Review for “Transforming Church in Rural America” by Shannon O’Dell
When I was asked to review “Transforming Church in Rural America” by Shannon O’Dell, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But coming from a small town and having attended rural churches on and off throughout my life, I was interested to read what a pastor who has defied all of the odds in rural America had discovered.
I must admit that I am hesitant to critique this book too strongly because although there are definitely areas to improve, the underlying foundation is obviously a deeply rooted passion for Christ.
My first visual impression of the book was negative. The cover and interior are more reminiscent of a poorly done self-published book than one done through an established publisher. There is a very noticeable lack of editing or proofing done which became distracting as I read. The “shameless self promotion” which could be found in every chapter of the book served to be the greatest distraction of all. And it was completely unnecessary because what God has done through this man will sell itself.
I appreciated the honesty poured out by this first-time author. I was challenged by the content of each chapter, and I loved the constant exhortation to seek excellence in all we do for the Lord. The author’s true voice comes shining through in the final chapter as he leaves the reader inspired, motivated and ready to take on the world for Christ. I would have liked to have seen more of that throughout the entire book.
I have recommended this book to anyone building a church or ministry. This is not a sugar coated message, and it serves to remind those called to ministry that this life is not for the faint of heart. But with the call of God, the heart of a leader and a strong emphasis on V.A.L.U.E.’s, God can use you to reach the world with His message.