This is a review of the book – Reveal: Where Are You? You can find also find more information about this book at the website. This book is a summary of the findings of a research conducted at Willow Creek and at other congregations about the spiritual growth of the individuals in the congregation. The book seeks to answer questions about effectiveness in ministry in the local church, the results of the research in this area, and suggested next steps for any local congregation. Two of the key themes that I found in this book are that activities or programs at church do not correlate with spiritual growth. Also, as one moves toward becoming a deeply committed Christian the importance of the local church in one’s continuing spiritual growth decreases.
I found this to be a fascinating and quick read. I finished it on the bus as we were traveling to Willow and Granger last month. I found it addressed one of the questions that I did not know that I had about ministry – how do you measure effectiveness? There is more to measuring spiritual growth than counting attendance at various activities.
Relevance and application for The United Methodist Church
I think that this book and results of the Reveal study have both relevance and application for The United Methodist Church. As a denomination, I have found that we are focused on creating programs to fulfill our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ. This book suggests that this is the wrong approach to our mission. I think that one possible application would be less of a focus on creating programs for local congregations and increase focus on recruiting and training leaders – ordained and non-ordained – for the local church. I believe that leadership and relationships will continue to become more important in making disciples of Jesus Christ than building and implementing programs.
Relevance and application for The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
I think that this book has relevance and application for Resurrection. As a congregation, we took part in the study and have used some of our specific results to shape our 2008 strategic objectives as a congregation. I found in this book a strong word for us, as we do have a lot of programs that seek to help people in their journey of knowing, loving and serving God. I do not think that these are ineffective for individuals at particular stages of their faith journey. However, I think that we could be more effective in equipping individuals as the move further along the journey of being deeply committed Christians.