Church & Ministry

Book Review - The Pyramid and the Box


Much has been written on how to do church. Church should be purposeful, simple, deliberate or missional. The building must be inviting and the service disarming. Or the answer might be: we need to major on small groups or a downplayed doctrine. The answers and strategies are as varied as they are plentiful, and the books keep coming as fast as the presses can run. All this attention is not without some merit. There have been some excellent books published and taking time to think through how we do church is certainly time well spent. But of all the books I have seen on the subject of how to do ministry, not a single one is devoted strictly to how decisions should be made in a local church. This important ministry “how to” gets a full Scriptural treatment in Joel Tetreau’s book The Pyramid and the Box: The Decision-Making Process in a Local New Testament Church.

The “pyramid” and the “box”

Twenty years of pastoral ministry stand behind this book. It was written in part “to shed light on the destructive power of poor decision-making” (p. xi).  The book gets its title from two versions of an “institutional” church: “The Pyramid” illustrates the “power-hungry” pastor, who is like “an Egyptian pharaoh, sitting on top of his own pyramid… his own domain” (p. 8). “The Box” illustrates an institutional church consumed more with its “budget, buildings and reputation” than with its people. With both of these approaches to ministry, churches are “acting like cut-throat corporations” who are “willing to discard families or use up individuals” (p. 9). In contrast, “the family church is willing to ‘sell the farm’ if necessary for the sake of its members” (p. 8). Read more about Book Review - The Pyramid and the Box

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