Book Review: Pull – Making Your Church Magnetic

PULL by Bob FranquizOver the past 25 years, there have been many great books on how to make church better. I’ve read many of them and each one offers a unique perspective on the topics of what to do, how to do it and why do it? Bob Franquiz’s book, Pull – Making Your Church Magnetic is a great example of this kind of book.

To give a bit of historical background, there has been much debate in the past two decades on the best way to grow a healthy church. For many years the main method was the invitational approach. In this line of thinking, the “product” at your church is so important and relevant, you merely need to invite people to come and hear the message, and they will show up. And their lives will be changed. Yet more recently, there’s been a different methodology embraced by many. Some suggest an incarnational approach recognizes that people will not respond to an invitation to visit a church. So instead of inviting friends and neighbors, a believer should simply allow God to be formed in him or her, share that experience with others, and they will eventually accept Christ. Volumes have been written about this and other approaches to building God’s Church and fulfilling His Great Commission. This blog entry will not attempt to repeat that.

Additionally, phrases like “externally focused”, “missional”, and “emergent” tend to muddy the water and confuse many. But Franquiz is definitely in the attractional camp of doing church, and Pull gives many specifics on how to make church irresistible. I’ve chosen three themes in his book to point out.

Franquiz provides great insight on creating a specific culture of evangelism and serving, to name a few. He says that culture defines what is acceptable, expected, and appropriate. It’s clear that he pays close attention to the culture at his church, and extols the benefits of having a well-defined church culture. He says that “culture overrides almost everything. It trumps rules, systems, and even common sense.” As part of a healthy church culture, Franquiz encourages pastors to connect every area of ministry to the specific mission of their church

I have “focus” as one of my top 5 StregthFinders strengths. That’s probably why I liked Pull so much. But if focus isn’t one of your strengths, if intentionality isn’t one of your gifts, you’ll no doubt be challenged, yet blessed by reading Pull. Every initiative the author writes about is thoroughly thought out and completely in line with the mission of his church. Franquiz advocates preaching that leads to evangelism and discipleship. He gives specific examples of new believer assimilation and outreach into the community that purposefully aligns with his church’s mission. Many churches don’t have this kind of laser-like focus, so it’s refreshing to see intentionality balanced with an openness to the leading of the Holy Spirit, embraced in Franquiz’s book.

Tracking Results
Franquiz is also a big proponent of tracking the success (or lack thereof) of different ministry strategies. He suggests slightly varying the verbiage in print ads each time they go to press. Or trying different types of Facebook ads. Then he recommends tracking the data, comparing the results, and using the most effective methods. This, he says, makes for good stewardship of advertising dollars, not to mention maximizes results.  

My only criticism of Pull is that, while it is heavy on examples of what to do, it lacks a bit on why do it. Knowing the guiding principles behind a ministry is foundational to successfully accomplishing the specific practices of that ministry. Also, while it may be true that the ministry strategies Franquiz used were effective his particular setting, what works in one culture doesn’t necessarily work in a different culture. So if you’re looking for inspiration on why get better at what you’re doing, perhaps a different book would be a better choice. But if you’re looking for a book that gives specific examples on how to make your church the kind of church people will be attracted to, Pull is an excellent choice.