a review by Tom Kraeuter

I just finished reading Who Stole My Church? This book is a must read for anyone whose church is engaged in the worship wars. The subtitle, “What to Do When the Church You Love Tries to Enter the 21st Century,” is a great summary of the book.

In the preface, MacDonald says this:

My first attempt at writing about church change was abortive. I could not escape the feeling that I was writing one more dull book on an overworked subject. So I restarted my project, but in a way I’d never tried before. I decided to create an imaginary New England church in which there was a small collection of average people who were bumping up against change issues and resisting them.

Once I set these people in motion, I asked myself: If I were to enter the story as I really am, what would I say to them? How might I engage with them and persuade them to take a fresh look at the realities in our world that do indeed require a new kind of church?

Hence, the book is entirely a fictional story. Fiction, yes, yet there are lessons learned on every page. The characters are real and their feelings run deep. There is intense emotion and plenty of hard questions. Anyone struggling with change in the church will find answers—and challenges—in these pages.

For example, what happens when the church’s youth worship band (they lead worship when there is a fifth Sunday in a month) meets with a group of people in their fifties and sixties who don’t like change? It’s a very memorable encounter.

I’ll be the first to admit that the ending is idealistic. Don’t misunderstand there are plenty of bumps and difficulties along the way, but the story finishes on a happy note. That doesn’t always happen. But I like stories that are idealistic. They give us something for which to strive. It’s too easy, in the midst of conflict, to throw in the towel. MacDonald’s book will give you reasons to not give up.

If you’re a church leader endeavoring to navigate through the murky waters of change, this book will offer plenty of practical tools and answers—biblical and historical—to make your job a bit less overwhelming.

This is the first book I’ve read in a very long time that I truly wish I had written. I highly recommend it.

Get your copy here.

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“Reprinted by permission of Training Resources, Inc., 65 Shepherd’s Way, Hillsboro, MO 63050, www.training-resources.org”