Giant Awekenings: Making the Most og 9 Surprising Trends that Can Benefit Your Church

By Thom S. Ranier
Nashville : Broadman & Holman (1995). 198 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Richard Mayhue
7.2 (Fall 1996) : 285-285

Thom S. Ranier, founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville has brought great insight and balance to understanding what is happening in the local church today. Most pastors feel like they are caught in the cross fire of two sides at the "OK corral." On one side are those advocating the "traditional church" in opposition to those who are promoting the "contemporary church." Ranier brings a fresh perspective on being a "biblical church."

He looks back over the last ten years (1986-95) and surveys the scene of major and potentially alarming trends and change in the church that are rooted in the soil of "contemporary church growth" and "being contemporary." Based on his recent visits to a large number of churches around the country, his opinion is that the tide is turning back to the Scriptures to evaluate what the church should be and what the church should not be. He very optimistically looks forward to the next ten years (1996-2005). In this reviewer's opinion, his assessment and advice are thoroughly biblical, worthy of prayerful consideration by every pastor in America.

Ranier places a strong emphasis on the following essentials for the local church: (1) a biblical model of ministry, (2) expository preaching, (3) holy worship, (4) scriptural evangelism, (5) lay involvement, (6) fervent prayer, and (7) a rapid return to theology as the foundation for all that is done in the church.