"What a refreshing book! Imagine a church whose primary emphasis is to make people "feel at home." I wish every young pastor could read this book. Thanks, Lee, for a wonderful reminder of what the church is to be."
-Erwin W. Lutzer, Pastor Emeritus, The Moody Church, Chicago
Is your church acting like an organization or a home?
You love your church, but you wonder if it could be more. There's a greeting team, but is there a true spirit of welcoming? There are committees, leaders, and programs, but is there a Spirit-led vision? There are small groups, but are people truly connected?
Pastor and award-winning author Lee Eclov was troubled by these questions. Then, he had a realization: he wasn't called to lead an organization, but a family. His job was to be a "homemaker," not a CEO. This paradigm shift changed everything. In Feels Like Home, he shares what he's learned from over 40 years of ministry about being the family of God and how to live into that beautiful reality.
This short volume is full of stories of small adjustments that make a huge difference in the effectiveness, warmth, and growth of a church community. Discover how the love of a family can transform your church.
Praise for Feels Like Home
"What a great read Lee Eclov has given us—it's readable, inspirational, and practical. The title of the first chapter pretty much says it all: "You Can't Feel at Home in an Organization." With all the past church emphasis on leadership, management, and organizational theory, it's easy to forget what the church has been called to do, that is to create a family environment where God's people, using their God-given talents and abilities, can share the gospel. In these circumstances evangelism becomes second nature, not a duty that makes many break out in a cold sweat. There's good theory here and lots of practical tips you can use to make your church feel like home. Give it a try."
Retired Senior Minister, Southeast Christian Church; author of After Fifty Years of Ministry
"It's one thing to pay lip service to the idea of church as a family. It's another thing entirely to reorient every part of a church around this perspective. Drawing on a lifetime of faithful pastoral ministry, Lee Eclov challenges contemporary assumptions and paints a compelling real-life picture of church as a true home. I pray that its beauty moves more leaders to boldly recapture a vision for pastoral parenting."
—ANGELA J. WARD
Ministry author and teacher; writer at Church Matters; host of the Church Chat podcast
"What a refreshing book! Imagine a church whose primary emphasis is to make people "feel at home." This book is more desperately needed than ever in a day when the nuclear family is falling apart and people are seeking meaningful connections and fellowship. In short, they are seeking for a family. I wish every young pastor could read this book and be liberated from the need to keep up to date with the latest insights on church growth, church management, and church messaging. All these are important, but there is no substitute for attending a church that makes you feel at home. Thanks, Lee, for a wonderful reminder of what the church is to be."
—ERWIN W. LUTZER
Pastor Emeritus, The Moody Church, Chicago
"In my first groggy moments after waking up in an unfamiliar bed on vacation, nothing is more reassuring and clarifying than my wife's voice saying, "Remember, you're in a hotel room." Weary church leaders will experience a similar reaction to Lee Eclov's crucial refrain in this book: "Remember, your church is a home." By drawing liberally from Scripture and his considerable pastoral experience, Eclov replaces dry, corporate metaphors for ministry with warm, encouraging—but never overly saccharine—stories of God's people as a family. I especially appreciate the thoughtful and creative ways he implements these biblical concepts in his own congregation. Eclov's pastoral heart beats on every page. I never felt like I was "eating my veggies," but I know my understanding of church life is healthier having read this book."
"Too many books on pastoral ministry set Christian leaders up to fail by promoting scale over substance, success over faithfulness. Not so in Lee Eclov's Feels Like Home. In this excellent book, Pastor Lee reminds ministry leaders that their job is not to be CEOs of successful companies, but to lead a family of believers with Christlike love. Let this book teach, inspire, and challenge you as it did me. Most of all, let it remind you that God calls every Christian leader to be a "homemaker.""
—JARED E. ALCANTARA
Associate Professor of Preaching, George W. Truett Seminary, Baylor University
"A book about the church being a family—that's not a new idea. But such a book that is not clinical or therapeutic or theological, but like a father running hard, arms flung wide, to welcome home his wayward son—maybe that's not new either, but it's fresh, beautiful, wise, and healing. Feels Like Home feels, well, like home. Lee Eclov writes like a father who's just ordered the fattened calf served up, and whose feet are already tapping to fiddle music. Come on in! There's bread to spare here, and then some."
Author of Your Church Is Too Safe; speaker, pastor, professor
"In today's culture, we're tempted to think of church as a business, a mission, or a performing arts venue. Lee Eclov reminds us that the Bible refers to believers primarily as God's household, a family! That makes a big difference in how we lead this group of brothers and sisters we're called into. We all know the highest praise we can hear from someone new to the church is not, "I'm aligned with the cause" or "I love the music," but "I've found a home!" Lee, well said and well led, brother."
Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Denver Seminary
"After a generation of leadership coaching in the church based on business principles, Lee Eclov invites us to renew our vision of congregational life built on relationship. His warm writing style is born out of decades of pastoral ministry that flows from his deep, foundational conviction that church is meant first and foremost to be a family—not in name only, but because we are learning to live the life of Jesus together Feels Like Home is filled with practical examples and solid scriptural counsel designed to recalibrate our vision of the local church."
—MICHELLE VAN LOON
Author of Born to Wander: Recovering the Value of Our Pilgrim Identity
"Amidst a culture that increasingly views church as an industrial complex, Lee Eclov's invitation to regain the biblical vision of church as a family is a refreshing reminder of God's gracious initiation of adoption. Framed by decades of pastoral experience, Lee draws from both anecdotal and exegetical insight to beckon the bride of Christ back to its first calling: making a home for prodigals to return to. Full of wisdom from a spiritual father, Feels Like Home is a timely challenge for churches everywhere who long to see their communities of faith transformed into reunions of brothers and sisters reconciled to the Father."
—STEPHEN L. WOODWORTH
Associate Coordinator of International Theology Education Network (ITEN)
Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC): World Outreach
"Too often we pastors don't see the human faces of those we are called to shepherd. We see blocs, masses, and groups. So people coming into our churches feel like they are entering a factory or an assembly line. This is why Lee Eclov's work is so important. Lee calls pastors to remember their first calling as shepherds and reminds us that we are not merely individual Christians but members of a family, and that when we gather together, we are coming home. Many people coming into our churches are looking for a family, looking to belong, and looking for a home. What makes this book so good is that Lee is writing from a lifetime of living out these ideas. I've visited his church and know that Lee puts into practice what he is teaching here. He's a shepherd who has been welcoming God's people home for many years. I wish every fresh-faced seminary graduate would stop what they are doing and read this book in its entirety."
Vice-President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; author, The Dignity Revolution
"I warmly commend Lee's winsome book, Feels Like Home, to anyone who is looking for a healthy alternative to big-box, institutional Christianity. Lee has done a wonderful job of making a deeply relational ecclesiology accessible to all levels of readers. Feels Like Home is a well-written, engaging book that speaks to the head as well as to the heart."
Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Talbot School of Theology