Book Reviews: God Dreams and Big Elmer

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God Dreams: 12 Vision Templates for Finding and Focusing Your Church’s Future

By Will Mancini (B&H Publishing Group)

God Dreams 130I was privileged to attend a national conference of intentional interim ministry pastors, where the author of God Dreams, Will Mancini, was the plenary speaker. I was greatly impressed with his deep grasp of the problems and issues of church mission statements, while demonstrating what meaningful visioning results should look like. God Dreams continues the work of that conference and of Mancini’s pivotal first book, Church Unique, by helping churches discover their unique kingdom work for their communities.

Most mission focuses end up creating vague, generic, uninspiring and unhelpful mission statements. Mancini, on the other hand, shows there are many types of specific and focused missions, any one of which could be God’s calling for a church. The author explores four distinct areas of focus, each with three options, for a total of 12 common missions that churches might consider.

A church’s primary mission/purpose/focus, for instance, might be multiplying church leaders to send out to help other ministries, or trying to reach a specific people group, or meeting real needs during real crises. Mancini jump-starts these, plus the nine other options, with templates that include ways to lead a church to discover what its prime focus should be.

God Dreams is not just a book to read. It is like experiencing a Will Mancini workshop and leaving with tools that can be put into immediate action. It can, in fact, serve as a workbook churches can follow to find a way to pursue God’s will for their focal ministry.

Karl Fickling, director of interim church services

Baptist General Convention of Texas


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Big Elmer

By Ted E. Hurlburt (WestBow Press)

Big Elmer 130Ted Hurlburt takes the reader to a world of wrestling and corruption as the main character, Elmer, accidently kills his opponent during a wrestling match. Guilt- and grief-ridden Elmer accepts Christ and vows never to return to the ring. Instead, he starts a new adventure—sharing the love of Christ and the gift of grace in a Mafia-controlled neighborhood.

The author highlights Elmer’s large hands throughout the book, writing: “When you place your strong hands in his, Christ places his strong love in your heart.”

Hurlburt expresses a clear message throughout Big Elmer: God’s great love and gift of grace wash away all guilt and shame.

Bobbie Bomar-Brown

Estes Park, Colorado


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