Monday, December 17, 2012

TWO STARS: One church’s journey, but not all

This is a book about the success journey of one mega church—Gateway Church in Dallas, Texas (

Author and Pastor Robert Morris outlines in five sections what he believes it takes for a church to be successful:
1. A vision
2. Church shepherds
3. Church leaders
4. Church government
5.Church culture

As a pastor, I particularly found the church shepherd’s section valuable.  Morris also includes helpful reminder chapters that church leaders need to do like keeping the Sabbath and not putting one’s family on the back burner.

But while there were a few tasty morsels found throughout the book, I finished feeling underfed.  This book is not a “how-to” book, so it doesn’t give detailed instructions on how to grow your church but rather tells Gateway’s story and their principles.  Also, the section on church government did not apply to me as I belong to a denomination that already has a “church government” in place and does not have the freedom to create its own like Gateway does.  So that whole section was not very useful.  Additionally, I missed throughout the book talk of female leadership at his church.  After doing some research on the internet I discovered the church’s position paper on women in leadership says that while women are welcome to serve in ministry, they are not to hold position of Senior Pastor or Elder.  This may explain the lack of women mentioned.  Since I am a female pastor, I found this unfortunate.

While there were some things I found useful and highlighted in the book, overall after reading I felt undernourished.

*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this unbiased review.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Radio Theater a treat!

REVIEW: Oliver Twist by Focus on the Family’s Radio Theatre

I am huge reader, but I humbly admit that I had never read Oliver Twist.  Besides never reading it, I have never really listened to a book on CD.  But, I decided to give a book on CD a shot and very pleasantly surprised!

I say: “Well done, Focus on the Family!”

This was no ordinary book on CD, but rather a full-cast audio dramatization of the story.  As I listened to the CDs in my car, there were times I did not want my trip to end because I wanted to hear more of the story.  The Charles Dicken’s classic Oliver Twist is a story about a boy whose mother dies while giving birth to him, and thus he becomes an orphan.  Oliver unfortunately endures horrendous trials and ordeals throughout his life.  But glory to God there is redemption.

Focus on the Family did a masterful job putting this five CD disk set together (as well as a behind-the-scenes DVD).  The characters come to life through their amazing vocalizations.  I knew right away when someone started speaking which character was talking.  They embodied their roles.  The audio dramatization was not just voices, though.  There was also intense filler noises that set the scene perfectly like dogs barking, carriage rides, and so much more.  This CD helped the story come alive and created a movie my imagination.

While this was my first book on CD, after this wonderful experience, it will not be my last!
I encourage everyone to turn back to a simpler time of the 1940s when family radio theater was popular and experience Oliver Twist.

To learn more, visit Focus on the Family Radio Theatre at

*Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this CD set for an unbiased review.