Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

When Better Isn't Enough: Evaluation Tools for the Twenty-First-Century Church

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

When Better Isn't Enough: Evaluation Tools for the Twenty-First-Century Church

Article excerpt

When Better Isn't Enough: Evaluation Tools for the Twenty-First-Century Church. By Jill M. Hudson. Herndon, Va.: Alban Institute, 2004. xii + 170 pp. $16.00 (paper).

Books on the impact of postmodernism on the church abound. Particularly over the past few years, theologians, sociologists, and church leaders have decried the lack of ability of mainline denominations to respond to the cultural shifts at hand. Concern is warranted: overall, more mainline congregations are in decline than experiencing growth. Though researchers have noted that North America is currently experiencing a "spiritual awakening" or a "new reformation," the spiritually hungry of the twenty-first century are not flooding existing congregations, but comfortably responding to a wide range of religious practices and traditions. Regrettably, in this age of transition the response of many churches is to strive to stabilize the situation, and repeat what has been done in the past. The result of this tendency is that the world has changed, but the church has not, and the same old things we did before do not seem to make a difference.

Jill M. Hudson's book, When Better Isn't Enough: Evaluation Tools for the Twenty-First-Ccntury Church, is designed to make church leaders face the hard realities of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ today, and provides a new paradigm for ministry in a new century. Throughout, she maintains that we need a new form of evaluation if we are accurately to assess the effectiveness of church leadership-the whole people of God and professional staff-in this new era. Further, the book goes beyond the evaluation tools promised in the title, and opens up the possibility of new forms of ministry and partnership for congregations seriously considering their future. Evaluation in this book is less about dwelling on past failures and resting on our laurels, and more about learning from mistakes and using success as motivation to move forward.

Jill Hudson views the postmodern era as a time of tremendous opportunity for the church. …

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