Book Review: “Dying to Grow: Reclaiming the Heart for Evangelism in the Local Church”

Is your church’s pursuit of growth actually a silent killer lurking beneath a façade of health and well-being? Has the pursuit of nickels and noses obscured a biblical focus on kingdom growth through evangelism?

These are questions Nathan Lorick asks in his book “Dying to Grow: Reclaiming the Heart for Evangelism in the Local Church” (Aneko Press, paperback, 141 pages.) Lorick, director of evangelism at the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and a former Texas pastor, tells how as a younger man he was awakened to find himself pursuing “the ministerial version of the American dream,” valuing worldly definitions of church success over real, biblical, Christ-centered obedience and Great Commission focus.

With plenteous biblical and real-life examples, Lorick shows how these “fatal attractions” of church growth ensnare well-meaning pastors and what the antidote is. Quite simply, as Lorick writes in the first chapter, “Churches today need to find their way back to the gospel by ignoring the newest self-help church growth books and following the example of the fastest growing and most effective church that history has ever seen—the church in Acts.”

Lorick urges church leaders to become desperate for God, to keep the gospel in focus, to eschew the myths of worldly church “success,” to pray fervently for the lost, to be burdened by the gospel mandate, and to lead local churches to share in that burden.

The end of the book includes two appendixes providing practical suggestions for implementing evangelistic endeavors in churches.

In the book’s foreword, LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer notes that “fewer and fewer unchurched individuals are visiting churches, necessitating Christians living out a missional, incarnational faith on a daily basis.”

With that in view, “Dying to Grow” provides a much-needed prescription for what ails too many congregations.

TEXAN Correspondent
Jerry Pierce
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