Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"changing churches" by dottie parish

About the book (from the back cover): Are you a "church hopper" or thinking of becoming one? Do you look down on Christians who change churches? Did you know that 76% of "church switchers" are devout Christians? Do you wonder about vast changes in church? Do you wonder what will bring church unity and transformation?

Changing Churches describes, through the eyes of one couple, the difficult journey that "church switchers" travel—a journey often precipitated by disruptive church changes. The book encourages Christ-like transformative change in churches rather than man-devised makeovers.

As you read you will learn about:
• The right reasons to leave a church.
• How to manage the pain and angst of leaving a familiar church.
• How to search for another church-the anxiety and adventure.
• How to handle conflict between spouses about leaving and searching.
• How to find the new church that fits you and fits God's plan for you.

Changing Churches is helpful in understanding the sweeping changes in churches and what we can do to build up the church.

My take: Changing churches can be a very painful thing. Though the times I've changed churches as an adult haven't been rough, I've watched friends and family members agonize over the decision of whether or not to stay with their current church for doctrinal reasons. And I've recently watched an acquaintance go through an incredibly difficult church switch because of abusive leadership. This is the type of church switching I understand.

To be honest, I've often looked down on chronic church-hoppers—those who seem to jump around between good churches. (Yes, as I'm typing this, I have a few people in mind ...) I hoped that by reading this book, I'd be able to understand those people's motivations better.

Dottie Parrish tells a fascinating story of her and her husband's journey to three very different churches. Their reasons for changing churches were substantial—at one church, their new pastor was a false teacher, and at another, the worship was very much a production, and they needed to be in a place that took worship seriously. The Parrishes fit into the first type of church switchers I mentioned, and Dottie even outlines what she feels are valid reasons for church switching. Many of those in the second group—the chronic church-hoppers—change for reasons that, at least as far as I can tell, aren't serious. So while this book didn't help me understand those people, it did give me insight into some of the pain my friends and relatives may have felt.

In the first section of the book, Dottie tells her story. In the second part, she gives ideas for pastors, church members, and church leadership—both for looking for a good church and for improving your current church. While her information is solid, I have to admit it didn't keep my attention nearly as well as the first section.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I learned a lot. I'd recommend it to anyone who is considering changing churches.

My rating: 4 stars

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About the author: Dottie Parish brings a seasoned counselor’s wise viewpoint and the soft heart of a child of God to her first book, Changing Churches: A View from the Pew. A longtime resident of the greater Cincinnati area, Parish holds a Master of Social Work degree from Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University. She has more than 30 years of professional experience as a counselor at two family service agencies as well as in private practice. Her experience included diagnosing and treating individuals representing a wide variety of problems, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ages as well as short and long term therapy. Her private practice included individual, marital and family therapy with special interest in helping couples resolve marital differences.

She organized and led The Third Option educational group for married couples from 1996-2007 – in two locations.  Parish also wrote a weekly advice column, “Family Counselor,” for more than fifteen years for the Hamilton Journal News, Hamilton, Ohio.

Dottie Parish is a wife, mother and grandmother, and she loves Jesus and His Church. Her current devotion to God and His church stems from extreme misgivings about drifting away from God and church after graduate school. She and her husband lived for decades without faith. Their return to faith in 1990 begins the journey described in Changing Churches. Dottie blogs on a variety of subjects at and on Marriage and Family issues on

You can also visit with Dottie on her Author’s Website or get to know her on Facebook.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links on this page are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase a product, I will receive a commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” I am part of the CWA Review Crew.

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