Saturday, October 18, 2008

Book Review: Sticky Church

I knew I wanted to read Larry Osborne's new book Sticky Church as soon as I read the title. I would guess that that every pastor and every church has wrestled with the question about how to get people who visit their church to not only stay but how to get them connected. As Osborne points out we've tried just about everything but we still see too many of our people leaving through the back door.

The solution for Osborne and the folks at North Coast Church was to help people "stick" by getting them to be a part of their small group ministry. But the small groups at NCC were not your typical Bible study group or multiplying cell group. Osborne details the process that led him and his ministry team to focus on Sermon based small groups. As a result, those involved in small groups at NCC were given an opportunity to make application from what they heard the previous Sunday in the context of encouraging, accountable relationships.

I found Osborne's book to be extremely helpful in developing my own vision and strategy for ministry but probably not in the way Osborne would have imagined when writing this book. I pastor a rural church where we don't have small groups--we are a small group. I found many of Osborne's comments and principles to be very relevant to our situation and the ministry we are trusting God to develop. Osborne covers everything from preaching, to church health, to relationships, and leadership training. I imagine the principles I gleaned will be most beneficial to the way I give leadership to the local church.

My copy of Sticky Church is now marked up and well worn. My goal now is to go back through the book so I can process again the principles Osborne has shared. Let me share one principle that I found worth the price of the book (although thanks to the good folks at Zondervan I was given this copy to review for free!)

Just recently my kids have discover the joy of Legos, a toy that was a favorite of mine growing up as well. On pages 79-81 Osborne explains why we see such difficulty among people to "jell" with others when forming new relationship. The answer: people are like Legos. Like the little plastic bricks, there are only so many connectors to go around. When those connectors get filled up we find it difficult to make any new connections. When I read this and Osborne’s further application (you’ll just have to buy the book) I felt that both a light bulb went on and a weight was lifted at the same time. It’s not so much that the church is full of cliques; it’s that many of us already have our connectors filled (p.80). Brilliant!

Even if yours is not a church of small groups, or small groups are not yet on your ministry horizon this book is well worth reading. It will stay on my shelf and deserves a second read. Here’s hoping that the Lord uses this book to help our churches become even “stickier”.

[this review can also be found at]

blog comments powered by Disqus

Google Analytics

RefTagger from Logos