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The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church
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The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  504 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
In this provocative book, author, consultant, and church leadership developer Reggie McNeal debunks these and other old assumptions and provides an overall strategy to help church leaders move forward in an entirely different and much more effective way. McNeal identifies the six most important realities that church leaders must address including: recapturing the spirit of ...more
Hardcover, 151 pages
Published October 3rd 2003 by Jossey-Bass
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Mike (the Paladin)
Jul 31, 2012 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book and says some things about the state of the current Church (maybe the word congregations might fit better) that I've already been thinking.

I suppose that always helps to up the rating of a book when it goes into a subject you tend to or partially agree with.

I won't take a stand on this for you. The author looks at (as said before) the state of Christian congregations and what the future of the Christian Church may be and some of the shifts Christians may need to make.
May 26, 2008 Joe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ministry
One of the true challenges for those of us who are a bit more emerging or postmodern or whatever the heck we are, is that our different way of thinking about the world around us is rather natural to us. As a result, when people who hold different views don't seem to get what we're talking about, we're rather clueless on how to explain it.

This is where Reggie McNeal steps in. He's part of the previous generation, and yet, he's become bilingual and has, as a result, a unique ability to see what we
Jeff Elliott
This is the book I wish I had read several years ago! Easily understandable, practical and applicable! I just found a great way to post all the highlights from my kindle (116 of them!)

I feel like I have been playing catchup in trying to bring my older congregation to face the new realities of the world we live in. This book is very helpful.

Here are the highlights:

We also generally think that the present makes sense only in light of the past. Again, we need to check our thinking. The present make
Jan 12, 2008 Gary rated it it was amazing
This book was given to me by a great pastor from Santa Rosa. It is just what I needed. McNeal nails it. But traditionalist will find this book subversive and will seek to ban it from the church.

I find it to be a breath of fresh air and just what we need. It is almost like he read my mind.
Robbie Pruitt
May 24, 2014 Robbie Pruitt rated it really liked it
Reggie McNeal’s book, The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church, addresses the need for the church to move from program driven buildings and bureaucracy back to missional service and disciple making.

In this book, McNeal looks at how the church has been inwardly focused and more like a “club” with a “club mentality”, seeking its own good and interests above the mission of reaching the unsaved and those who are “outside the club.” The local church has become something that is antiquat
Marian Willeke
Jul 20, 2008 Marian Willeke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith
This book is phenomenally thought provoking and instantly provided me a revalation in that I'm not the horrible sinner I previously thought for being burned out and disliking the church club. My frustration with the church was at an all-time peak with the lack of interest in community and what we really need as a people, when Dr. McNeal explains so simply and concisely that it's not Christianity suffering; it's the church club mentality. We're at a position with a world seeking spirituality to b ...more
Apr 05, 2013 Tung rated it liked it
This book is one of the many recent books to point out the American Christian church’s current problems in effectively preaching the gospel and engaging culture. McNeal frames the problem as six big issues: the death of traditional church culture (which McNeal thinks is a good thing), the move away from the church growth and megachurch model (also a good thing), the rise of missional churches, a focus on discipleship, a need for a refined vision for future church models, and reformed church lead ...more
Jeremy Manuel
Sep 23, 2011 Jeremy Manuel rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
This is a book that is more interested in addressing problems that have crept into the Western church than providing a model to emulate. If you are okay with having your thoughts about church challenged and left to think about the best way to find solutions to the problems that McNeal addresses then this is a book for you. McNeal doesn't give you easy models or answers, but he does challenge old ways of doing things. Even though it has been eight years since this edition it is still a very relev ...more
Ryan Fisher
This was a pretty tremendous work. The author pushed a lot of boundaries in critiquing the present and the future of the church and the changes that are necessary in order to make the two become one. The book was essentially a rant by the author expressing a lot of the things he is frustrated with the church about and the ways that he things they could be improved upon. If he were a younger man or someone with less clout he would probably be labeled a troublemaker or worse... an idealist. Having ...more
Ray Boshers
Jan 26, 2016 Ray Boshers rated it liked it
This book is well written and the information provided is easily understood. My rating comes from the questions being asked. While the six questions the writer puts forth are important, they are not the "tough" questions the church should be asking. Many people will find this book helpful for the information it provides, provided they are asking those questions presented. Overall, I would rate 3.4. I am not discouraging anyone from reading this book, just look at the questions to see if they are ...more
The Church in North America is slowly drying up as congregations age and endowments from previous generations dwindle. Many churches have responded by attempting to preserve their churches rather than advancing the Faith once received. In this work Reggie McNeal sounds a clarion call for the North American Church to rethink its ethos as we enter an increasingly Post-Modern, Post-Parochial, Post-Christian, and Post-Literate society. Written as a clear polemic, McNeal does not merely stop at layin ...more
Jan 23, 2014 Paul rated it did not like it
The author sets up straw men and knocks them down with solutions from an emergent philosophy. There are some truths addressed, but the redemptive power of the spirit and the word is never addressed as a possible solution. Everyone can complain about their parents, but really, is there any good to come of it? That is the kind of treatment the church receives from this guy. There is a blame America first crowd out there and this blame the church first philosophy is about as productive as that. An ...more
Jul 19, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
This book by Reggie McNeal is absolutely not for the "Church" goer who is looking for a pat on the back, and a "Job Well Done", but if you are interested in answering questions like "Can the Church be saved" or "Is Christianity Outdated" this is the book for you. The Six Tough Questions for the Church are direct and will be addressed either by action or inaction, while these are questions that will effect the "Church" they will be answered one person at a time. An excellent book, with a very ser ...more
Jake Brock
Jan 13, 2016 Jake Brock rated it liked it
McNeal makes several valid and useful points in his work. However, the conclusions and solutions he draws from his analysis of post-modern culture and the church are often misguided and contradictory to other points and assertions made in the book. Although he issues disclaimers to the contrary, the author frequently appears to border dangerously on emphasizing his notions of cultural relevance at the expense of clear New Testament teachings concerning the church. The Christian leader should rea ...more
Daniel Wells
Jul 29, 2013 Daniel Wells rated it it was amazing
I wish I had read this book when it came out 10 years ago (though I might not have been prepared to receive it). McNeal is still on the bullseye. This book doesn't specify the details of the kinds if shifts the church should engage, but he liberates the church to consider the surrounding culture, traditional church practices, and how God is at work to redeem the world.

This might be he best introductory book to the missional church dialogue for anyone wishing to dive into the subject. Highly reco
Craig Kendall
Nov 15, 2008 Craig Kendall rated it really liked it
One of the key books I read early on as I re-discovered reading as a tool to keep me moving forward. This book challenges a person's thoughts about "church" and the christian community. I agree with some reviews I've read that the latter part of the book appears to be weak in presenting solutions... but I would need to go back and re-read it based on all the changes that it helped initiate. I'm guessing I would have a little different perspective now.
Fraser Coltman
Sep 22, 2014 Fraser Coltman rated it liked it
This is an upsetting book to read, but intentionally so. The author explains the cultural change ongoing in North America and its effect on the Church. He also laments the inadequate preparation of the Church for responding to the situation, and he sets out a framework for changing the Church's response from its present refuge mentality to a mission focus. It is a book to be read thoughtfully, prayerfully, and with others to discuss its conclusions and practice its directives.
David Smith
Jul 24, 2013 David Smith rated it really liked it
I read this book 10 years after it's publication, and much of it is still true and helpful. For those who need a challenging and honest critique of the traditional American church, this is the book to read. McNeal points out how we tend to ask the wrong questions and which questions we need to be asking. They lead to very different answers.
Feb 20, 2012 Scott rated it it was amazing
McNeal challenges churches to rethink the way they are doing ministry. By focusing on six questions, he looks at 6 areas of ministry, showing how the way things have always been done must really be rethought. I highly recomend to anyone who believes that Christianity needs to be lived out in the world and not just behind our church doors.
Feb 17, 2008 Lori rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 30, 2009 Krystal rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009-books
I rounded up - this would be a 2.5. It does have some interessting ideas about the future of the church, but I just found it really dry and hard to get through. I enver would have picked it up on my own, bute read it for a leadership group at church. That said, it took me 3 months to get through it.
Feb 04, 2009 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious
I've read a lot of books on this topic but this book is as readable, concise review of today's church and what must take place for Christianity to make a significant impact on the world in the future as any I've read. I was surprised by the content because the cover is a bit old school. The content however is fresh, revelant and easy to digest.
John Bowersox
Aug 08, 2012 John Bowersox rated it it was amazing
This book is by far one of the most challenging and yet encouraging books I have ever read. For a few years now I have felt and known that there is something very wrong with the way most Christians view church.

This book was a major encouragement to me personally. While I may still be in the minority, I know that I am not the only one that feels the need for change.
James Nasipak
Aug 24, 2014 James Nasipak rated it it was amazing
Reggie McNeal challenges the Church and the missiology it is willing to use to further the Gospel. McNeal offers that looking back can lead to the future that brings about the greatest changes in world. I would recommend this book to leaders looking to move their church forward.
Abby Tamkin
May 28, 2012 Abby Tamkin rated it really liked it
was a good discussion starter for small group, but the book itself wasn't all that practical -it just raised questions. to be fair, he said he was just going to raise questions and not answer them, in this book at least.
Michael Brennan
This book shows the necessary future thinking of missional Christians. The Church needs to think seriously about the ecclesiastical philosophies that drive sermons, programs, discipleship, and other areas of ministry that are currently falling short.
Aug 15, 2012 Jeanette rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read if you recognize that current church culture is not reflecting the heart of the gospel nor impacting our communities. The author's label of "church club member" may step on your toes, so only read if you are feeling courageous.
Jan 24, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it
This is another work assignment read. It has some very interesting insights into what the church of today misses out on and what opportunities lie ahead if taken advantage of. (I know, too many ending with prepositions.) Very thought-provoking.
May 28, 2013 Leanda rated it really liked it
An excellent book that looks at some of the problems with the way Christianity is currently being dished out. Some aspects of where it is going wrong in sharing the gospel with the postmodern world we are moving into and living in now.
Vonna Marcus
Very insightful and right on target for where Christianity of 2010 is heading today. Reality checks abound all through the book. There is a difference between people who think like missionaries and people who think like church club members.
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“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9,” 0 likes
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