Book review: Fear the Silent Killer of Church Growth

Bishop Calvin Barlow

Bishop Calvin Barlow, Jr.

More often than not when the subject of ‘fear’ comes up, ‘church’ is not readily associated with it. Nonetheless, church fear and all of the negativity that may stem from it is alive and very real.

It doesn’t make a difference what denomination you are, how small or large the church venue is, the number of members, or the race or financial equity the church is centered in. The possibility of fear may be running rapid.

The dictionary describes fear as: “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid is fear.”

Being aware of how to put a stop to allowing church fear to stunt the growth of the church in any capacity (along with the tailgaters or the tag along effect), Bishop Calvin Barlow, Jr. wrote an all-inclusive book on this matter. He is just one of many who have done more than attend meetings to discuss this subject. Established professionals, his peers, clergymen and women have sought solid answers and results.

Since the beginning of time, the church has been a haven of confidentiality, safety and comfort. The leadership structure begins and ends with the senior or top minister. The bishop’s book addresses the ministers, the various church leaders as well as others in leadership positions outside of the church. The book was written to address and provide some well-researched and invaluable help for those who realize that help is needed because the situation has gotten so far out of hand, the last resort is to reach for a proverbial life raft to stay afloat. Other unhealthy sentiments or thieves of valuable church time can be laced with unnecessary drama, startling fear tactics and uncertainty. But how does the perpetrator obtain such key information to propel inappropriate behavior and reigns of fear? It doesn’t matter if the under current is visible or handled in a sneaky manner—because it’s all bad news from bad actors with personal agendas, definitely not aligned with the church.

“There is even a section in the book (page 20) which talks about ‘Drama Kings and Drama Queens.’ It sounds almost comical, but there is nothing funny about it at all. The role of these characters is to de-throne and to ultimately destroy the authority of the church. If they had their way, they would be the church leaders and control everything within their reach.

Predatory tactics are used by these characters to lure members of the congregation (or other professional entities) to befriend them and use the personal information siphoned from them, later for personal gain and destruction.

The unsuspecting, innocent people who are targeted to be used for personal agendas are often weak, undecided or neutral, e.g., the ‘I could care less either way’ types of personalities. They are sheep led to the slaughter that don’t see it coming. These are generally the easiest targets to sway or be manipulated with fake comfort, gifts, etc., according to Author Barlow, Jr. No book ever written has all of the answers or solutions. But tracking monitors, other book reviewers, pastors and other leaders who have taken the time to read Fear the Silent Killer of Church Growth have personal testimonies as to how it has changed their lives and ministries.

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