Reviews in more detail
'Very Readable – Fresh and refreshing – Thought provoking – Challenging – Provocative – Wide ranging – Extensively researched - Rightly disturbing! The authors are right to challenge the Institutional Church model as all too often the organisation has become static and ceased to be a dynamic organism. They present the model of the Person Centred Church in persuasive and practical terms with real life examples. Church leaders ignore this thought provoking challenge at their peril.
Catherine and Sean are also right to stress that in many traditional churches a mixed economy may be the realistic way to start without losing sight of the ultimate goal. However they warn us, that if we simply ‘blu-tack our Person Centred values onto an institutional model they have a habit of falling off.
...Their challenge is relevant and will not just go away.' Bishop Michael Whinney, Honorary assistant bishop, Birmingham Diocese
'Church Uncorked is a thought provoking call to action for anyone in church leadership who wants less stress and more impact! Sean and Catherine pull together trends and practical tools in an engaging style, signposting a powerful future for Christian life and contribution.' Carole Milligan, Kingscompass, Christian Coach Trainer
'I wholeheartedly recommend that you read this book. It is well-written, earthed in personal experience, informed by living faith and motivated by love for people (with all our oddities, frailties and latent potential) and the church (with all our oddities, frailties and latent potential!). It refreshes with quirky humour, personal stories kindly told, candour, grace and loads of help to think differently and to do creatively. It aims to help you to release the treasure of the people God has put around you so that our communities are "uncorked" to let God's Life flow everywhere to everyone. Please join me in raising your glass to that!' Rev Gordon Crowther, The Church of the Holy Spirit, Cape Town, South Africa
'When I got to the end of this book I heard myself saying out loud, 'Wow, that’s good stuff!' This ambitious book plans a developmental journey for the reader. But you find you want to go on because this is easy to read and honest (with delightful touches of humour) - putting into words issues you may have been aware of at some level but not yet brought to the surface, or perhaps the authors are bravely publicising issues that you’ve known about but not had the courage or opportunity to challenge aloud.
The authors have done a huge amount of research, talking to countless church attenders and church leaders and drawing examples, so you can feel confident in their conclusions.
They spend time putting the case for changing our paradigms, and throughout the book there are many case studies - written in a friendly and light-hearted style, even as they deal with quite sad stories sometimes, and they help the reader get the point, often because you will be able to relate them to situations in your own life or church experiences.
Books in this genre usually try to challenge people’s paradigms, but don’t then go on to the “how to” bit. The book has practical advice if you want to make the change in your church with excellent sections on communication, change, listening skills and dealing with conflict.
For leaders who are already somewhere along this journey, it is a book that will encourage and also help them explain to others where they are, or what they are doing. On the very last page, summed up in one little phrase is why a church leader might want to make this journey - "All the person centred leaders we spoke to ... were relaxed and comfortable ... Perhaps it was because they were released from the pressure of making things happen …” Are you a church leader who sometimes feels the pressure is a little too much? Then read this book - it will help.' Isobel Webster, Associate Pastor, BA Theology, ICC Dip, MBTI Practitioner, Cottege Beck Café Church, Scunthorpe, www.cafechurch.com
'Church Uncorked offers us a very real opportunity to ‘think again’. As I read this book it felt like someone was having a conversation with me – one that was both challenging and inspiring. There can be no doubt their words are thought-provoking and at times uncomfortable, especially for people like me – shaped by the ‘Institutional church model’. Catherine and Sean bring fresh perspective to re-imagining church life and a very real hope of engaging ‘Christ followers’ who, to quote their words, “felt they had nothing to offer, or had been discounted and written off, coming to life, finding new confidence and purpose”. There is much to process in this book, but the way it is written and framed makes it accessible and easy to return to time and again. And return to it we must if we are to wrestle with the questions, challenges and potential opportunities it offers to us as the gathered and scattered community of God’s people in the changing landscape of the twenty-first century.’ Rev Francis Rutledge, Northern Ireland
'Lots of books outline the problems of current church leadership. Here is one that provides an answer. More a manual than a manifesto, Church Uncorked will help any leader wanting to develop people's God given potential in ways that are honest and genuine. If you want to lead in a coaching kind of way, this book will tell you how to do it.' Rev Keith Mobberley, Rector of the North Ferncumbe Benefice, Warwickshire.
'As I read this hugely engaging book I began to understand why and how a change in the traditional church leadership model and approach could radically impact 21st century church, making it relevant to the here and now for both believers and God seekers. This offers a transformational leadership approach that can engage all walks of life and communities; the only catch is that leaders themselves have to change, and the traditional church members have to be re-energised into following their passions and their God-given gifting and desires. Drawing from a biblical base and using real case studies, this book presents some practical models for the church leader who wants to empower their congregation and release real passion for the gospel message. It also offers some skills and approaches to help the important changes take place in your own leadership style and that of your followers. A refreshing and energising approach for leaders and followers alike.' Dr Barbara Workman, Higher Education Consultant, National Teaching Fellow, Dip Coach Mentoring
'I enjoyed this book immensely. It is a great combination of biblical context, personal examples and theoretical frameworks all seamlessly combined into an easy and informative read. The book challenges all Christians in a thought provoking and constructive manner. I was left looking again at some of the practices both helpful and unhelpful that I have experienced in several churches. But after offering some important challenges, the book goes on to provide alternative constructive ways forward that are within the grasp of us all. Both Sean and Catherine's authenticity, compassion and heart for God come over loud and clear in this inspiring and valuable book.' Lesley Matile, Motivational coach, coach trainer, supervisor, speaker workshop trainer, www.ppcoaching.co.uk
'I highly recommend Church Uncorked as a great read for busy church leaders. Although it deals with serious issues about how so often the institutional model of church predominates and hinders the work of God, it is all communicated in a fresh, humorous and easy to read style with plenty of interesting examples and anecdotes. The authors strongly argue their case for a bottom up and person centred model of church where under the guidance of the Spirit the natural gifting of those who attend determines the vision and its outworking.' David Pott, Founder of the Two Saints Way and Flag Up Scotland Jamaica.
'If you dream of a church that starts with people, their gifts and energies, and is shaped around them, instead of a church that fits its people into its institutional structures, then this could be the book for you. Catherine Cowell and Sean Kennedy write persuasively about their enthusiastic belief in person-centred churches – what they look like, how they work and how to lead and manage them. In their view “releasing people and getting them motivated is the Holy Grail of Christian leadership”, and their book contains a generous bag of ideas, stories and resources for the task.' Charles Worth, MBTI Practitioner, Perceive Training.