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Future Church: Seven Laws of Real Church Growth

What could go wrong with Murphy’s Law of Church Growth? 

Go make worship attendees, baptize them into small groups, and encourage them to serve in the Children’s Ministry.  (Adapted from Will Mancini in Future Church p. 15) 

Murphy 28:19-20 

A book report on the book Future Church that could change your future. 

The title of Will Mancini’s and Cory Hartman’s book Future Church: Seven Laws of Real Church is a bit misleading.  While Mancini outlines a compelling church growth plan for reaching the next generation, he also gives considerable time to exploring the past 80 years of church health and growth in North America to help us understand how Murphy’s Law has impacted churches and pastors everywhere. Ultimately, Mancini and Hartman give us a clarion call for the church’s future in our own backyards.

Before we consider the book itself, why should we listen to Mancini and Hartman much less read Future Church: 

  1. Experience. Mancini and Hartman have been in the church consulting business for more than 20 years and have written a collection of books that strengthen the mission and vision statements of thousands of churches. 
  1. Recommended. Many notable church leaders in North America recommend them, including Frazee, Hirsch, Greear, and Nieuwhof, just to get the list started. Ed Stetzer wrote the forward and thinks you should read it. 
  1. Humility.  These guys are humble. He confesses that his prior books, while well intended, missed the mark of helping the church make disciples that make disciples and fulfill the Great Commission.  Future Church is both a corrective alignment of that mistake and a desired prequel to his other books on Church Vision and Mission.   

Now to the content of the book itself…  

Future Church is packed with points, principles, and pictures to help church leaders repent of our addiction to Murphy 28:19-20. More importantly, the book is grounded and guided by Matthew 28:18-20. Mancini does not completely eschew the activities and aspirations of the church growth movement of the past 20 years. Still, he calls us to an Upper Room perspective and purpose of Disciple-making rooted in biblical principles and illustrated by real-life stories.    

He calls us to look beyond the engaging personalities, cool spaces, strategic programs, and beautiful people of the church world to the eternal purpose of the Kingdom. He pulls away from the assimilation models of box churches and into the multiplication models of factory churches.   

Chapter three is worth the price of the book. In it, Mancini analyzes two prevailing church models of the past twenty years and masterfully amalgamates them into a future for the next twenty years.  

  • The Program Church:  Organization without focused and intentional relational disciple-making. 
  • The House Church: Relational and intentional disciple-making without focused organization. 
  • The Future Church:  Organized and Focused Disciple-Making.   

Here are the blueprints of Future Church Disciple-Making Factory (Laws seem a bit presumptuous to me. However, we will stick with “laws” taken straight from the table of contents): 

  1. The Law of Mission: Real Church Growth Starts with a Culture of Mission, Not Worship. 
  1. The Law of Power: Real Church Growth is Powered by the Gospel, Not Relevance.  
  1. The Law of Love: Real Church Growth is Validated by Unity, Not Numbers.  
  1. The Law of Context: Real Church Growth is Local, Not Imported.  
  1. The Law of Development: Real Church Growth is about Growing People, Not Managing Programs.  
  1. The Law of Leadership: Real Church Growth is Led by Calling, Not Celebrity.  
  1. The Law of Vision: Real Church Growth is Energized by Shared Imagination, Not Share Preference.   

Why is it important to read: You, your elders, your deacons, your staff, and your disciples (wait . . . you are intentionally making disciples that make disciples, aren’t you) will be both confirmed and convicted by its contents. Additionally, if you and y’all put even some of the laws of Future Church into practice, you will strengthen the future of your church.  

Future Church is not just Gospel-Centered; it’s Gospel-Concentrated, which, if read and implemented, will lead to Gospel Circulation. Future Church is a journey and guide forward built upon the ancient pathways in the culture of the moment. Future Church sets to undo Murphy’s Law of Church Growth. Future Church is worth the read because it values the Great Commission.   

Rich graduated from both the United States Naval Academy and Dallas Theological Seminary. He served in the Marine Corps and has over 25 years of pastoral experience, serving as a senior pastor, church consultant, and church planter. Rich loves the church and loves that EveryEthne is on mission with the church. He serves as the lead catalyst for The Centurion Project which exists to network and equip the church to strengthen and support military leaders in their mission and the Great Commission.

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