Mancini's book on vision is extremely well written and solid. Mancini lays out a three part paradigm in the book on encountering and developing vision and how to implement it. In many of the books I've read on vision, I have to say that many have failed to go as deep as Mancini did in the implementation process for a vision. And after reading his book, I may see why.
While Mancini puts some very practical resources in the book on developing vision and implementing it, I am finding that the more and more of these books I read, the less and less practical some of them are for the everyday American church. Let me explain.
While I am a lover of statistics, I also understand that to get the true estimation of what a statistic represents, you have to understand its sample group, that is, what criteria was used to develop the statistic and what groups of people (demographics and socioeconomic status) were polled in compiling the information. By and large, many of the books I have read reference large churches or church in larger cities. They set them up as the pinnacle of a great example of how a church should operate. And I would agree with their assessments. The churches usually mentioned are indeed doing great things for the kingdom and do indeed have an ironclad structure which breeds simplicity, yet structure. But as I pastor my second church in yet another town under 15,000, how does the church in Houston, TX relate to me?
The obvious key is for me to glean what I can from these models and strive to implement these ideas into my God-given vision for the people and community I serve. That's sometimes easier said than done. I honestly read this book and enjoyed it greatly, but I did think to myself, "Why won't someone write a book about developing vision, structure, and growth patterns for rural churches?"
Truth be told, the greater population of the USA live outside of the cities. Taking churches to cities with 500,000 to a million or more people automatically breeds the need for structure and order. Resources are typically more readily available. Tradition is typically less a mountain to climb. That doesn't mean the big city churches don't have issues. They do. And I ignorantly speak about them as I have admitted to having never pastored in a large city. But I have pastored in the small town.
In Boston, they have a little bar and grill called "Cheers." I've been there before. It was parlayed into a critically acclaimed TV sitcom by the same name. Most everyone knows of it. It's famous theme song had a line that said, "Sometimes you wanna go, where everybody knows your name . . ." Truth is in the small town and church, it's not a matter of wanting to go there. You live there. It's another story.
All this said, I would highly recommend the book. It does give some great advice on vision implementation and structuring. I did enjoy the fact that Mancini parlayed several things he suggested against ideas by Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, and Aubrey Malphurs, thus showing there is more than one way to attack vision in the church. It was a solid book of information. It's not an easy read, but then again, these types of books aren't written to be so and rarely are. It was very good nonetheless.