Book Review: Sacred Roots by Jon Tyson

Does church matter? The answer to that question may depend on your faith background, your age, and your perception of what church is in the first place. Sacred Roots: Why the Church Still Matters by Jon Tyson seeks to answer that question as part of the Barna Group Frames collection of quick takes that engage their church research. Their goal is to have less to read, but give more to know.

Frames books are small in size and length. They can be read in one sitting. But their message is powerful. Particularly in engaging research findings. What I appreciated about Sacred Roots is not only how it set the context of the perception of church in American society today and especially with a millennial focus, but how it responded to the situation with positive next steps.

Barna groups paints a picture with the data. Jon Tyson painted a vision of what the church is and can be. Part of Jon’s answer deals with how the church in American society has been influenced by two cultural forces: our love for entertainment and our individualistic driving focus.

Then Jon addresses the issue and does so out of his context of how he has seen church matter in our day and in his location, New York City. The challenge as he sees it is for the American church to shift back to its Sacred Roots:

1. From dabbling to devotion: Spiritual life takes top priority.

2. From transience to permanence: Stay in one place.

3. From preference to proximity: Doing life together.

4. From belief to practices: Faith in action.

Jon’s insights were the best part of this frame for me. The follow up re-frame by Rich Villodas was also helpful, but it would have been better to have someone not from New York City make a contribution. The church in America is more than what happens with the church in New York City.

I give Sacred Roots 4 out of 5 stars. Quick read. Good insights. Though I found it’s applications valuable, there was too much of a New York focus in its application.My thanks to Zondervan publishing for a free copy to review. I wasn’t required to give a positive review just an honest one.


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Filed under Book Review, Leadership and Church

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