QUICK HIT: A must-read for any church leader, The More with Less Church is applicable whether you are a church of 20, 200, or 20,000. Hall, Bowman, and Machmer get right down to practical details, offering a goldmine of advice and resources.
I have a confession: I was sure this book was going to be boring. It was going to be filled with technical case studies, stats and numbers, with fairly academic writing and dispassionate conclusions.
I have since repented in sackcloth and ashes. Ok, so most of you probably won’t find The More with Less Church quite as thrilling as I did. You probably won’t read it in one day, as I did. You probably won’t make your wife drive to the store so you can read it in the car or then take it in the store with you as I did. But if you are in any way whatsoever involved in any form of church leadership, you need to read this book. And if you’re not, buy it and give it to your pastor. He’ll thank you.
At the heart of the book is the counter-intuitive message that less is more. Here are some the short attack points the authors build off of:
To accomplish more, do (and spend) less.
To reach more people, disband your evangelism committee
To increase unity, throw out your vision statement.
And there are many more. Some of these surprised me. Others, I’ve been protesting ever since I got into ministry. All of them are helpful, insightful, and absolutely correct (and often the opposite of the way church business runs).
The second half of the book deals a lot with building issues (when to build, when not to build, how to build, etc.). If you’re considering building a church, building on to a church, or reworking part of your church, this section needs to be highlighted, scribbled in, marked up, and everything else. Using a number of case studies, the authors go into detail about how to use space efficiently and in a way that draws people into the church and closer to each other.
Not a page went by that I wasn’t filing away some statement for future use. As a pastor, the practical side of the ministry is incredibly important. I don’t want the church (the building or the people) to get in the way of people coming to Jesus. I’ll be giving this to those on the elder board, beginning discussions about areas of potential improvement, and keeping this from and center on my pastoral ministries shelf for a long time to come.