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.
“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
“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
“Although I don’t agree with all of the conclusions Jared comes to, he asks penetrating questions and lovingly argues as a man who deeply loves Jesus, the gospel, the church, and pastors. I am fully confident that what he has written here will save some weary pastors from burning out and will make The Village Church a healthier place.”
Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor, The Village Church, Dallas, Texas; President, Acts 29 Church Planting Network; author, The Mingling of Souls and The Explicit Gospel
Table of Contents:
Introduction: The Parable of the Prodigal Church
- What This Book Is Not
- What If the System’s Broken?
- What Works?
- The Bible Is Not an Instruction Manual
- From Watching to Beholding
- Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
- Pastoring Hearts
- A Way Forward
- The Prodigal Church Comes Home
- A Portrait of the Author as a Young Man
Conclusion: A Call to the Gospel Renaissance