cover image Breakthrough: Trusting God for Big Change in Your Church

Breakthrough: Trusting God for Big Change in Your Church

Dawn Darwin Weaks. Chalice, $16.99 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-0-8272-0328-0

This prosaic volume by pastor Weaks (A Travel Guide to Christian Faith) chronicles the author’s success reviving a dying church. The author details how in the mid-2010s she was recruited to co-pastor the century-old First Christian Church in Odessa, Tex., and increase its shrinking congregation. The next several years saw her usher it through major changes that included moving from an off the beaten path spot to a more centrally located former medical office building and changing the church’s name to Connection Christian Church. Weaks describes her inauspicious start in Odessa preaching to fewer than 50, as well as how she took steps to breathe new life into the church, such as hosting a day-care center for young kids in the building and getting involved in the community with programs to feed food-insecure children. The Covid-19 pandemic led Weaks to hold “ ‘Drive-In’ worship” in the church’s parking lot while making services available online, which helped ensure the church continued to grow even as the country went into lockdown. The lack of prescriptive advice on how readers might apply Weaks’s principles to their own churches means this rides on the quality of its story, which dutifully if exhaustingly discusses the administrative considerations in being a pastor in so much detail that this brief volume feels padded. Pastors may find Weaks’s story useful, but others won’t see the point. (Sept.)