Christianbook.com Ratings and Reviews

Customer Reviews for New Leaf Publishing Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals

New Leaf Publishing Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals

Small church buildings dotting the countryside are home to ministries that often struggle with limited attendance, no money, and little expectation that change can revitalize their future. In Transforming Church in Rural America, Pastor Shannon O'Dell shares a powerful vision of relevance, possibility, and excellence for these small churches, or for any ministry that is stuck in a "rural state of mind." The book reveals:

  • how to generate growth through transformed lives
  • ways to create active evangelism in your community
  • no-cost solutions for staffing challenges, enhancing the worship experience, and inspiring volunteers
Focusing on vision, attitude, leadership, and innovation, you can learn the practical strategies and biblical guidance that helped to grow a church of 31 into a multi-campus church of several thousand, with a national and global outreach. Discover effective structure and ways to cast God-given vision so others can follow and make an impact. Experience the blueprint for transforming into effective, dynamic, and thriving churches- no matter where the location or how small it may be.
Average Customer Rating:
4.229 out of 5
4.2
 out of 
5
(35 Reviews) 35
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (35 reviews)
5 stars
14
4 stars
16
3 stars
4
2 stars
1
1 star
0
31 out of 31100%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Review 1 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good read for ministry

Date:January 13, 2011
Customer Avatar
kaeb
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Recently I read Shannon O'Dell's book " Transforming Church in Rural America". If your in ministry- this is a good read. I thought I wouldn't like this book but as I read, I found it more intriguing. O'Dell doesn't teach you how to start a church or fix a church in rural America. Instead O'Dell focuses on God, he shares how he tuned into the vision of God, pursued it, and maintained it.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 2 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good read.

Date:December 21, 2010
Customer Avatar
TCBHAM
Location:birmingham, al
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
I just completed reading "Transforming Church in Rural America" which is a great read for anyone in the ministry. Shannon doesn't merely teach you in this book how grow a big church in a small community. He doesn't give you step by step, "here's how you do exactly what we are doing." Those kind of books are on my bookshelf - unread. I've grown tired of those. Instead, Shannon shares how to hear from God, how to stick to His vision, how to pursue the vision, and how to maintain it.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 3 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:December 6, 2010
Customer Avatar
Josh Phelps
Location:Berea, Ky
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
I recently received a copy of the book Transforming Church in Rural America by Shannon O’Dell. At first I was kind of excited to read this book, but as I read it that excitement quickly faded. There are lots of good points in the book; however there are a few things that I have issue with when reading this book. I literally had to force myself to finish the book.
The first thing I have is that there is really no talk of the Holy Spirit at all in the book. There is talk of fleeces and congregational votes but not the Holy Spirit. I believe that it is extremely important in the time we live to let the Holy Spirit shine. The Holy Spirit is missed in so many books and it is leading to people not believing it is important. We cannot suppress the Holy Spirit in our books about leading or growing a church. When the whole congregation is allowed to vote on everything, you are also looking for trouble. That is for a whole other article however.
The other major issue I have is with this book is that it generalizes many of the statements in the book. Not all of them will apply and many of them may be overstated a bit.
I would recommend the book as an ok, tough read but it might help some people. I would have liked to know more about the Holy Spirit however. The writing style is a bit hard for the normal lay reader. There is a lot of information to push through.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 4 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A must read for all pastors in rural America...

Date:November 29, 2010
Customer Avatar
Johnkchcc
Location:Scottsburg, IN
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Pastor Shannon was right on in this book. He confirmed with me things that I already had felt in my spirit, many times we just need things confirmed in our spirits for it to make sense in our own ministry...
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 5 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Encouragment for the small church

Date:November 11, 2010
Customer Avatar
momof10
Location:PA
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I got this book through booksneeze.com to review. It seemed like the perfect pick because we go to a small country church in “Rural America”! In fact, our church is very similar to the one described in the book and the book had me chuckling at the similarities. Sad….but true!! The book provided a very encouraging story of a pastor who moved from a large urban church to a small rural church of only 30-40 people. The church has now grown to involve many campuses and reach many people in other countries through internet etc.
It did provide the basic information and tactics he used to encourage the growth of the church. While much of the information was overall very helpful, it did lack details that I wish would’ve been there! The author does have a website with more information and videos to help fill in those blanks. I would say it could be a great place to start for a pastor of a small, struggling rural church to get some fresh ideas or at least some much needed encouragement. And, even though I am not a pastor or pastor’s wife, it was still an encouraging and, in places, humorous book for me to read.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 6 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Catch God's Vision!

Date:November 8, 2010
Customer Avatar
DianaHarper
Location:Dallas, TX
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Mega churches are only found in big cities, involve a huge edifice, and have lots of paid staff. You can’t get a church to grow in rural communities. Don’t tell Shannon O’Dell. “Breaking all the rurals” is exactly what he has allowed God to do through him. Transforming Church in Rural America. Hmmm. The title caught my eye because my husband has been pastoring in a rural area for the past 23 years. Shannon O’Dell has written a book that shares the joys and illuminates some of the pitfalls in serving in a rural community. Along the way, he provides “practical strategies and biblical guidance.” He has shared several sentiments that mirror my husband’s beliefs: before you can build congregations, you must build congregants; there has to be a balance between evangelism and discipleship, and; it is not enough to “dip ‘em and drop ‘em, you must disciple ‘em.”
Have you ever wanted to sit down with an author to really hear his heart beyond the written pages? You have that opportunity with the links in the book. They are for videos that further expound on some of the content in the book.
There was something else about the book. As I read, I kept thinking, “I know this book is about church in rural America, but it seems to apply to other areas as well.” For example, I recently was called to a leadership position in a local community of a national ministry. I found that so many of the strategies and concepts were helping me to understand various situations, and to persevere in changes that needed to be made.
There it was in the tenth chapter. Shannon O’Dell lets you in on a secret. Though the book is about growing the rural church, it is also about growing the dream God has placed in each of us, and helping us to stay true to the call.
I highly recommend this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 7 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

A good book...

Date:November 3, 2010
Customer Avatar
Sands0113
Location:Berea, KY
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
I recently read "Transforming Church in Rural America" by Shannon O'Dell and I must say that I have mixed feelings about the book. Shannon O'Dell is an amazing author and I was truly excited about reading this book. I thought that this would be a great look at churches in rural America that were transforming their hometowns and the work that God is doing in the church. I didn't find that. The book was a wonderful read and there were many great things about it but it was not exactly what I had in mind. While I enjoyed the book and found many things that I can relate to or even agree with; I was not completely happy with it.
My only major complaint (and the main reason I didn't enjoy the book as much as I thought I would) is that it seemed that the book was a promotion for his church. While I admire what Shannon and his church are doing and the way that they have done it...it seemed that this was a "look-at me, look-at me" kind of thing. The other thing that I didn't really like was that it seemed that the book was aimed mostly at church leadership and I kind of felt out of place reading this.
Overall, I would say that this is a good book and I would encourage people to read it and form their own opinions but I was not exactly impressed.
(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions expressed here 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.")
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 8 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Surprised - lived up to expectations!

Date:November 3, 2010
Customer Avatar
mjharvell
Location:Greer, SC
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
“Transforming Church In Rural America: Breaking All The Rurals!”
By Shannon O’Dell
Book Review By Michael Joe Harvell
I have got to say that I was very surprised by this book! I have read many books about transforming, revitalizing and growing the church, and while many make bold promises, very few actually succeed in what they advertise! I had never heard of Shannon Odell, but was intrigued by the title and knew that I had to read this book.
This book is the story of Shannon O’Dell’s call from ministry in the city to ministry in the country. He tells how God has used and is using him and a growing handful of faithful to do just what the title says: “Transform The Church In Rural America!”
If you have ever pastored, then you will relate almost immediately to much of what the author talks about. I enjoyed the way he made his points by sharing his personal journey and the journey of the church/churches to whom he gives leadership.
Shannon goes to great lengths to help the reader know and understand the values that shape a growing rural ministry. This book encourages the reader to consider the various possibilities of where God has called you to serve. It will motivate you to think about, dream and pursue with greater passion the call of God upon your life!
The book is divided into three sections. The first deals with the way it all began. It helps the reader to see that while it is not easy, it is also not impossible to grow the church to make a difference in the community and world. The second section lays out and provides the values that help to shape rural ministry into church with purpose and potential for growth. The third section provides the reader with the structure necessary to maintain and sustain the growth of a ministry that desires to reach up and out.
This is a very interesting book. I enjoyed reading it and especially appreciated the conversational style in which it was written. I believe that it would be a great help to anyone who is serving in any type of ministry and an encouragement to anyone that loves the church and desires to see it do more and to do it better!
Disclosure: This book was provided to me by Thomas Nelson Publishing for review purposes only.  I was not required to give a positive review or compensated in any fashion.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 9 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

I'm praying this book transforms rural Canada!

Date:November 2, 2010
Customer Avatar
Amy Howson
Location:Canada
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This book isn’t just a catchy title, Shannon O’Dell wants us to pick out the rocks in our field of ministry.
Small churches are too quick to keep themselves chained to their “sacred cows” because they feel safe there. Shannon wants us to learn to listen to the call of the Lord and follow the Lord’s leading, not be lead like a horse with a bit in it’s mouth by the opinions of founding families or by the parishioners with large pocketbooks.
I was so encouraged to read about a rural church reaching the lost in their community using cutting edge technology. I live in a rural community and we may be rural minded but we can use a blackberry or computer just as easily as our urban counterparts. I would love to see this book given to every pastor, deacon and church leader of a rural church. I’d love to see this book as mandatory reading at every seminary!
Shannon O’Dell writes in a clear, fast paced manner and the corresponding web links. WOW! Thanks Shannon for encouraging me in rural Canada!
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com
<http://BookSneeze.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 10 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good story and ideas

Date:October 26, 2010
Customer Avatar
lanier801
Location:Statesboro, GA
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Shannon O'dell went from a mainstream modern church to a rural church in Arkansas. This books follows his journey from his decision making process to the way he brought this new church to a multi campus international congregation. This book was a very good inspiration. It shared a lot about his journey. It also presented a lot of tangible things we can use to improve the Church.
The chapters flowed easily. It was easy to read. I really liked the part about how we are supposed to get rid of our golden idols. Shannon's method is unique. His foundation is biblical. He gave a lot of ministry tips and resources. If you are looking for a book to give you some ideas for your church, or a book to encourage you as a leader than this is it. I would also recommend this for any pastor. I liked his v.a.l.u.e. ideas.
Vision, Attitude, Leadership, Understanding, and Excellence.
His best quote, which goes throughout the book is that small big does not mean great. Weather we are small or large. God wants us to be excellent.
This book was both theologically challenging and entertaining.
This books inspired me to be a better leader. I would recommend it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com http://BookSneeze.com 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 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 11 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

I'd recommend it for any church member.

Date:October 25, 2010
Customer Avatar
jwright
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Value: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
I got a free copy of"Transforming Church in Rural America" by Shannon O'Dell for review.
It took me awhile to review it, as I was unsure about how I felt about what he had to say. In some circles, Shannon O'Dell is a 'divisive' character, to put it mildly. His book is part how-to, part self-help for church leaders in rural churches. As such, I'd recommend it as reading for any member of a rural church, whether you agree with how O'Dell grew the church he pastored, or not, reading this book will give you insight into how it was done.
While much of what Brand New Church has done is laudable, I don't feel it would have been possible without some potentially unethical political maneuvering early in his tenure there. I have attended churches which use the 'congregationally-led system' where most of the votes can not pass with out a majority of the congregation's assent. And, yes, in a small, rural church this majority can be hard won. But, O'Dell freely admits to asking the deacons to let him pick a "research team" to examine the church's bylaws to see what would be needed to "allow us to work most efficiently and (most importantly) most biblically", which he then, by his own admission, filled with like-minded people. When he says that he did not let on that he "knew where this process would take [them]", it gives the impression that the end result was a foregone conclusion. That the "research team" was simply a formality to give an air of legitimacy to his proposed changes in the church's structure. It all sounded a little too Machiavellian, for me. The next linchpin in getting the new bylaws approved was that, in spite of being available for a month before the vote, few (if any) actually read the proposed changes until (according to the book) the night before the vote.
Aside from all that, the book does offer some valuable insight into ways small churches can do much with limited resources.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 12 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

This book offers every leader some tools

Date:October 22, 2010
Customer Avatar
jbatch
Location:Lawrenceburg IN
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Shannon O'Dell does an excellent job of writing a personal story of transition from big city youth worker to rural america senior pastor and offers several powerful leadership and growth tools for everyone along the way.
Each person has been given natural abilities and the opportunity to succeed. It is up to each person how they will choose to travel.
Leadership has extremes and Shannon challenges the reader to expect them, and grow from them.
I highly recommend this book for all leaders, church leaders, business leaders, and those who hope to be leaders one day.
Warning, this is a book you will have a difficult time putting down once you begin to read.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 13 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Transforming Ministry in Rural America

Date:October 17, 2010
Customer Avatar
preach2u
Location:Alliance, Ohio
Age:45-54
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
The book, Transforming Ministry in Rural America, is written by Shannon O'Dell. While the title implies that this book is for churches in rural America, the reality is that what O'Dell has written could be used in any ministry situation. O'Dell recounts leaving ministry in urban America to go to a small church that has been transformed into a multi site contemporary church that serves thousands of worshipers.
O'Dell uses the acronym VALUE. He says that Vision, Attitude, Leadership, Understanding, and Excellence in ministry are important. O'Dell's prescriptions for ministry are very practical. At the same time, many of his ideas are not new. The emphasis in the book is on practicality, not on novelty.
This book would be particularly important to pastors and church leaders in rural situations. While Dell does not offer an approach that applies to every ministry situation, much of what he provides can be used in a variety of situations. If your church is stuck in a rut, this book may be able to help you get going, and a new direction.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 14 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:October 15, 2010
Customer Avatar
Elisabeth
Location:Pittstown, NJ
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Transforming Church in Rural America by Shannon O'Dell is a great book for a pastor or leader who wants to grow their church. Who doesn't want this?
I found this book informational mostly because I really don't know anything about the inner workings of a church. I could also clearly see some of the things he referred to being problems in my own church. I chuckle each time I leave my own sanctuary with its dedicated pews and brass plaques on everything from the Chandeliers to the stained glass windows. I could only imagine the fight over removing some of these things. Our church building dates back to the 1800's and even though it burned to the ground once it was rebuilt and dedicated to the original families that built building one. Oh yes, what a fight that would be.
While I don't lead a church I can see where the information presented could be used in other work related areas and plan to use it with my own teams in the future. This also gave me some ideas to get more involved in the church and offer my talents to helping build the team.
This book also made me reflect on church splits. What caused them and where the two sides are now. So as a non-Pastor I found this book brought me a lot of insight and wisdom I do plan to pass my copy onto my Pastor. I don't hold out much hope for removing the brass plaques though.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 15 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great book for anyone to be plugged in at church

Date:October 13, 2010
Customer Avatar
tianac
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Shannon O'Dell walks us through his journey in a rural part of Arkansas, in the book "transforming church in Rural America, breaking all the Rurals". From the painstaking beginning steps, through the heartaches, and the growth, we watch not only the church change but also the leaders within the church. Shannon breaks all of the "rurals" of small town churches and shows a path to create and fulfill a vision.
This book was very interesting to read. Shannon's way of explaining the changes undergoing at the church, and within his own life and family was very easy and fun to read. He explains not "rurals" that had to be changed at the church he signed on at, but also the principals that were added as he grew to allow for the church to grow.
I especially liked the "Value" acronym:
V - Vision
A - Attitude
L - Leadership
U - Understanding
E - Enduring Excellence
Every church that is interested in growing, would gain value from no just the acronym, but also reviewing the principals in this books. There are also lots of extras for the reader to refer to on-line, and also scripture as a base for each principal. I would recommend this book not only for church leadership, but also volunteers.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com 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.”
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 16 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Humorous and well written

Date:October 12, 2010
Customer Avatar
LisaH
Location:Houston Tx
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I recently recieved a copy of Shannon O'Dell's Transforming Church in Rural America, breaking all the Rurals, and it couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. My husband was recently hired as a youth pastor of a very small rural church much like the one described in O'Dell's book, so I was interested in his take on how to transform such a church.
Using the acronym V.A.L.U.E, vision, attitude, leadership, understanding and enduring excellence, O'Dell shares his struggles and humble beginnings of transforming a small rural church desiring change but not wanting to let go of the past to get there. With humor and bits of sarcasim he shares exactly what it's like to worship and live in a rural community but also how using his VALUE system and listening for Gods ultimate timing a church can go from rural to virtual. He states the key is not in growing a congregation but growing the congregants, which I'd have to agree with.
This was a very interesting and well written book with alot of great ideas for rural churchs wanting change. Though I don't think some of these methods would work with alot of rural church's there were many methods in the book that would benefit church's of all sizes.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 17 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great Story of transformation

Date:October 12, 2010
Customer Avatar
DisneyCyndi
Book Review: "Transforming Church in Rural America" by Shannon O'Dell
I recently read a book on leading in a rural church. I became interested in, "Transforming Church in Rural America" written by Shannon O'Dell partly because I actually grew up in a small rural town; my grandfather and godfather both lead in rural churches. The title was what first attracted me to reading the book but once I started reading I was immediately struck by the similarities between the authors story and that of my husband and mine (especially his background in transfering from youth ministry to that of Senior Pastor) even though we are leading in an urban setting.
I believe Pastor Shannon's book is an example of transformational leadership that churches in various minitry settings could learn from. He offers some practical solutions for not only rural America, but ideas that can be adapted by main stream churches located in suburban or urban areas. Especially churches that have been on the scene for a while but who have gotton stagnant in their thinking or even given up believing that their church can make a difference in their communties. His story has a mixture of humor, some pain but a large portion of hope. You can tell that he was someone who has been humbled by his experience. He had to totally rely on God to do the extraordinary under seemingly impossible odds.
When Pastor Shannon started, he had a small congregation (which if you know most rural areas, it is pretty much the norm), but in a matter of a few years his church grew and they now minister to 1,000 of people all over the world. Talk about fufilling God size dreams! He does not offer a magical formula but his story does convey the importance of seeing the bigger picture and trusting God to work the plan even when we can't see where he is going with it!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and at one point I could not put it down. I actually read several passages out loud to my husband and he too enjoyed it. His testimony gave us hope that transformation is possible especially when you listen to God's voice and his vision for ministry. Many of the things he implemented are not just adaptable to ministry but in our personal lives as well. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is leading a church in a rural area, but I would also suggest it to those who are leading in churches that are looking to transform their community, ministries or church.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as a part of their BookSneeze.com Book Review Bloggers Program. I was not required or influenced to give a positive review in any way. The opinions expressed here are that of my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, part 255
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 18 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:October 11, 2010
Customer Avatar
Destiny
Location:Riverside, CA
Age:18-24
Gender:female
In his book, Transforming Church in Rural America, Shannon O’Dell explains how he converted a tiny rural Arkansas church into a multi-site campus with added virtual followers from all over the world. O’Dell turned down several great positions at large urban churches to work at a poor church in the boonies. While his good intentions were often met with resistance, O’Dell continued and formed Brand New Church.
This book is geared towards helping rural pastors overcome the struggles of ministering to small churches. He explains the five most important “V.A.L.U.E’s” needed for a successful church: vision, attitude, leadership, understanding, and enduring excellence. For O’Dell, vision is the most important. Without a vision, growth is not possible because congregates are not willing to wholeheartedly contribute without direction.
Transforming Church in Rural America is motivational for pastors or average people with a project of their own. O’Dell’s advice can easily be applied to other situations. For example, O’Dell advises readers to realize they can do the impossible. “We do what seems logical,” O’Dell writes, “things the Church can do in its own strength, things in our comfort zones” (64). However, visions should be larger. They should require much prayer to be possible.
In addition to his wise message, O’Dell interweaves telling anecdotes that reveal the personalities found in some rural churches. He explains the stress he underwent as board members refused to fill a sandbox for children. And, the massive hatred he experienced because he proposed that the church pews be replaced with more efficient seating. Trivial things such as these honestly brought O’Dell to tears.
Overall, O’Dell’s book is a great motivational read. I highly recommend this book to others whether they are pastors or not.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com 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.”
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 19 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A Church growth book geared to rural churches

Date:October 11, 2010
Customer Avatar
Dave
Location:Keysville, VA
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
I've been serving local churches in ministry for over a decade. All of them have been small churches struggling to find ways to grow. Some have been limited by a worship of the past, others were hampered by overbearing leaders and others still by poor location combined with limited facilities. In his book, Transforming Church in Rural America, Shannon O'Dell writes a church growth book specifically geared to small churches in small population areas. By using examples from his own congregation in rural Arkansas, O'Dell challenges the 'myth' that only churches in large urban/suburban settings can grow and succeed in dynamic ministry.
Through the use of the acronym VALUE (Vision; Attitude; Leadership; Understanding; Enduring Excellence) O'Dell imparts principles that a congregation of any size can follow. The author outlines his own successes and failures for the reader's benefit. The book is written in a very conversational tone that makes it both easy to read and to understand.
As for negatives, they are minor. There is an emphasis on vision throughout the entire book. The other principles are overshadowed by O'Dell's focus on developing, adopting and communicating vision to leaders and congregants alike. The book might be better promoted on how to develop vision for the rural congregation. Although I did appreciate the emphasis that a leader with no vision has no business being the lead minister.
Also, under-emphasized throughout the book is one of the major keys to O'Dell's success: a supportive leadership. Experience has taught me that in order to effect change in the traditional, country church you must have the lay-leadership in your corner. If not, change will not occur. O'Dell's claim that change produces conflict is 100% accurate, and without leaders that are long-time members of the church giving support, a minister will not be able to achieve his vision, no matter how clear it is.
I would recommend this book to any leader in the rural church who desire to cast God's vision before the church. The principles O'Dell outlines are solid even though his methods may not work in every congregation.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 20 for Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

This book offers great advice

Date:October 11, 2010
Customer Avatar
Andie
Location:CT
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Shannon O’Dell’s book, Transforming Church in Rural America, is a nice blend of spirituality and practical advice. Shannon tells the story about his personal call to a rural church in Arkansas. As much as he tried to talk himself out of that pastorship, he eventually said yes and began his adventure. He speaks of the obstacles that he met and the strategies and philosophies that he used to build his church.
O’Dell encourages ministers to ‘step out of the box’ and be open to where God might be bringing you. He defines what he feels church leadership should look like and how to recognize those in your congregation who might assist you. He also speaks about the need for a strong personal faith and prayer life and transparency in ministry.
While O’Dell gives some very good tips for anyone in ministry, not just pastors, he always speaks about putting God first. In my opinion, this book is a good read for anyone trying to follow God’s will in their lives. He uses everyday examples and real life scenarios to teach and guide but always urges not to let our egos take over when working in ministry. Transforming Church in Rural America is a good read with applications far more widespread than building a church in rural Arkansas.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was given to me from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. All opinions in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
12Next >>>