Transforming Church in Rural America by Shannon O’Dell : A Review

Monday, October 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

Transforming Church in Rural AmericaTitle:Transforming Church in Rural America
Author: Shannon O’Dell
Published by : New Leaf Publishing Group/New Leaf Press (February 15, 2010)
Paperback: 200 pages

I live in India, I am not a Christian by religion and yet I have been reading Shannon O'Dell's book, "Transforming Church in Rural America". This book is enlightening and heart-warming read from start to finish. The author takes us on a journey from his early years as a youth pastor of a large church and then being asked to serve in Rural America. Living in this country, I do not know what the big fuss is about, but as I read through the pages, the picture becomes clearer and I am drawn into Shannon's experiences.

The book is a peak into the unique churches of rural America and the wonderfully complex people who fill the pews and the people who haven't yet set foot in church. Shannon addresses issues like the church's family dynasty, the "this-has-been-grandma's-pew-forever" mentality, sacred cows grazing in the church, lessons from a manure pile, changing rural church bylaws, and so on. There's even a satellite on top of a Hummer (but I'll leave that for you to read yourself when you get the book).

The negative that I take away from the book is the fact that I was left with the feeling (though I think Odell worked hard to not leave this feeling) that many will be led to think that Odell's way is the way to grow a rural church. It is not the only way, and I think Odell would want to state that quite loudly.

But one sentence really stood out for me - "Excellence does not cost a lot of money: it costs in time and vision." (p. 148)

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”