Ready, Set, Grow is a thoughtful, well-structured book about how to not only to help increase the size of your church, but more importantly about how to create interconnectivity among your church leaders. The book has a number of strengths to it: its narrative style, the layout of the book, and the additional resources provided both in and after the book proper.
Too many books on leadership read either like and instruction manual on how to assemble your son’s new bicycle or like one of those endless, droning sermons that you keep checking your watch to see how much there is left. Scott Wilson largely avoids this problem by presenting information that he found useful in developing his church in a story format rather than a process paper or a moral lesson. One added benefit to this format is that it develops a sense of suspense. As readers get to know the people involved in Wilson’s 3-year journey, they want to know how the various trials and confrontations worked out. You find yourself cheering for the person that you connect with and frustrated with the one that just cannot get with the program. Another advantage to the narrative structure is that it made the reading of the text smooth. Rather than the start-and-stop feel that is common to type of book, Wilson is able to maintain coherence through his use of this alternative genre.
The structure to this book was also unique. While Wilson does maintain a narrative style, he frequently has recursive chapters where he goes back and looks at how certain events turned out or examines them from a different perspective. While this adds a strong element of clarity to his writing, it also made a few parts a little repetitive. This was not an overwhelming issue, but it could be a mild point of frustration for the reader. The upside to it was that the reader is extraordinarily clear on Wilson’s main points. Usually after one of these recursive chapters, he had a short input for one of his team members in which they offered their take on what Wilson had just talked about. After these short interludes, they offered a few reflective questions for readers to think about. These short breaks are refreshing and help refocus the reader on the topic at had while at the same time reviewing the previous couple of chapters.
Something this book has, that other less scholarly books often seem to leave out, is references to the books and materials that the team found useful. Wilson actually finishes the book not only with a list of first-rate materials but also a link to a website filled with information that could be used by a team wanting to use the model he purposes. While the book is good and offers a number of strategies and approaches that would be beneficial to any church wanting to improve their leadership, it is this list of resources and plans that will be most useful to the pastor that plans to move forward with this strategy.
Trent Nicholson, Ph.D., D.Min.
Desert Bible Institute, President
Dr. Nicholson reviews academic, Christian living, and fiction books for a variety of publishers in an array of formats. He is never paid for any of his reviews. He writes these strictly as a courtesy to his students at Desert Bible Institute and for any other readers that might find his insights valuable.
The book for this review was provided free of charge by My Healthy Church. This book was provided without the expectation or requirement of a positive response. Thank you to both the publisher for the opportunity to both read your advanced copy and to provide this unpaid evaluation. All opinions in this review reflect the views of the author and not DBI or the publisher.