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Nora St. Laurent’s Review, “Who Killed My Church?”

Nora St. Laurent reviews James Shupp's 'Who Killed My Church?' This powerful story reminded me of Francine Rivers’ novel And the Shofar Blew that portrayed a pastor taking his first church assignment; trying to do all the right things. He soon encounters unexpected obstacles to navigate; as he tries to not lose his family in the process. It also reminded me of another dramatic fiction – true to life story written by Randall Arthur titled Wisdom Hunter. This novel reveals aspects of an unhealthy church. It shows a legalistic pastor facing tragedy and for the first time realizes he’s played God in his own life and that of others. He then encounters God like never before, it’s a life changer.

Who Killed My Church? falls in line with these intense-true to life novels. This author grabbed my heart and attention from the very first page and never let go. Churches all across America are facing the same issues Pastor Pete is facing at Green Street Church. This scenario is all too common as pastors and church members lose their way and try to recapture the spirit and momentum of the glory days.

Pete’s been the senior pastor of Green Street Church for five years and in ministry for 25. Offerings were down, which led to pleading for money from the pulpit; which led to people quietly leaving the church. Why wasn’t this church growing? What was going wrong? He thought he was chosen to restore this church back to its spiritual heyday. This wasn’t supposed to happen on Pete’s watch.

The board was calling for a change, Pete suggests a direction they hadn’t expected. They needed help in uncovering why everything they tried at Green Street failed. In walks Marcus Cunningham, a church consultant, author, founder of Movement Strategies. Marcus talks to the board about the life cycle of churches. I found it fascinating and true. Marcus shares, “…Churches start out as movements; then they become monuments, next museums, and finally morgues.” “…changes are happening everywhere. I travel from church to church across the country, and the issues are remarkably similar. For every new church that opens, 4 close their doors. 85% of churches in America are either plateaued or declining…”

Green Street church is in the middle of a spiritual battle for its life and that of their community. Green Street has been a thriving church. What’s gone wrong? This author gives readers a peek at a church and its people who are willing to take God out of the box they’ve placed Him in. They start to see with new eyes and have a fresh awareness of how God is working in their community. They are amazed. It reminded me of the Bible study my husband and I did years ago titled, Experiencing God. It was a powerful and life changing experience. Just like the study this book will open your eyes and heart in unexpected ways if you let it.

I highly recommend Who Killed My Church? as a book club pick, there is so much to discuss. I also recommend it as a must read for the body of Christ. I wonder how many Christians have given much thought to the situation the church is in right now. Many churches in America are in trouble. This novel touches on just one scenario. It’s a fascinating, disturbing and hopeful read. You won’t look at church or your pastor the same. This author has a unique point of view on this matter because he has been in ministry for over 20 years and is currently in the process of helping to heal churches so they can be vibrant and meaningful again. I’m excited to see where this author will take readers in the next book of this series. Visit Nora’s Blog

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R. James Shupp is an accidental author, pastor of the Movement Church of San Antonio, and CEO of He specializes in helping churches thrive.

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