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From Embers to a Flame: How God Can Revitalize Your Church [Paperback]

From Embers to a Flame: How God Can Revitalize Your Church [Paperback]

By III Reeder Harry L. (Author) & David Swavely (Author)
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Item Number 109283  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   217
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.4" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.4"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 30, 2005
Publisher   P & R Publishing
ISBN  1596380462  
EAN  9781596380462  

Availability  0 units.

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From Embers to a Flame: How God Can Revitalize Your Church by Harry L., III Reeder

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A biblical and practical guide for church revitalization  May 15, 2008
I have dozens of books on church revitalization. They range from trendy and shallow to not bad, but few of them are really good. That's why I am glad to have found From Embers to a Flame: How God Can Revitalize Your Church. This book manages to be both biblically grounded and practical, and is a useful guide for church leaders who would like to see their churches transformed.

The author, Harry L. Reeder III, first makes a case for why church revitalization is necessary. This is important because revitalization is sometimes ignored in favor of church planting, leaving pastors in struggling churches wondering if it's worth it. Reeder then offers a paradigm for revitalization based on the church in Ephesus, which he traces through Acts, the pastoral epistles, and from Revelation 2. Reeder describes ten strategies that fall under three categories: remember, repent, and recover the first things.

While some may find ten strategies or steps to be signs of yet another pragmatic book focused on methodology, these strategies go deeper than many I've read. I'm glad he emphasizes the importance of connecting with the past, and acknowledging and repenting of corporate sins. His focus on gospel-driven and Christ-centered ministry is also welcome and necessary. Reeder writes, "Since the gospel is such an important, powerful, and life-changing message, it should be the center of everything we do in the church of Jesus Christ." Although this should be obvious, it's often ignored. Reeder also emphasizes the importance of biblical preaching, since God uses his Word to change the hearts of people.

Reeder also covers other matters that sometimes come too early: mission and vision, the multiplication of servant leaders, small group discipleship, and evangelism.

Reeder concludes, "The church you pastor may not be a flame bringing light and heat, but I know that its embers can be stirred up - not through gimmicks, programs, or personalities, but through godly leadership to a biblical paradigm of church revitalization." It is this emphasis that I appreciate most. If you're in a church that needs revitalization, I highly recommend this book.
From Embers to a Flame  Feb 23, 2008
I purchased this book for the express purpose of benefiting from the perspective of someone with experience of turning churches around and re-focusing on the Gospel, and the steps/processes involved, but also someone that I actually respected their theological background, being a Reformed Christian. I found it in this book and wasn't disapointed. Harry Reeder was educated at Westminster Theological Seminary, and Reformed Theological Seminary, and has pastored several Presbyterian churches in a diversity of areas, some of which had some serious problems.

I will tell what this book is NOT. It isn't a seeker-centered approach to church growth. Its not even a list of "sure-fire" tactics or strategies. Its not "innovative" in any regard. But this book IS clear refresher on the very principles of what made the first century church successful in its mission, why those methods and principles are still needed today, and points out many ways that we deviate from and forsake those God-given principles in many churches today.
The model the author offers here is "Remember, Repent, Recover"; that is, to "Remember" what the church was like at its most glorious days and what the church was doing when it seemed to be accomplishing its mission in the world as to connect future vision to the historical roots of the church, to "repent" of past wrongs unto the Lord and others, due to everything from faulty leadership, ungodly living among the congregation and lack of church disipline, to losing the zeal and passion that marked the most successful days of a church in the past, and most importantly, to "recover" the Gospel in its integrity and honestly pursue it in the church.

He also focuses and expounds upon the foundational aspects of a Godly church such as understanding Grace, Intercessory Prayer, The Primacy of Preaching, and Staying on Mission with a Vision.

There is some excellent pastoral advice from Reeder as he recounts coming to his first church as a young seminary grad and was overwhelmed by the clear problems present there. I particularly enjoyed the first hand experience Reeder offers here. Above all I value the sage-like advice Reeder dispenses like the fact that church health should be focused on, rather than growth, because "if a church IS healthy then it WILL grow", and that churches should "gather to worship, and scatter to evangelize".

This not a definitive manual by any means, but it is an excellent start in seeking ways to revitalize a church and its from a solid perspective very grounded in the Bible (the book abounds with scripture quotes). Its very easy to read, I am a layman and blew through it in a weekend so to me theres no excuse for pastors and elders NOT to read it, and its a must for new pastors who are inheriting their first church.
A good exposition on the importance of church revitilization  Aug 25, 2006
It is common practice in today's organizational structures to create metrics; things by which success of agreed upon goals can be met. The nature of the church as a spiritual body, concerned with often-unseen results makes the development of measuring metrics difficult if not impossible. Presbyterian pastor, Harry Reeder, in From Embers to a Flame, is concerned with showing the church leader what the church can do to achieve its mission; but shows that the metrics for the church are best measured not by particular achievements, but by always coming back to where the church draws its strength. Building success in the church is always linked to the concept of returning to a Biblical source. Innovations come and go, and can be important as tools, but a living church is always marked by how close it is to its source.

In today's Western world, much of the church has slowed not only in numerical growth, but in drifting away from its mission. Even in conservative churches, it is not uncommon for needs other than centering the congregation on grace, or evangelizing and serving the community to be addressed. Sick churches, with focuses on personalities and programs (the seen things) often lose the heart for the gospel that grew them in the first place. Revitalizing a dying church body forces the members to be active and to take ownership of the ministry that the whole body has been called to. When a church gets to the point where a pastor must be the one who leads, but does the work; then there has been a terrible disconnect among the membership and the pastorate about the necessity of communal ministry.

Reeder's solution is one of remembrance and repentance. His emphais is to point out how a lack of vision can be deadly for future endeavors, but so is a lack of perspective about the past. Any church that believes its history began 50 to 100 years ago when the body was first organized has at best a myopic view of its past. It must see the wide scope of church history, the great cloud of witnesses who teach truth from their graves. The long gone must infect zeal towards those who are among the living dead. Repentance of the past and desires for future man-centered ministry must be done away with. No body can survive unless it is honest about the information it gathers about itself.
Church revitalization, a major concern for Reeder, always begins with the ending and beginning of the Christian faith in refreshing people in the gospel. It is impossible for an effective ministry to operate; from ruling to teaching elder to deacon, unless those charged with leadership know the Bible and how to apply it to the specific needs of their people.

Reeder's purpose in this book, to encourage and motivate Christians for the work of revitalizing dwindling and lethargic congregations, is done through reminding those who desire to revitalize their churches what their first principles are. The metrics for church revitalization are not necessarily accomplished through visible achievements, like new structures, programs or large numbers of people, but more actively accomplished through increased faith by congregations that shows itself in visible actions towards each other and the surrounding community.

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