Ministry Tools

George Barna describes church in the New Millenium, Workbook helps believers Embrace the Holy Spirit, New Jersey church's Passionate Worship, Software offers guide to Evangelism and Church Growth


Taking the Gospel Into the Millennium
Boiling Point: It Only Takes One Degree
By George Barna & Mark Hatch
Regal Books
hardcover, $19.99
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg

Ten years after his best-selling The Frog in the Kettle, research specialist George Barna is at it again. His latest title examines the church in the new millennium--where we are and, more importantly, where we're going.

Similar to his previous groundbreaking title, each chapter begins with a description of the life of Jill, a fictitious character, in the year 2010. The passages examine her struggles with relationships, need for purpose and interaction with the new technology that surrounds her.

The short introductions provide a sense of what a typical person's story will be like at the end of the decade. But the meat of the book is found in 13 chapters that project what the world will be like in terms of demographics, technology, values, business, politics, government and the economy.

While the title is strewn with statistics, it's done in such a way that anyone can read and understand their implications.

There's a sense of urgency that echoes throughout the book. While serious, Barna and Mark Hatch point to Christ, prayer, involvement and the Bible as basic answers. This extremely well-researched and well-written book is a must-have for church leaders and laity who want to avoid losing ground in the next 10 years.

Experiencing the Holy Spirit

By Larry Keefauver
Thomas Nelson
192 pages, paperback, $15.99
Reviewed by John M. De Marco

Ministries Today editor Larry Keefauver has compiled a work that hinges on several key truths concerning the person and activity of the Holy Spirit. Keefauver's book invites readers along a 12-week journey through Scripture that unlocks the unceasing Spirit who pursues relationship, convicts and comforts us, provides spiritual gifts, and empowers believers to witness, serve and minister in Jesus' name.

The workbook is structured along four areas of encountering the Holy Spirit: meeting Him, experiencing His presence, becoming empowered by Him and walking in Him.

Daily exercises found in each chapter are designed to help the reader explore God's Word, examine his or her own spiritual condition and experience the Spirit at work.

Readers are encouraged to interact with Scripture and reflect on its interpretation, connecting its timeless meaning with its relevance for their current life situations. It is through these applications that the reader's eyes are gradually opened to see the reality of the Holy Spirit at work. The book is a valuable tool for the Christian who hungers for a deeper understanding of the Spirit's role but has been unable to organize his or her own approach for comprehensively encountering the third person of the Trinity.

>The book also can help believers cut through some of the distortions about the Holy Spirit often found in pop theology.

Sunday school classes, cell groups, Bible studies and specialty study groups are the suggested forums for the use of Keefauver's workbook. Pointers for group leaders and facilitators are included in the appendix.


Church Worship

Agape Live
By Agape Family Worship Center Impact Records
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines

Agape Family Worship Center, a growing charismatic church in Rahway, N.J., takes congregational worship to another level with its recent recording, Agape Live. The project kicks off with an explosive start with "Let's All Worship," an electrifying praise tune laced with a Caribbean flair that could motivate even conservative congregants to get out of their seats.

Followed up with the popular "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High," the disc manages to maintain its energy and passion throughout.

Marked by both strong production and orchestration, the release features mostly original songs written by members of the worship team as well as Agape's pastor, Lawrence Powell.

One of the standout cuts is "I Will Joy," a beautiful worship tune that expresses a determination to rejoice in God no matter what the situation. All in all, Agape Live is a stellar independent release that demonstrates the maturity of congregational worship.


Simple Sermon Prep

Evangelism and Church Growth
By Regal Books, $29.99
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines

Gospel Light has released a comprehensive CD-ROM featuring the complete works of 21 contemporary authors such as C. Peter Wagner, Ed Silvoso and George Barna. Evangelism and Church Growth, part of a growing reference library, compiles the texts of books such as Wagner's Churchquake! and Silvoso's That None Should Perish.

The software also includes reference works such as Foxe's Book of Martyrs, several Bible translations, commentaries and maps.

Though initially difficult to navigate, the CD-ROM offers indexes by topic along with the word search engine. For example, a search for "spiritual gifts" takes users to passages in Wagner's Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow. Equipped with some of the leading voices in church growth and evangelism, this resource can prove invaluable to busy pastors who don't have time to read the varied works included.

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