Scrappy Church: Why I Have Hope for More Than 100,000 Churches in North America

The baby arrived!

The baby is my book, Scrappy Church. And I am excited about this book. I am very excited about this book. I am very, very excited about this book.

Did I mention I am excited about this book?

The Profound Hope

Sure, I love it when a new book arrives. But this one is really not about me. It was not about perspectives from my supposed expert lens.

It is a report on hope. It is a report from the trenches of spiritual warfare. It is a report of churches that are really revitalizing. Against all human odds. Defying all conventional wisdom. Demonstrating that God is not done with them.


I have taken real stories and real research of real churches that are in a new mode of revitalization. I share their stories. More powerfully, I share God’s stories and the hope God gives.

The Scrappy Factor

I call them “scrappy churches.” They have leaders and members who are tenacious, who refuse to give up, who have long-term perspectives, who are willing to take two steps backward and three steps forward.

These churches are turning around. They are revitalizing. They are changing their communities. For the first time in years, maybe decades, these churches have hope.

In all candor, I see the beginning of a movement of profound church revitalization in so many congregations. It’s still in the early stages. It’s still tough. But it’s very real. And if the pattern continues, we could see as many as 100,000 churches move from decline to growth, ineffectiveness to effectiveness, divisiveness to unity, and hopelessness to hope.

It is indeed a scrappy church revolution.

A Season of Defining Reality

For the past few years, I have written and spoken on the plight of many congregations. Some of my communications have been hard hitting and even unpleasant. Some of you have taken issue with my candor.

I get that.

But I have had a deep burden to define reality for our churches. We will not be willing to change unless we see reality. Pain must precede change. And we must change or die.

To be clear, I will not abandon defining reality. It is still necessary. There are still many, many church leaders and church members who refuse to get their heads out of the sand.

My emphasis, however, will be shifting. I will communicate more and more about what God is doing in churches that are truly revitalizing. I want us to hear more of what God is doing rather than what men and women are refusing to do.

Church Revitalization and the Scrappy Church

My first step of hope will not only be sharing stories but discerning how God is specifically working in scrappy churches. And though I will never suggest we can discover some formulaic or programmatic answer to church revitalization, we can observe the work of God and discern how that work might apply to our church and our context.

So, in my blog post on Wednesday, I will share with you some of the key characteristics of scrappy churches. I am so excited!

Did I mention to you how excited I am about this book?

Even more, did I mention how excited I am about the scrappy church revolution?

God is doing a great work in places where He supposedly left years ago.

The scrappy church revolution has begun!

Posted on September 24, 2018

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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