Autopsy Inconclusive: A Review of The Autopsy of a Deceased Church by Thom Rainer



I guess that this book should be easy for me to review. I am a fan, so to speak, of Mr. Rainer. After having read and reviewed many books, there are only two that I use in pastoral ministry, one of which is his earlier work, I Am a Church Member. I highly recommend that for pastors and leaders who are looking at adding new members to their church. My review of I Am a Church Member can be found here.

Let me start by describing the book. Like some volumes that came out about ten years ago, Autopsy of a Deceased Church is a little book with a potentially big impact. It is an inexpensive hardback consisting of 102 pages. The book is an easy read. It is also very practical.

I guess my quandary is its audience. Those who need it most probably wouldn’t pick it up. They are the church killers. Their work is amply shown in the pages of this volume. They are territorial, carnal, “it’s my church” kind of people. What is sad is that, in my experience at least, these people who are such a burden to churches and pastors are also such a blessing. This Jekyll and Hyde kind of member really impacts those pastors and churches to a large degree.

As a pastor, I think its greatest impact on me is making sure that I am not like the tenured pastor described within. As a minister who has thus far invested almost 18 years in one body of believers, I have to be diligent to make sure that my tendencies to be a stabilizer don’t translate into being a peace at any price kind of minister. One of my greatest takeaways is to ensure that my ministry to those outside of the body of believers is a priority personally and to keep making it a priority in our church.

Another thing that was difficult for me to assess is where our church fits. I wonder how many people does it take and how much power must they wield to make what describes them descriptive of the body as a whole? Personally, I believe only one negative assessment, maybe two, could be worrisome for our overall church’s health and vitality.

All of that being said, for a variety of reasons, this is a book worth reading. If you are concerned about your church’s health, you may wish to analyze it from the perspective of what killed so many other churches. As a minister of the Gospel, this book may wake you up to ways you may be contributing to the death of your church or how to assist in its turning around. Do you think the good days of your church have long since passed? Then this work may point you to a remedy for what ails your body of believers.

I would give this book three out of five stars
I received this book from BH Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

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