I just had the opportunity to read Kallestad's book after finding it in the library. I want to say the good things first. The author and book have the proper focus and purpose. I think the missional understanding of the church being for others and not for itself is missing in many locales and even denomination. I also love that the author continually grounds the reader in spiritual disciplines as essential and foundational for healthy church life. While the idea that the church exists for others may be new to some readers, spiritual disciplines are staples of Christian life and are rightly considered non-negotiable by the author. In my mind, both are essential to the church continuing the missio Dei as the real and historical body of Jesus Christ (a reference to Karl Barth).
I cautiously approve of Kallestad's use of Rauschenbusch, whom he quotes on page 55 as saying, "It is faith to see God at work in the world and to claim a share in his job." Unfortunately, Kallestad leaves his theological grounding unfinished in working out church practice as essentially missional. I believe he has been less than thorough in his exploration and explication of the theological principles that drive practice.
Now I reach the crux of my criticism. The book is bent on the idea of instituting programs. To his credit, the author states, "I can't say strongly enough how important it is not to focus on money. Focus on mission, focus on what God is doing, focus on the excitement and honor of joining in God's mission, focus on love for the other and in that context ask as a community of Jesus for what you need to do the things God is showing you." (page 133) Nevertheless, he spends quite a bit of time and ink dealing with monetary and administrative aspects of church life, especially in instituting programs. As an example of a different practical approach, I would recommend Glenn McDonald's book The Disciple Making Church: From Dry Bones to Spiritual Vitality. McDonald's approach is far less stiff and institutional, and I think more suited to Christian witness in a postmodern world.
Furthermore, Kallestad uses very little research to support his theses. There are a few quotations by the likes of Rauschenbusch and Kierkegaard, but this book contains mostly helpful hints and lists, some of which are stilted to become more appealing to readers. I believe that Kallestad engages primarily in telling us things we already know to be true. The amount of new and useful information in this book is miniscule.
I probably would have given this book 3 stars if not for the obvious formatting mistakes, two of which I will point out here. On page 125, there is a spacing error between the bullet point and the word "Evaluate." On page 135, in the final full paragraph, in the second sentence, the final letter "l" is italicized but not the rest of the word. These are obvious mistakes that I picked up on cursory reading of the book. Authors, editors, and publishers should team up to do a better job than this (although I can't blame the author for formatting mistakes like those).
I have no axe to grind with the author or publisher. I read many Augsburg books and find them useful, and I'm sure that I would enjoy the company of the author and would agree with him on the vast majority of the common ground of our faith and its outworkings. This review is simply my assessment of the quality, validity, and value of the book "Turn Your Church Inside Out." I would recommend this book to pastors and leaders of aimless mainline churches who need a how-to guide for establishing missional sensibility in American and European churches which are steeped in consumer culture. It might be a good place to start.