Book Review: “Doing Church as a Team” by Wayne Cordeiro
If we went for a coffee today, I might want to talk a bit about this book I read recently:
How did I get this book?
Well, one Sunday, my brother, Joey and I, picked up my dad and we all went to Calvary Chapel Palm Harbor for church. While I was there, I followed my brother Ben into Pastor Brett’s office. He had stacks of books all over his desk. I can’t resist! I looked through them all, picked this one out and asked him if I could borrow it.
He said yes.
It caught my eye, because I’ve recently accepted an invitation to relaunch a Calvary Chapel in Fort Walton Beach and there’s an existing group of people to work with. I’d love to know more about “doing church as a team!”
What’s it about?
Well, the title gives it away.
Pastor Wayne does a great job of recasting church and church relationships and church dynamics into a more human and relationship rich situation. He spends the first half of the book describing from the Scriptures how church is supposed to be, what it’s supposed to feel like and how the connection with God spills over into connection with others.
Later on in the book he gives some great insights and suggestions on how to practically set things up, plus handle situations that come up.
What did I think?
Truthfully, I got bored in the first half of the book. But, I get bored easy in books like this. The second half was much more interesting for me.
One thing throughout the whole book that is great is all his stories. He has lots of great illustrations.
There were a couple of pages that I earmarked for future reference. They were illuminating and super helpful. Here’s one excerpt:
Sue Ann was a member on fire with the excitement of a new believer. I saw her seated at a table at a Rotary convention, conversing with an elderly Japanese gentleman. Although she was much younger than he, they seemed to be old friends. I made my way over to greet her, and she introduced me to her friend. I can’t remember his name, so we’ll just call him, “Mr. Miyagi.”
“Mr. Miyagi, this is my pastor.” Then, without a hiccup, she unfolded in the most natural fashion, one of the finest and most memorable evangelistic campaigns I have ever witnessed.
“Mr. Miyagi,” she said with a lilt, “do you go to church?”
“No,” He replied. “I am a Buddhist.”
“That’s find. But you must come to our church! Just come once, and your life will change. Mark my word!”
Mr. Miyagi, presuming she had misunderstood him, repeated his answer.
“No,” he protested. “You see, I’m a Buddhist.”
“That’s fine!” she said optimistically. “But you just have to come to our church! Just once! Just come. You’ll love it! You won’t be the same.”
“Well, I have my own religion,” he said. “It’s giving money to charitable organizations like the Boy Scouts and the United Way.”
“That’s fine,” Sue Ann shot back, “but you just have to come to our church!”
“But, I golf on Sundays,” Mr. Miyagi finally admitted.
“That’s fine, but you must come to our church!”
For the next twenty minutes, whatever reason he gave for his inability to accept her invitation, Sue Ann gave the same unwavering reply: “That’s fine. Just come out our church. Just once. You’ll never be the same!”
He could have said, “No, you see, I’m an alien from Alpha Centauri,” And her reply would have remained the same… I remember chuckling to myself and thinking, You can’t teach this kind of evangelism in Bible College. This comes straight from the heart.
You see, when people feel excited about what God is doing in their church, evangelism becomes a natural by-product. (Page 164-165)
Isn’t that great?
Later on, he describes leading the church using a fractal design structure. He organized all of his leadership into groups of 5. Each leader was working with four people that they had recruited. It scales beautifully. That’s chapter 11, called “Building Teams” and that chapter is worth the price of the book.
The last section I earmarked was in Chapter 13 - Nurturing the Team Toward Deeper Connection. On page, 214, he tells the story of a gross church situation told by a fellow pastor. As he diagnoses the situation, he tracks it back to unhealthy relationships that were allowed to fester over the years. The remedy for this new pastor, inheriting this troubled situation, was to take 6 months and do no new programs, just visit with the people in the church and work on establishing and maintaining health relationships. It was a stark prescription, but one that would help a LOT of churches.
This is a classic book. It’s in it’s third edition. It’s classic because it’s needed, and still needed today. Why is it needed? Because so many churches are still operating in a post-war mindset. This book lays out ministry in boomer culture. We still have quite a bit of that today. Grasping it is imperative so that we can be ready for church in Generation Z. It’s the next iteration of our culture.
I’m grateful that he wrote it. And, I’m grateful that Brett let me borrow it.