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Left Behind in a Megachurch World: How God Works through Ordinary Churches [Hardcover]

By Ruth A. Tucker (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.8" Height: 1"
Weight:   0.965 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   May 31, 2006
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
ISBN  0801012694  
EAN  9780801012693  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
: Big things can come in small packages

What does "bigger is better" mean for churches? Are great things for God only taking place in larger congregations? Or have steady, smaller churches been quietly transforming lives all along?

After studying various smaller, "plateauing" churches from around the country, Ruth A. Tucker weaves together her interests in church growth and spiritual formation to show that smaller churches bear the greatest mantle for Christlikeness. Left Behind in a Megachurch World shatters the myth that only megachurches are leading the way for Jesus and shines a spotlight on ordinary churches doing extraordinary deeds.

Whether you're a pastor, ministry leader, or member of a smaller congregation, Tucker's unique writing will encourage and inspire you as it shows you how you can make a big impact for the kingdom of God.

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More About Ruth A. Tucker

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ruth A. Tucker (PhD, Northern Illinois University) has for more than three decades taught at colleges and seminaries, including Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Calvin Theological Seminary. She is the author of many books, including From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, Walking Away from Faith, and Parade of Faith: A Biographical History of the Christian Church. Tucker lives with her husband, John Worst, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ruth A. Tucker was born in 1945.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Left Behind in a Megachurch World: How God Works through Ordinary Churches  Mar 26, 2007
I enjoyed most of this book. I have been in both large churches and small churches and even in the large churches they are in essence small, because most of the members in a large church, just "go" and do not become involved with the Christian community. I have heard from folks who have come from large churches and some have said they are so impersonal and they are just a number. Some members are falling behind because they don't understand how to practice their faith or share their faith, but only become a 'spectator' just by warming a seat and what I've discovered in some large churches, some like to 'hide'because they've never been properly nurtured, because church was such a 'mystery'or mysterical place. Growing up in the small church and seeing it get 'normally' larger was exciting, yet it took years for it to grow and much work. Now, its like the spirit has left, or is it the 'people', or their committment and their understanding of their commitment and what faith is in order to practice ones faith? I understand this book, having been there, and I like some of its suggestions. I have an open mind and discerning Spirit and I see what its about. It emphasis that to be a follower of Jesus one must serve and be a servant, not just a spectator. We must, as Christians, as St. John says to "Love others as Christ loved us", with no strings attached. I borrowed this book from the seminary library, but I plan to buy for my personal library, for it has some good reflections and great stories which many "Ordinary" small churches and people of faith can utilize. Thank God for small favors!
Thoughtful, Well-Written Sour Grapes  May 17, 2006
Tucker's book is well done from a publishing perspective. It is interesting to read, filled with pertinent examples and citations, and has a ready market: ministers who feel most comfortable in smaller and declining congregations.

The promo on the book jacket tells the tale well: "Ruth A. Tucker weaves together her interests in church growth and spiritual formation to show that smaller churches bear the greatest mantle for Christlikeness." I think the statement is quite accurate concerning the nature of the book. The foundation of her argument is a weaving together of her interests as the wife of a small church pastor, a woman who felt shut out of pastoral opportunities due to gender, and a professor critiquing the action from the seminary classroom. The foundation of her argument is not research data, biblical theology, or personal achievement--though bits of this material are sprinkled in to add interest.

As the promo also indicates, the book does imply that growth and size are likely indicators of spiritual deficiency and that struggle and smallness are likely indicators of spiritual significance. I disagree with this perspective, but I can't fault the book for false advertising.

The main value I see in the book is the insight it provides to the mindset and emotions of ministers who have not seen as much fruitfulness as they might have hoped to see, especially how they view their colleagues. I do not believe that the book does justice to the qualities of health that are present in growing churches and movements and which, in fact, help them to grow. Nor do I believe that it offers convincing alternatives. The best example of a success story that Tucker endorses is a woman who built, from humble beginnings, a high-impact compassion ministry that channels thousands of people into a large number of house churches. It appears to support Tucker's ideal because it 1) started small, 2) is led by a woman, and 3) meets primarily in small groups. The irony of course is that the same story would work great at a church growth conference. Growth is not about the size you start or the size of any one gathering; it is about the reproduction of spiritual life--or, as Paul put it in 1 Cor. 9, reaching "as many as possible."

I would characterize the thesis of the book, but not its tone, as defensive and reactionary. I would not advocate for or against buying the book, but I sincerely hope that few will buy its point of view. The church in North America does not need to feel more comfortable and noble about its relative impotence. Where the exceptional congregations--large or small--are making more disciples of Jesus Christ, I say, May their tribe increase! (Of course, that increase might make it difficult to stay small now mightn't it?)

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