Like many mainline denominations, The United Methodist Church is ailing. Declining membership, worship and Sunday school attendance, outreach and giving - all troubling signs. In an age of megachurches, "Ten Steps to ." congregational self-help programs point to models that might not be in the church's best interest.
Following the suggestions of this new conventional wisdom may reverse the trends and attract thousands to highly entertaining services (bolstered by a strong budget and marketing plan) led a charismatic pastor, but is that the true picture of a vital church? Could it be that our measure of success is wrong? Could it be we're diluting the real mission of the church? Advocating Christianity "Lite?"
For more than six years, Dick has visited, studied, surveyed, consulted with and analyzed 700+ congregations across North America to better understand effective structures, processes, leadership and systems for spiritual formation and development. The critically acclaimed result is Vital Signs.
Becoming a vital church means having stable and growing congregations that are willing to challenge and be challenged in ministry. After years of research, Dan Dick is able to identify four church types: Decaying Congregations, Dystrophic Congregations, Retrogressive Congregations, and Vital Congregations. Dick carefully describes each category, while pointing out that the goal of being a vital congregation is "neither simple or easy." He provides examples of communities in each category, coupled with tools to move congregations toward vitality. As faithful Christian leaders it is time to transform congregations into communities that work hard and engage in new and couragous ministries of witness.
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