Had an opportunity this week to spend some time with Autopsy of a Deceased Church, Thom Rainer’s latest book. Prior to his work as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, he led The Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, from 1990 to 2005. The firm provided church health insights to over 500 churches and other organizations over that period.
Thom Rainer is a very respected researcher and a keen observer of church health. He’s also the author of twenty-four books, including Breakout Churches and Simple Church.
Using the format of last year’s best-seller I Am a Church Member, Autopsy of a Deceased Church is a very easy read with a powerful message. With an estimated 100,000 churches showing the signs of decline toward death, this is a book that’s going to help more than a few pastors and church leaders.
There are several things to love about Autopsy of a Deceased Church. First, it is the kind of book that can be passed out to staff and key leaders that they will actually read. Just 102 pages, it is easy reading.
Second, it is packed with insight and will grab the attention of teams from the opening pages. Many of the symptoms identified will keep church leaders up at night. Some of what Rainer points out will finally cause some to act and their action will be just in time.
Third, each chapter includes a set of provocative questions that should get the attention of teams. I can imagine the discussions these questions will produce! Along with the set of questions, every chapter includes a prayer commitment.
If you’re committed to the health of your church, Autopsy of a Deceased Church is a book you’ll want to pick up. I can see it having a very strong impact on the kinds of church leaders who truly care enough about their church to act on wise counsel.