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Every pastor wants their church to grow, but the reality is that most churches are stagnant or shrinking, leaving most pastors frustrated, weary, and discouraged. They continue to search for answers at conferences, in books, and on websites, but they don't find them. They don't realize that the answers that can actually make a difference in their ministry are the ones they need to give themselves.
When Your Church Feels Stuck poses seven unavoidable questions church leaders must answer before they can chart the unique path to growth for their church. These challenging questions address the key subjects of mission, strategy, values, metrics, team alignment, culture, and services, and the way pastors answers these questions will help them discover the real reasons their churches are stuck--and what steps to take to facilitate real growth.
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2017
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
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MichaelIndian Trail, NCAge: 45-54Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5When Your Church Feels StuckJune 2, 2017MichaelIndian Trail, NCAge: 45-54Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4"When Your Church Feels Stuck" by Chris Sonksen is a good read about issues a pastor needs to address concerning a church's growth. Around 180 pages, the title centers around a visit the author had with a client and addresses seven questions about his church:
- Mission, Strategy, Values, Metrics, Team Alignment, Culture, and Services
Some of the topics addressed include:
1. Excuses used for lack of growth in churches.
2. Suggestions for evaluating a church's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Better known as a SWOT analysis (remember studying this concept while preparing for and passing my project management professional certification exam).
3. The 7 crucial areas to address when trying to increase a church's growth (already mentioned above).
4. Suggestions for a missions statement.
5. 4 major characteristics of a good church growth strategy.
6. 10 desirable characteristics of a church staff member.
7. Steps to identify the culture a church currently has, needs, and how to shape a new culture.
8. Suggested metrics to use to support the church's mission.
The book is readable, has good suggestions, and smoothly transitions from chapter to chapter. Would like to have seen more of an emphasis on an individual's personal walk with Jesus Christ and less on numbers.
While I certainly agree with the author's desire to increase attendance at a church, several churches have apparently resorted to a "dog and pony show" to attract a crowd. How about the hard and plodding work of weekly disciple-making (Sunday School/Life Groups/whatever, Wednesday night discipleship, home groups, one on one mentoring, etc.)? Have also been a member of a church in the past that seemed to want to bring people in but did not emphasize discipleship enough. As a result, members/attenders were very biblically illiterate.
Still, the book is overall a good read and has several good and practical suggestions. I was given a review copy by Baker Books in exchange for a fair review.
wheelsmsChicopee, MAAge: 55-65Gender: male3 Stars Out Of 5Practical advice on growing a churchMay 31, 2017wheelsmsChicopee, MAAge: 55-65Gender: maleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 3What does a pastor do when his church is not growing and the attendance is plateaued? What questions should he be asking? Where can he find answers?
Chris Sonksen has written a book trying to provide solutions for the problems related to church growth.
I want to encourage you to do the work necessary to create the clear picture and plan that God has for your church. Gods heart is for your church to winto be a place of life change and transformation and to build a church that lives in the stage of increase.
In chapter one, the author lays the foundation for his approach to diagnosing and solving the problem of why a church isnt growing. He explains the difference between the God factor and the Leader factor.
Jeremy, there are two things you have to realize; there is the God factor and the leader factor. The God factor says We cant do anything without God. Would you agree? He nodded his head and quietly said, Yes, I agree. I went on to say, The leader factor says that God doesnt do anything without a leader. Now, Jeremy, we both know that God can do whatever he wants; hes a miracle-working God. But when it comes to building a thriving local church, more often than not God looks for a leader. Would you agree with that, Jeremy? Again, he quietly said, Yes, I agree. I said, Jeremy, what this means is that we have to be willing to do our part. God will always do his part. He never lets us down and never quits on us. He will always come through. Our part is to be willing to change. Be willing to be honest about where our church is and willing to take it where it needs to go.
I found the second chapter to be the most helpful. Using the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:20-25), Sonksen lays out the principle, God determines the talent, We determine the choices. Success is not measured by results, but rather by whether or not we are faithful in using the gifts God has given us.
The bulk of the book identifies and explains 7 questions that pastors need to ask about their church:
Mission: What do we do?
Strategy: How do we get it done?
Values: What are the guiding principles we live by?
Metrics: How do we measure a win?
Team Alignment: Do we have the right people in the right seats moving the in the right direction?
Culture: How do we change the culture of our church?
Services: How do we match what we say is important and what we really do?
The strength of the book is that it gives practical solutions to the difficult challenges of church growth. In that sense, it is a helpful volume. The weakness of the book is that it lays all the emphasis on human effort and tends to leave God out of the equation. While he stresses that success is not determined by numbers and size, he implies that if your church is not growing, then the pastor is failing. Since much of the examples in the book are of the author coaching another pastor through these questions, it tends to be a promotion of the authors consulting service.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.