The first several chapters are quite compelling, and he obviously knows whereof he speaks. Yet he manages to do so in a way that doesn't denigrate those who may not share his perspective. The majority of the book makes the case for and presents helpful how-to for a church made up of sermon-based small group discussions. I found myself wishing he had expanded beyond that argument to include other ways to make a church "sticky," but he obviously believes that promoting sermon-based small groups is pretty much the most important information he could share.
Some of my favorite quotes from the book (all from the first few chapters):
No matter what the church does to expand the size of the front door, it's going to be hard to keep reaching people when the predominant word on the street is, "I used to go there" (p. 18).
I'm not saying we never have people walk out the back door. Of course we do. And sometimes it's more than a few--usually over some great theological issue like allowing coffee in the sanctuary, changing the worship style, or using the subwoofers at full capacity (p. 20).
The most important number to know about North Coast Church is not the weekend attendance. It's the percentage of adults who participate in one of our small groups. Since 1985 that number has equaled at least 80 percent of our average weekend attendance (p. 21).
The decision to stop advertising forced us to grow by word of mouth....People who come through the front door of a church through word-of-mouth referrals have a fundamentally different experience than do those who come as the result of a marketing campaign (p. 27).
A sticky church needs a healthy leadership team composed of people who genuinely like one another, share the same vision, and pull in the same direction. It's hard to close the back door when everyone is headed a different direction or there's an under-current of distrust and conflict. And if board members leave the church once their term is up, it's pretty tough to close the back door for everyone else (p. 29).
Happy sheep are incurable word-of-mouth marketers (p. 31).
One of the most basic laws of retention: Whatever you do to reach people you have to continue to do to keep them (p. 31).
The ultimate goal of a sermon-based small group is simply to velcro people to the two things they will need most when faced with a need-to-know or need-to-grow situation: the Bible and other Christians (p. 43).