“The Blessed Church” by Robert Morris
Robert Morris’s book is a great story about one church – his church. There can be no denying the real, tangible truth of God using Morris and his vision for a church structure in a way that is both rare and inspiring. If you like stories about how churches got their starts and how the leadership in those churches formed their respective visions for ministry then this is a book that you’ll enjoy. If you’re looking for some practical answers for structuring your church or casting a vision for growth and maturity – you might be disappointed.
I don’t think that Morris’s intent in writing this book as to give an outline for how every church should be run. I think he was simply wanting to let everyone know how he was led to do church, and hopefully inspire others in some way. There is very little in the way of revolutionary ideas that can be translated into any context. He does give a structure that could fit in some contexts, but little that can be seen as “across the board” type structures.
My biggest disappointment with this book was a lack of biblical foundation. One would hope that if an author was looking to give a blueprint for what a blessed church is, he would start with God’s Word. A truly blessed church does not follow a specific structure or have a certain budget or membership role. A truly blessed church sees that value in God’s Word and His glory no matter what the income or numerics are.
Overall, I would recommend this book to people who like to hear stories of how churches began. It’s an interesting story with some pretty amazing results. On a whole, I would not recommend this book to a struggling pastor who is feeling stuck in a seemingly dead-end ministry. This book could potentially cause some undue covetousness which is not the author’s intent. Morris’s structure at Gateway works wonderfully for him and his congregation, it’s not supposed to work everywhere. The same God who Morris gives credit for the blessing of a large, successful megachurch is the same God who gets credit for the loving, modest congregation. May the Lord continue to govern His Church as He sees fit.