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Book Review: “Autopsy of a Deceased Church” by Thom Rainer

by PastorMinton on February 2nd, 2015

Thom Rainer has another successful book on his hands. In this short book, he presents ten trends that ultimately lead to a congregation closing its doors. He also offers twelve suggestions for combating these trends at the end of the book.

Admittedly, Rainer is a Church Growth consultant. He is called in by struggling congregations to help them stop shrinking and start growing numerically. This book comes out of “autopsies” he has done for fourteen congregations that he had consulted for but still closed.

He begins the book with the admission that many of the fourteen congregations he knew would be closing their doors no matter what he said or did. He still worked with the congregations, but they still closed.

In the ten trends Rainer sees, I can think of many congregations that fall into a handful of the categories. It is a good book for any pastor or layman to read, especially those who are worried about the health of their own congregation.

As I said earlier, Rainer is a Church Growth consultant. His focus is primarily numerical growth. But he doesn’t throw his theology out the window. He is very mission-minded and several of the trends/symptoms of dying congregations involve a removal of missions from the congregation’s life and work.

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