The Prodigal Church: A Gentle Manifesto against the Status Quo

By Jared C. Wilson

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The Prodigal Church: A Gentle Manifesto against the Status Quo

By Jared C. Wilson

... Show All

This book is not a tired rant.
This book is not a reactionary diatribe.
This book is a gentle manifesto against the status quo.

In The Prodigal Church, Jared Wilson challenges church leaders to reconsider their priorities when it comes to how they “do church” and reach people in their communities, arguing that we too often rely on loud music, flashy lights, and skinny jeans to get people in the door.

Writing with the grace and kindness of a trusted friend, Wilson encourages readers to reexamine the Bible’s teaching, not simply return to a traditional model for tradition’s sake. He then sets forth an alternative to both the attractional and the traditional models: an explicitly biblical approach that is gospel focused, grace based, and fruit oriented.

Read Chapter 1


Jared C. Wilson

Jared C. Wilson is assistant professor of pastoral ministry at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and director of the Pastoral Training Center at Liberty Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri. He is a popular author and conference speaker, and also blogs regularly at Gospel Driven Church, hosted by the Gospel Coalition. His books include Gospel WakefulnessThe Storytelling God; and The Wonder-Working God.

Product Details

Category: Church Ministry
Christian Living
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 240
Size: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Weight: 11.48 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-4461-X
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-4461-3
ISBN-UPC: 9781433544613
Case Quantity: 52
Published: April 30, 2015

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Parable of the Prodigal Church

  1. What This Book Is Not
  2. What If the System’s Broken?
  3. What Works?
  4. The Bible Is Not an Instruction Manual
  5. From Watching to Beholding
  6. Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
  7. Pastoring Hearts
  8. A Way Forward
  9. The Prodigal Church Comes Home
  10. A Portrait of the Author as a Young Man

Conclusion: A Call to the Gospel Renaissance
Recommended Reading


“Jared Wilson provides a stern warning against the excesses of pragmatic approaches to church growth while reminding us that if the power of the gospel is not driving our ministries, we may build a crowd, but we are not building a church.”
Thom S. Rainer, President and CEO, LifeWay Christian Resources

“Jared Wilson paints a vivid picture of the grievous outcome of church centered on programmatic pragmatism instead of the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. His critical analysis and probing confrontation, coupled with his personal encounter with grace, has the potential to bring the church to her senses and usher her back to our Father’s restorative embrace. The Prodigal Church is a desperately needed wake-up call.”
Jeff Vanderstelt, Visionary Leader, Soma; Pastor, Doxa Church, Bellevue, Washington; author, Saturate

The Prodigal Church is indeed a gentle manifesto against the status quo. Wilson writes with humility, urgency, and true pastoral concern for God’s people. He pushes back against the consumerism and pragmatism so prevalent in twenty-first-century congregations, and points the church to something far superior—the gospel of Jesus Christ. All who love the local church will benefit from reading this book.”
Jason K. Allen, President, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Spurgeon College

“Jared Wilson writes that we’ve forgotten “who the church is for.” He rightly, and with a kind spirit, questions the status quo in this book. The church is not a consumer experience. It’s not supposed to be a volunteer-draining, CEO-driven business. No, it’s much bigger, better, and more beautiful than that.”
Brant Hansen, CURE International; storyteller; radio host; author, Unoffendable