In the introduction of “Fusion,” Steve Stroope, senior pastor of Lake Pointe Church, writes that Nelson Searcy is a practitioner, not just a theorist. He also says, “unless God is involved and his Spirit is blowing across our lives, no amount of structure in the church will produce spiritual growth.” So, whether or not you agree with anything else that is contained within this book, it’s hard to be uber critical of Searcy for two reasons: he practices what he preaches and his sole desire is to point people to Jesus. Both of those reasons are evident throughout this book.
As I was reading this book, every time I would find myself doubting Searcy’s methods and even questioning some of his motives, he would continue to point his readers to the fact that his primary desire isn’t to grow his church but to point people to a relationship with Jesus Christ. While it can sometimes feel as if the method used by Searcy’s Journey Church is too calculated and idealistic, everything he shares comes from what they have practiced, all of which has been found effective.
So much of what is shared within “Fusion” has to do with intentionality and purpose. If you don’t have a plan in place to draw and keep visitors, then you shouldn’t be surprised when first time visitors quickly turn into last time visitors as well. Searcy even challenges his readers that it is our responsibility as followers of Christ to show hospitality to everyone that God brings us.
Some people may grow uncomfortable with treating the church like a business, but Searcy says that businesses actually do a better job than churches of showing hospitality. Searcy writes that visitors will decide within the first seven minutes of their visit whether or not they will give your church a second chance.
Everything that is written here is practical and able to be practiced. Intentionality and strategy seem to be the name of the game as Searcy freely shares many resources that are used by his church. There is an appendix including many of the tools and resources that Searcy’s church uses. He points the reader towards a website where they can gain access to additional resources. Searcy seems determined for people to succeed at assimilating people into their churches.
It could be easy for someone in Searcy’s position to come across as arrogant or pompous, but I never got that sense from him in this book. He writes as someone who genuinely wants to share with others the success that he has experienced. I never felt like there was anything other than a humble tone from Searcy in this book, which is what makes it that much more compelling, at least to me. It’s hard not to read this book and feel encouraged, invigorated, and ready to go and tackle the awesome task and responsibility of assimilating visitors into the life and service of your church.
If you and your church have struggled to get visitors to stick and stay or even if you just want to find some additional tested and tried methods of making this happen, “Fusion” is worth your time. I would be very surprised if someone who really wants to implement a system of assimilation into their church didn’t find this book incredibly helpful.
(This review is based upon a copy of this book which was provided free of charge from Baker Books. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.)