Layman, Community of Hope UMC, Royal Palm Beach, FL
The Perfectly Imperfect Church - Re-defining the "Ideal Church"
Steve Sjogren outlines a path for congregations in both of these positions to become Perfectly Imperfect Churches - congregations that really have an impact on their community without needing to be spectacular, unusual or church-growth geniuses, using the leaders and the gifts already present in the congregation.
A major premise of the book is that it takes an average weekend attendance of 200 people to support a church. The author acknowledges that this premise may be offensive to some but without this participation there are insufficient resources to provide the things our culture recognizes as necessities such as quality worship, child care, teen ministry and active lay leadership.
The first of two sections in the book addresses 4 'Aha!' Experiences: Imperfect can be perfect; Bigger is not better, nor is it more effective; Church health is measured by competence, not competition and The best churches may not be the most visible ones.
Two healthy church structures are detailed - the Launching Pad Church and the Pretty Good Church (a congregation that transforms itself from being a Struggling church to being a strong, competent congregation).
The second section of the book outlines the Paths to the Perfectly Imperfect Church with 13 chapters, each with one-word titles beginning with 'Simple'. As the leading proponent and teacher of 'Servant Evangelism, Steve Sjogren ties into each of these pathways the importance of the biblical call for every congregation to be outwardly focused, reaching out beyond the wall of the congregation to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in many different ways, including through acts of kindness.