is a move of God, and Transforming Church in Rural America, is right on the wave of God's plan. Craig Groeschel, Senior Pastor of The lies about churches in the boonies echo loudly throughout the landscape of our culture. And too often, leaders believe them thinking success is reserved for places with big populations and bigger budgets. But in Transforming Church in Rural America, Shannon O'Dell confronts some of the most powerful and prominent of these lies head on . . . No matter what size church you are a part of, this book will challenge your traditional thinking, force you to look beyond the status quo and enable you to grasp a bigger vision of what God has in store for you ministry and your leadership. Ed Young, Pastor, Fellowship Church

About the Author: Shannon O'Dell passionately seeks to inspire his growing multicampus church to give God only the very best. Innovative, inspiring, and committed to reaching out to struggling churches in rural areas around the country and the world, he has served as senior pastor for Brand New Church in the small community of Bergman, AR for over six years. He is a former youth pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Del City, OK. He is married to wife Cindy, and the couple have four children.

My Review: This is a very inspiring book where the author clearly shows that God's call is stronger than the desire for human comfort and recognition. When his career as a pastor was about to turn into a "successful" one in a major church as a senior pastor, God told him to accept an offer as a pastor in a church in rural Arkansas. The "Beginnings" are described in first three chapters of the book. 
Through a very light style, the author describes all the problems he incurred while trying to transform the church and the lives of the people in the community. He goes through situations that sometimes are similar the ones we might encounter in big churches as well. His description of the "VALUE" (Vision, Attitude, Leadership, Understanding, Enduring Excellence), compose the core of the book and it is very well described and developed from chapters 4 to 8. In this book he provides suggestions on how to handle some situations and it is a valuable book to any pastor who wants to transform his church into a more dynamic one. The last two chapters are description of how they implemented their vision of the future.
This book was written by Shannon O'Dell in 2010 and published by Thomas Nelson and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Program. If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

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