This wasn’t supposed to be my next book review, matter of fact I’ve already read the next #52in52 book and just needed to start the review. Then an email notification popped on my phone about this book and I needed to purchase it straight away. So here is the review for Unreasonable Churches by Rich Birch, have a read and purchase a copy as this book is sure to open your mind to more innovative ideas.
About the Author
Rich Birch has been involved in church leadership for over 20 years, and led one of the very first multisite churches in North America. I first came across him due to his popular website unSeminary. On there you will find great resources, podcasts and interviews. unSeminary also helped mould my ambitions for my local church #inspiring.
I was able to finish this book in one day, this was due to readability and the free time I had to read it. Rich Birch profiles the unreasonable churches really well, and added context by including brief accounts of their history and demographic . The inclusion of appropriate and in context scripture was an element I loved, as this is sadly not the case for a lot of christian literature. At the end of each chapter there were ‘questions to consider’ and ‘takeaway points to action on’, which I am sure will add to the reading experience if reading as part of a group.
Key Concept – Godly Innovation
‘Godly Innovation’ is not a term used in this book, but it is the best term I can think of to describe what I read. Innovation in churches can sometimes be driven by the wrong influences. For instance, some of the methods used for growth or to increase giving are taken straight from the business world. This was not the case with the Unreasonable Churches as their innovations were influenced by God. Birch showed that showed that each innovation was influenced by scripture, whilst showing the leader’s heart for God’s people and a desire to save the lost. This was especially true of Pastor Tim Day who has given away over 30 thousand books to help draw people closer to God. Which is amazing when you consider that the Christian books is a multi million dollar industry.
“Focusing on breadth, only reaching others for Christ, without feeding believers by going deep, will leave both sides sinking”
Favourite Chapter – Unreasonable Focus
This chapter focused on the importance of evangelism and discipleship being a dual focus, which is contrary to the popular belief that a church has to choose one. Rich Birch profiled Christ Community Church and their pastor Jim Nicodem, who believed churches should focus on both evangelism and discipleship. One example of how this was achieved was by changing the evangelism materials, these were amended in order build disciples not just draw people to church. I particularly liked the scrutiny of the songs sung at Christ Community Church by ensuring they were faith-shaping.
I really enjoyed this book, and I would definitely recommend it to those in senior leadership positions at churches. My only negative would be that I wish it was longer. However, I don’t think you should read this book on your own, rather it should be read as a group and each chapter discussed thoroughly. If read this way, I can guarantee you will get your monies worth. So get reading and start the process of making your church unreasonable. Whilst you’re doing that I’ll be praying that Rich Birch will be writing a part 2.
“Don’t imitate what they have done,rather pursue a path of innovation and try something totally new”
Click the link below to purchase your copy: