Book Review: "Purpose Driven Church"

Rick Warren’s strategy is biblical and clear in its process. The style of his writing helps the reader make sense of setting the plans and goals of the church. God has set forth principles in His Word that lay out the priorities of the church. Purpose Driven Church helps put the biblical principles and communicate it so people can wrap their lives around the mission. PDC helps transfer the principles of the Purpose Driven life into the DNA of the church. The importance of the church have a strategic plan that stems from a strong foundation in scripture is vital. The book clearly lays out the steps of the church to be balanced and biblical. The strategy begins with a focus upon a question of, “What drives your church?”  The book focuses upon a clear question to begin evaluating what is most important for the church to build a strong foundation. One important aspect in the beginning of the church strategy is to not build it upon a personality, tradition, events and more. It is to align itself with God’s principles of fellowship, discipleship, worship, evangelism and ministry. It must be a specific, biblical and measurable strategy that builds off of biblical principles. One great statement in the book says, “Don’t focus upon growing a church with programs, focus on growing people with a process” (PDC, 108). Warren lays out the importance of not being a church led by personality, tradition or by finances. Purpose found only in the Great Commission and the Great commandment will honor God. I believe that it is one of the most biblical and transferable strategies for the church to follow. The important part is taking the principles and making it clear and applicable to each churches unique congregation. Ideas that come from a church in southern California will probably not work in rural Mississippi. Leaders must know the people in their congregation and be able to articulate the vision in a way they can grab hold of and live out in the community and world.

The church is to be focused upon these principles: a) Churches need to grow:  1) warmer through fellowship, 2) deeper through discipleship, 3) stronger through worship, 4) broader through ministry, 5) larger through evangelism. Warren does a good job explaining the importance of health within the church. The church must be willing to make changes if their programs or direction does not have these five principles.

Communicating the strategy is an important part of the process. If people cannot put the vision into practice then it is not understandable. I think that many people look at this book and compare the size of the church to Warren’s writings. The fact that a church grows and reaches many people does not mean it is an unhealthy church. I believe that God can use these principles to help people come to know Christ and grow in Him. Although I do not agree with every approach that Warren states, I do think the church can learn important aspects from this book. The simplicity and clear illustrations that Warren uses is understandable. I have found that many books on church strategy can be vague, but PDC gives a clear picture of churches being held accountable to biblical principles (Worship, Discipleship, Evangelism, Fellowship and Ministry).

Lastly, I do think each leader needs to be willing to learn from any other resource and be able to challenge the process so that the cobwebs are cleared and people are coming to know and grow in their relationship with God. I say this because most leaders criticize other leaders if they are a part of large churches. It is trivial and condemning to throw stones at other leaders who are in the ministry. Humility and being teachable is a trait that I desire to have in ministry because I can learn anything from anybody at any time.