Robert Morris is the founding senior pastor at Gateway Church in Texas, which in twelve years has grown from a living room to a megachurch with 24,000 members. Many people have asked him how he’s built such a church. In response, his latest book, The Blessed Church (Waterbrook Multnomah 2012), is a discussion of the principles for building a godly, growing church; he calls these nuggets “Keys to a Blessed Church.”

The book is aimed mainly at pastors, but it would be a useful read for any leader or elder who is interested in applying a different strategy to church leadership. Usually, churches apply one of two models for leadership; Morris has successfully created a third. Having been a church staff member myself for some years, I was eager to see what he had to say.

At the beginning I found the book a difficult read; the writing is choppy. He states that he’s not a writer and, well, he’s right! Too, the beginning of the book was a summary of the early days, so part of my problem may have been that I was eager to get to the meat: what are the secrets to building a strong, cohesive, godly church?

Morris is remarkably open, honest, and humble about the church he leads. He shares insight as a man of vast experience, knowledge, and vision. Again and again, he reminds the reader that this is God’s story, not his own. Every key statement is backed by Scripture passages. By the middle of the book, I was dying to go hear him preach.

Some of Morris’ Keys are:
•You can’t communicate vision unless the vision is from the Lord.
•If you are called to pastor, you are called to lead.
•The true shepherd models where he wants the sheep to go. He leads by example.
•Power doesn’t lie in the office of pastor or in the office of elder. Power in the church lies with Jesus.

Morris states: “True and lasting unity comes from valuing relationship above corporate accomplishment, personal fulfillment, and mere policy preferences. Remember: “Relationships above issues.””

This, I believe, is why his church has grown. It’s not about the numbers, or growth. It’s about feeding the sheep and maintaining relationship. He believes that growth without church health is not sustainable.

I recommend this book to anyone who is considering revamping their church’s organizational structure, or who is starting a new church. It would also be a fascinating read to those who are curious about the inner workings of a church.

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for free in exchange for creating this review.

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