When Does Transformation Happen?
By Ed Stetzer
Transformational Church is not another book about church. It is a book about what God is doing in the church. It is a movement calling for a new scorecard for the church.
It is about hope for God's plan to use ordinary people set apart by a passionate love for Him and His mission to the world.
Transformational Church (coauthored by Thom Rainer and me) is not another book, written by people who are "fed-up" with church. Based on some of the most extensive research ever done on the church in America, we have seen our hope renewed for the church.
We heard amazing stories of new life in churches and hope restored to congregations who were desperate for God's presence.
In the book, we wrote: "The majority of churches are struggling to make a transformational impact on people and communities. But we found something exciting woven throughout the research results. There are gleams of light in the shadows. We hear a hopeful sound coming from some churches across North America. The Transformational Churches we found are the bearers of hope for our church leaders and all believers."
The journey that has begun in many churches, through reading the book, studying the material, and participating in an assessment process, is producing transformation in lives and communities.
The stories in the book are focused on God's intervention in local communities through His work in these churches. Beginning with a biblical foundation and learning from the principles discovered through the research, I hope you will embrace two incredibly biblical ideas.
Incredibly Biblical Idea #1: Transformation. This is what happens when God gets a hold of the life of an everyday person. He transforms them with the gospel. Every thought and action begins to change. Values and attitudes change, and people notice. They change from living for self to dying to self. Soon life's priority is on the mission of Christ.
Incredibly Biblical Idea #2: The Local Church. I believe in the church, because I am believer in her Lord. It is the gathering of transformed people to hear the gospel, worship, and then scatter to participate in God's mission. The church is God's chosen instrument to spread the gospel. It is His people engaged in His mission to carry His message into their culture and every culture. The local church is not an antiquated idea, but it is a necessity in our day.
When these two words—transformation and church—are combined using God's perspective and involvement on them both, then you have something even more compelling. That is what happened when we discovered the principles included in Transformational Church.
Surveying thousands of churches in hundreds of communities from various sizes and denominations, we encountered a wide diversity among congregations. But even in the diversity, a clear pattern emerged about the elements necessary for a church to deliver transformation. Imagine what it would be like if God birthed new hope within the lives of those who lead and follow in your local church.
Imagine that amazing stories became common and communities were changed. Imagine if people in church were awakened by the activity of God through them that defied human explanation.
Transformational Church can aid you to move from imagining to seeing it as a reality.
(Stetzer is coauthor with Rainer of the Transformational Church: Creating a New Scorecard for Congregations, Nashville, B&H Publishing Group, 2010.)
Return to Transformational Church