Church Unique - Review

I mentioned Church Unique in my post about the best books I read in 2008. One of my favorite genres of book is books on church strategy and philosophy. The clearest test of a pastor's true theology is its manifestation in the church he leads. So, these types of books stretch me in a lot of different ways.

Will Mancini is a former pastor (now a church consultant), who is still extremely young. So, I was cautious about reading his book at first, honestly wondering if he had enough time leading a church to be an informed consultant. But I decided to give it a shot.

I'm so glad I did. This book is easily in my top 3 within a genre of several extremely strong books.

The first thing this book does that I love is to blow up the old-school strategic planning method where church staffs develop comprehensive mission statements, vision statements, and core value descriptions, and then wonder why "the people" don't fall in line. Mancini rightly points out that "too much information shreds the big picture into so many small pieces the vision is hopelessly lost." The big picture never emerges out of complexity; it's gained through simplicity. That's the crux of Mancini's book.

It isn't that the old method was bad; it was simply incomplete. It stopped short of giving leaders the tool they need to help solidify a direction in the minds and hearts of the average churchgoer. Throughout "Church Unique," Mancini helps church leaders clarify their vision, and simplify the old-school strategic planning process by viewing it as the frame that holds (and points to) the big picture.

The big picture is the "organizational sweet spot" - the reason God has your church on the planet. People need language to understand what God is uniquely doing through their involvement, and why they should step-up their level of involvement.

Mancini gives handles through which to understand what your church is about, how it does what it does, why it does what it does, and how it knows when it's successful - all in an attempt to help leaders clarify the finish line for the people they serve - at a staff level and congregational level.

This book is outstanding. It's well-written, easy-to-read, and easy to implement. In fact, I'll go so far as to say if you are the primary strategic [human] leader of a ministry, I may come into your office someday. When I do, if I don't see "Church Unique" on the shelf, I'll ask you why you're not serious about maximizing your ministry's effectiveness. It's that good.
(In my best LeVar Burton voice) But don't take my word for it...


The Kashuba's said...

point taken...i'll put it on the list. i am planning on reading again soon. i used to really enjoy it.

amanda k.

wmancini said...

Thanks for the book review. I appreciate your thoughts and hope we get to connect down the road. Also, you may enjoy the blog at