Solutions

BOOK REVIEWS

The strength of our Book Reviews collection lies in the categorical breakdown that we have created for you below. We have divided the most common ministry design issues into categories so that you can more easily find the solution that you are looking for. Our eventual goal is to have an in-depth review for every book that will give you further assistance in discovering the reading pathway that can lead you to the solutions to the ministry issues you may be facing.


SMALL CHURCHES |

SOLUTIONS

  • 5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There Is Never Enough Time

    By Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram

    Be present, connect more effectively, all while being as productive as possible

    5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There’s Never Enough Time teaches you to shift into the right gear at the right time so that you can grow in your relational intelligence and increase your influence. This revolutionary text introduces you to the five different gears, or mindsets, that carry you through various facets of your day. These include:

    • First gear—when you fully rest and recharge
    • Second gear—when you connect with family or friends without the involvement of work
    • Third gear—when you are socializing
    • Fourth gear—when you are working and multi-tasking
    • Fifth gear—when you are fully focused and ‘in the zone,’ working without interruption

    Using these gears consistently allows you to bring a new level of relational intelligence to your life that offers a competitive advantage in our task-driven world.

    All too often people go through life without truly connecting—and can, as a result, miss out on experiences and relationships that have the power to bring them great joy. By understanding how the five gears presented in this engaging book work, you can improve your ability to connect with the world around you.

    • Explore why some people stay disconnected from the people and events around them, and why others always seem to have a deep connection to their friends, family, and surroundings
    • Learn how to set triggers and markers that help you shift into the right gears at the right time, which will increase your relational dynamics and make you more productive.
    • Create positive change in the dynamics of your relationships
    • Improve your respect and influence—and learn a sign language that, when used, can change your perspective and your world.

    5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There’s Never Enough Time is the perfect resource for anyone who wants to live and lead connected.

  • 7 Warning Signs Your Church Has Ministry Silos: Triggers and Symptoms of a Divided House

    By Tony Morgan

    Though pastors and other church leaders are reticent to admit it, ministry silos are one of the most common dysfunctions at work in American churches.

    People and ministries share the same roof but do nearly everything in isolation. Outside of Sundays, they rarely combine their efforts. Like members of a dysfunctional family, most church staff members know their team isn’t healthy, but they’ve learned to cope and get by, living separate lives within the same house.

    It’s not hard to tell when a church has silos. The difficult part is discovering and eliminating their true causes. This eBook explores the triggers and symptoms of a “divided house” so you can identify the steps your church needs to take towards greater unity.

  • Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive

    by Thom Rainer

    “No one wants to see a church die. And yet, far too many churches are dying. For more than twenty-five years, Dr. Thom Rainer has helped churches grow, reverse the trends of decline, and has autopsied those that have died. From this experience, he has discovered twelve consistent themes among those churches that have died. Yet, it’s not gloom and doom because from those twelve themes, lessons on how to keep your church alive have emerged.

    Whether your church is vibrant or dying, whether you are a pastor or a church member, Autopsy of a Deceased Church will walk you through the radical paths necessary to keep your church alive to the glory of God and advancement of Christ’s Kingdom!”

  • Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results

    By Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

    Thousands of congregations are in serious trouble. Children are not being taught the faith. Disciples are not being made. Lives are not being transformed. The poor are not being blessed. Communities are not being redeemed. These congregations know something is terribly wrong. And in most cases, the problems have little to do with the pastor’s prayer life or whether the pastor takes weekly Sabbath time. In fact, in many of these churches members deeply respect their pastors as sincerely spiritual people of utmost personal faith and integrity. But they need more from their pastoral leaders.  

    They need leaders who define ministry in terms of fruitfulness as well as faithfulness. They need pastors and lay leaders who ask about the outcomes of any given ministry or program, not just its process. Mostly, they need a vision of ministry that focuses on changing people’s lives. Absent that vision, ministry will fail.  

    In this helpful volume, Lovett Weems and Tom Berlin provide readers with the tools they need to assess the fruit their ministry bears in the lives of their congregations, their communities, and the world.

  • Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work

    by Jim Tomberlin, Warren Bird, & Craig Groseschel. Publisher: Jossey-Bass.
  • Breakout Churches: Discover How to Make the Leap

    Churches by Thom Rainer. Publisher: Zondervan.

    Focus is on success stories.

    Click to see full review

    Purpose:

    To provide help to declining churches by examining those churches that reversed their decline and experienced God working in their midst.

    Content:

    Real life case studies of 13 churches that moved from “stagnancy to growth and from mediocrity to greatness.” It is patterned after the principles of Jim Collins’ book Good to Great.

    Analysis:

    This book gives hope and helpful insights to churches that are plateaued or in decline. The examples and stories should encourage and direct others to move ahead with developing their own “break out ministry”. The only caution I would give is that I believe each church is unique.  Therefore borrowing “mechanics” or strategies from another ministry may not fit your situation. Do not sidestep your need to connect with God when determining what to do next in your ministry. Just because something worked in many other ministries doesn’t mean it will work the same way in yours.

    Application:

    Who will benefit?

    Pastors and lay leaders that need encouragement and know how.

    How does it benefit?

    Directs readers to the need for humble leaders that are dependent on the Lord and willing to be good stewards of the resources and opportunities entrusted to them. It provides examples of successful efforts to turn a church around.

    Where does it fit in the Ministry Design process?

    Research and examples of others that successfully faced the challenges faced when leading a declining church. It ministers to the heart not just the head.

    Aha Thought:

    “The breakout churches did not just look for the best qualified people to be a part of the ministry team.  They sought people who would be the right fit with their personalities and philosophies of ministry.  The “team” concept is vital in these churches. In the athletic world, we sometimes see a team of extraordinary athletes who perform poorly in competition because they don’t work well together. The same thing can happen in the church. Our breakout churches know how critical it is to have highly competent people on their ministry team who work well together.” (p. 101)

  • Carving the Table

    By Greg Blake

    The memoirs of the Chief Encouragement Officer Greg Blake. Perhaps you have seen him in action, now read whats behind the CEO of Pepworks International.

    When we first got married  my parents bought us a old dining table that had come out of a bakery in NY. We bought an old fashioned icepick and thought it would be a great practice to have people carve their name in our table when they came for a visit….well 41 years later we are still continuing the tradition. We have hundreds of signatures. My 4 kids have bought an old table and are continuing the practice with their families. We even have sanded out the names of old boyfriends who didn’t make the cut!
     
    (I just finished my memoirs called Carving the Table (available in ebook format on Amazon) Click Here to get a copy!
     
    When folks visit our church for the first time, Debbie and I invite them over to our home on a Friday evening (Family Night) to get to know them better. Very non-threatening. We will also find out their occupation and will do our best to match them with another couple with the same occupation so there is an immediate connection.
     
    Have had numerous couples join because of the personal interest in their lives. I tell people that you can’t get to know people in the foyer of a church Sunday morning doing small talk.
     
    Unfortunately today we have become too busy to invest our lives in others and ultimately eternity.
  • Change Your Church or Die

    By Josh Hunt

    “Your church is perfectly tuned to get the results you are now getting. If you keep doing what you have been doing, you will keep getting what have been getting. If you change. . .

    Well, you might lose your job. It might be a big brouhaha.

    I would like to converse with you about how to change a church while keeping your job—and keeping the peace. I want to talk to you about introducing new music, a new small group strategy, and new technologies to help your church grow.”

  • Church Merger

    By Richard Laribee

    Based on actual case studies rather than untested assumptions, this study considers:
    • What questions to ask before considering a church merger?
    • When is church merger a good strateg?
    • What are the goals for effective church mergers?
    • When are church mergers counter-productive?
    • How are effective church mergers implemented?

  • Comeback Churches: How 300 Churches Turned Around and Yours Can Too

    by Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson. Publisher: B&H Publishing Group.

    Research results of churches that actually made it happen.

    Click to see full review

    Purpose:
    To give us the research to inform and the rest of the book to “illustrate and advise-providing…some suggestions” so the readers “can impliement best practices” in their church context. It is a “book of practical advice” from 324 churches and the two authors.

    Content:

    Chapter 0: Examines what a church should be. This is the goal.
    Chapter 1: the need for making a change and the “degree of change required”. How churches get stuck and how to get unstuck.
    Chapter 2: The number one key factor (as reported by the 325 churches in the research) is leadership. “Leadership and vision are major keys to any type of turnaround in churches”. They define, show the need for, and give the role and character needed by “comeback” leaders.
    Chapter 3: Discusses three key elements required for turnaround churches. “The three “faith factors” are Renewed belief in the gospel, a renewed servant’s attitude and strategic prayer.
    Chapter 4: Deal with worship, music, change and preaching.
    Chapter 5 & 6: Discuss how to develop a comprehensive outreach process.
    Chapter 7: Deals with getting the church family involved in the turnaround.
    Chapter 8: Reveals the power of community and why we must create the right environment along with training the right leaders.
    Chapter 9: Otyher factors contributing to comeback churches are their facilities, marketing, and pastor development through reading other resources (books) then using intentional learning to apply what they learned to lead the church in the turnaround process.
    Chapter 10: The importance of new or renewed pastor.
    Chapter 11: The 10 most common transformations for comeback churches. The top 10 areas of change were: 1. Prayer 2. Children’s ministry 3.Evangelism 4. Youth ministry 5. Leadership 6. Missions 7. Assimilation 8. Worship 9. Sunday school/small groups 10. Organized structure
    Chapter 12: The three top factors that impacted their comeback were Prayer, Evangelism and Preaching. The three biggest challenges in making their comebacks were attitudes, finances and facilities. The authors ask the reader two questions from this chapter: 1. What do you believe to be the top 3 factors that would revitalize your church? And 2. What would you say are the major barriers to your church experiencing a comeback?
    Chapter 13: Summary review of key points in the book.

    Analysis:

    This book provides practical and applicable advice to churches that are declining and plateauing. It will stir your thinking and perhaps give you direction and hope for leading your own turnaround.

    Application:
    Who will benefit?
    Any leader facing the need for a “turnaround” in the ministry they lead.

    How will it benefit?
    The research results and the advice of the two authors will provide you help in leading your ministry to be a “comeback” church.

    Where does it fitin the process?
    It is a research resource and a guide book for developing a strategic plan for turning your ministry around.

  • Effective Evangelistic Churches

    By Thom Rainer

    Part research project, part detective story, this book presents results from the most comprehensive study of successful churches in history. These 586 churches across America all excel in winning new souls for Christ, and have a remarkable range of things in common. Some stereotypes are shattered, some results are astonishing, and everything is written in a readable, non-technical style.– Includes churches with at least one baptism per 19 members annually– Churches range from 60 to 6,000 in membership; more than 2/3 claim 100-499 members– Reveals the seven evangelism tools most important to successful churches– Discusses popular misconceptions about church location, size, event evangelism and more

  • Get Their Name: Grow Your Church by Building New Relationships

    By Doug Anderson, Bob Farr, and Kay Kotan

    Change your church culture. Create an outwardly focused environment where hospitality and invitation happen Sunday and every day of the week. This book offers five steps to help congregations go public with their faith—from service projects to sharing the faith with persons who want to know more about Christ and thw church. This book offers tactics to increase individual and church competency with relational evangelism with friends, neighbors, and even strangers. Learn how to start up a conversation, follow up with contacts, and navigate unfamiliar settings. Learn what works and what doesn’t.

    We may think that just because we invite someone on our church property, they’ll come back. Often we don’t reach out to help people cross the faith line, because we’re uncomfortable with “evangelism” or just plain scared. Gain the confidence to share the good news boldly. After all, we know the name of the One who loves us all and who holds all power over heaven and earth.

  • Here Today, There Tomorrow: Unleashing Your Church’s Potential

    by Gary L. McIntosh. Publisher: Wesleyan Publishing House.

    Focuses on workable gameplans to help churches grow.

    Click to see full review

    Purpose

    To help the church leaders identify “the best practices on how to assess the unique identity of a church and design a plan for its future”. The author’s intent is to instruct and encourage the leader to let “God move your church from where it is to where He wants it to be”.

    Content

    It is loaded “case studies, resources, and chapter-by-chapter action plans”. Fifteen chapters wrapped up in 200 pages. The book records the conversation between three fictional pastors discussing the challenges of their ministries and the solutions to those challenges.

    Analysis

    This is an easy, insightful read that should help you develop a plan of action for your ministry. He does a good job explaining the planning process with its individual parts.

    Application

    Who will benefit from this book?

    The pastor and leaders during the planning process and then the congregation when it is implemented.

    How will they benefit from this book?

    It should help you jump start your active fulfillment of the Great Commission.

    Where does this book fit in the ministry design process?

    It is a teaching tool to prepare you to lead your church through the planning process.

     

  • High Expectations

    By Thom Rainer

    For over a quarter of a century the problem of losing church members has progressively increased. Today the situation is so bad that less than one-third of the members in some churches attend worship services. Church leaders are crying for help. In an effort to help church leaders, the Billy Graham School of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary conducted a massive research project involving nearly 287 churches. The most revealing aspect of the study was that the higher expectations placed on members, the greater the likelihood that the members would stay and be involved with the church. Using the data gathered from this project, Thom Rainer presents the first-ever comprehensive study about ‘closing the back door.’ Rainer looks at why people are leaving the church and how church leaders can keep the members.

  • If It Could Happen Here: Turning the Small-Membership Church Around

    by Jeff Patton. Publisher: Abingdon Press.

    A pastor tells his personal story in sharing six transformational truths for small churches.

  • Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow

    By Carey Nieuwhof

    You’ve probably noticed …

    Churches aren’t growing.
    Young adults are walking away.
    Volunteers are hard to recruit.
    Leaders are burning out.

    And the culture is changing faster than ever before.

    There’s no doubt the church is in a moment in history for which few church leaders are prepared.

    You can look for answers, but the right response depends on having the right conversation.

    In Lasting Impact, Carey Nieuwhof leads you and your team through seven conversations that will help your church grow and have a lasting impact.

    What if …

    • Having the right conversations could change your trajectory?
    • There was more hope than you realized?
    • The potential to grow was greater than the potential to decline?
    • Your community was waiting for a church to offer the hope they’re looking for?
    • Your best days as a church were ahead of you?

    Maybe the future belongs to the churches that are willing to have the most honest conversations at a critical time. That’s what Lasting Impact is designed to facilitate.

  • Leadership: 33 Lessons on How to Become A Proactive Leader and Successfully Build A Phenomenal Team

    By Jeffrey Morales

    There are all kinds of leaders in the world: dictators and kings, chiefs and elected officials, military commanders and company directors, and employee managers. Even on a smaller scale, team leaders in the workplace, teachers and principals, and clerics are all leaders of other people – and will best succeed in their roles if they are proactive. This book will explain what proactive leadership is, and offers suggestions for improving your own leadership skills to the point where you will be able to build and manage an effective and successful team – no matter if your team is a group of executive financial advisors in a multi-million dollar banking company, or the lady’s auxiliary of your neighborhood volunteer fire department.

    Included in the book are:

    • An explanation of the difference between reactive and proactive leadership
    • The benefits of proactive leadership in various settings
    • 33 lessons for improving your proactive leadership abilities and building a phenomenal team
    • Troubleshooting for proactive leaders
    • Links to websites that offer courses, workshops, and self-assessments in proactive leadership
  • Look Before You Lead: How to Discern and Shape Your Church Culture

    By Aubrey Malphurs

    “Before you can lead your church, you have to know your church.

    Pastoral ministry is challenging work. It is made even more challenging when a pastor ignores the church’s “congregational culture” when seeking to minister to members or implement changes. Just as a pastor studies to interpret the Scriptures, he or she must also interpret the local church culture to better understand and move the church toward accomplishing its mission and vision.

    In Look Before You Lead, trusted church leadership expert Aubrey Malphurs shows pastors how to read their church’s unique local culture, how to change or revitalize it, and even how to combine two cultures when one church adopts another. This unique resource approaches leadership and discernment from a solid, biblical perspective and includes a number of helpful appendixes that are key to reading and understanding the culture.”

  • Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church

    By Dr. Terry W. Dorsett (Author)

     

  • Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation Through the Small Church

    by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett. Publisher: CrossBooks.
  • Obstacles in the Established Church: How Leaders Overcome Them

    By Sam Reiner

    “Many established churches in North America are struggling. But the obituaries are premature. Struggling churches can make a difference again. Many churches have several obstacles in front of them slowing growth and preventing health. While every church is a unique congregation in a specific local context, patterns present in one established church are often present in another. Rainer identifies these obstacles and reveals how churches can successfully overcome them. God does not give up on these congregations. Despite the obvious obstacles, we should not give up on them either.”

  • One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Bringing Out the Best in Any Size Church

    by Gary McIntosh. Publisher: Revell.

    Focuses on the differences in small, medium and large churches

  • Podcasting Church

    By Paul Clifford

     

  • Reaching People Under 40 While Keeping People Over 60: Being Church for All Generations

    By Edward H. Hammett and James R. Pierce

    “Reaching People Under 40 While Keeping People Over 60: Being Church for All Generations (TCP Leadership Series)”

  • Real Good Church: How Our Church Came Back from the Dead, and Yours Can, Too

    By Molly Phinney Baskette

    Brian D. McLaren praises Real Good Church. . .
    “OK, folks: it’s here: the practical, encouraging, field-tested book to help pastors and lay leaders turn declining churches around. Really. This is it! It names the skills you need and books to help you get them, gives you samples of job descriptions and letters and lots of other super-practical stuff. As a veteran pastor, I can tell you that Molly has packed these pages with the guidance you need.”

    “This is a practical manual of everything our church did,” says author Molly Phinney Baskette, “to reverse our death spiral and become the healthy, stable, spirited and robust community it is today—evident in the large percentage of children and young adults in our church, and a sixfold increase in pledged giving in the last decade.”

    Baskette, pastor of First Church Somerville, UCC in the Boston area, strongly believes her church’s strategies will work for any church, in any setting, regardless of denomination, demographics, and political landscape. In this new book, she shares everything her church did, addressing topics such as: outreach and growth strategies, finances and giving, creative worship, church conflict and change, anxiety and humor, and much more.

    What makes Real Good Church unique in the field of church growth books? It’s practical. It actually tells churches what they can do. . .and how to do it.

    It offers beginning and intermediary steps for growth and renewal. Churches, no matter what situation they’re in, will be able to jump in and get to work.

    It has a sense of humor. Baskette’s easygoing, often self-deprecating writing style and approachable strategies will empower the reader and their church to revitalize itself. (If her church could do it, we can, too!)

    Real Good Church is a testament to Baskette’s and First Church Somerville UCC’s success and a gift of hope for all churches that find themselves struggling to keep their doors open.

  • Renovate or Die: 10 Ways to Focus Your Church on Mission

    By Bob Farr and Kay Kotan

    Bob Farr asserts that to change the world, we must first change the Church. As Adam Hamilton says in the Foreword, “Read [this book] carefully with other leaders in your church…You’ll soon discover both a desire to renovate your church and the tools to effectively lead your church forward.”  If we want to join Robert Schnase and claim radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk-taking mission and service, and extravagant generosity, we must also engage pastors and motivate churches. We must renovate and overhaul our churches and not merely redecorate and tinker with our church structure.

    With straight forward language and practical tips, this book will inspire and help you organize your church for new life on the mission field. Learn how to grow your church and discover the commitments that denominational leaders must make to guarantee the fruitfulness of local congregations.

  • Right Questions for Church Leaders, Volume 1

    By Lovett Weems

    “Leaders do not need answers. Leaders must have the right questions.” These two sentences introduce one of the most popular features in each issue of Leading Ideas, the online newsletter of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. This feature grew out of Director Lovett H. Weems’s realization years ago that leaders spend far too much time trying to figure out the “right answers” to a range of issues facing congregational life while that time would be more profitably used in discerning a few key questions that can change the direction of a church.

    Leaders are so accustomed to providing answers for the questions of others that they often fail to engage the people in identifying and addressing the major adaptive challenge in the current chapter of a congregation’s life. Since people tend to remember about 20 percent of what they are told, but about 80 percent of what they discover for themselves, questions have the beauty of allowing both the issues and the solutions to arise from within the life of a congregation.

    There is also great value in having a repertoire of questions that can be used in a range of settings along the path of leadership. Becoming an adept user of questions makes it less likely that your first response to any topic is to state your opinion or “answer.” Probing questions honor others and provide additional information for you and those with whom you are engaging. The customary reactions of “I think” or “my take on it is” tend to limit options rather than expand them.

    But question asking is not primarily a delaying tactic or a shrewd way to get more information before then giving your view. To use questions in this way quickly reveals a manipulative style and diminishes the leader. Instead, the use of questions is to gather more information in order to clarify for you and others exactly what is at stake.

    Questions are common in the Bible. Jesus was an adept questioner. The questions in this resource are more practical than profound, but the gift of thoughtful questioning can enhance leadership without necessarily rising to biblical significance.

    In response to requests for a collection of questions used in “The Right Question” column over the years, we have organized selected ones by topic and are making them available in this collection. The topics are: The Church’s Purpose; Remembering a Ministry’s Purpose; Identifying and Supporting Leaders; Communication; Reaching New Disciples; Seeing Your Church as Others Do; Reviewing Programs; Creative Abandonment; Assessing Differing Directions; Planning; Understanding Your Church’s Identity; Knowing What’s Going On; Making the Most of Meetings; Making Good Decisions; Facing Challenges; and Personal Reflection and Assessment.

  • Right Questions for Church Leaders, Volume 2

    By Lovett Weems

    “Leaders do not need answers. Leaders must have the right questions.” These two sentences introduce one of the most popular features in each issue of “Leading Ideas,” the online newsletter of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. This feature grew out of Director Lovett H. Weems’s realization years ago that leaders spend far too much time trying to figure out the “right answers” to a range of issues facing congregational life, while that time would be more profitably used in discerning a few key questions that can change the direction of a church.

    Leaders have great power, but it is often not the kind of power people assume goes with positions of authority. Few leaders, even at the highest levels of organizations, can — or should — simply decide something and make it happen. This is certainly true for lay and clergy leaders in congregations. God’s wisdom is far more abundant than that. However, leaders have tremendous power to set agendas and involve people in reflecting upon topics of concern. Virtually any formal leader can invite those involved in their sphere of leadership into conversations on topics that matter to them and to those with whom they serve.

    Leaders do well to frame those topics in clear relationship to the mission of the ministry, either the congregation or one of its specific ministries. More than likely, it is some dimension of that mission that needs special attention. The leader could announce that there are problems or opportunities related to this aspect of the mission, but this would position the leader more as an advocate than a leader. There is a time for advocacy but not most of the time. A more helpful stance is to be the one who opens subjects for discernment with probing open-ended questions that assume that those engaged are just as committed to a faithful outcome as the leader.

    When questioning becomes a way of life for a leader, a vast constituency of free “consultants” is constantly enriching your leadership with clues, ideas, patterns, and discoveries well beyond those available to other leaders.

    In response to requests for a collection of questions used in “The Right Question” column over the years, we have organized selected ones by topic and are making them available in this collection. The topics are: Understanding Your Church’s Identity; Supporting Leaders; Mission and Outreach; Reaching New Disciples; Staffing and Hiring; Reviewing Programs; Use of Time; Planning; In Times of Transition; Seeking Feedback; Fruitful Leadership; Making Good Decisions; Facing Challenges; Preaching; Looking for Clues; and Personal Reflection and Assessment. We hope these questions will help you lead with the power that comes from better knowing the hearts and minds of those with whom you serve.

  • Right Questions for Church Leaders, Volume 3

    By Lovett Weems

    “Leaders do not need answers. Leaders must have the right questions.” These two sentences introduce one of the most popular features in each issue of Leading Ideas, the online newsletter of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership (churchleadership.com) of Wesley Theological Seminary (wesleyseminary.edu). This feature grew out of my realization years ago that leaders spend far too much time trying to figure out the “right answers” to a range of issues facing congregational life, while that time would be more profitably used in discerning a few key questions that can change the direction of a church.

    Increasing evidence shows that the ability to ask questions and then listen and respond in ways consistent with your mission is key to strong organizations, including churches. Innovation comes from listening, especially listening to those you seek to serve. But listening must always be tied to the larger purpose of the ministry. The goal is not so much to satisfy constituents as it is improve how the mission is fulfilled.

    Increasingly, church leaders have less direct contact with the people the ministry seeks to help as more and more direct engagement is done by others, especially in larger churches — staff, church school teachers, congregational care teams, team leaders, youth counselors, etc. That is one reason why leaders must create opportunities to have ongoing conversations with a range of people who experience a church’s ministry.

    You see, to ask questions, leaders have to interact with people. Making such conversations commonplace provides a source of knowledge and renewal from such direct contact. One certainly sees things from a different perspective when talking with a diverse constituency. Insulation from those views does not help leaders or their ministries.

  • Rx for the Rural Church: The Diagnosis and Treatment of Five Common Ailments

    By W. Scott Moore

    “Your rural church is special. It is different. Your church has its own particular traditions and its own distinctive personality.

    All rural churches, however, will have one important element in common: they will all eventually need to deal with one or more of these five common ailments:

    • Prayerlessness
    • Lack of Biblical Preaching
    • One-size-fits-all
    • Stagnation
    • Tolerance toward Sin

    This book will equip you, the concerned pastor, lay leader, or church member to diagnose and treat these ailments.”

  • Shepherding the Small Church

    by Glenn C. Daman. Publisher: Kregel Academic & Professiona.
  • Shepherding the Small Church: A Leadership Guide for the Majority of Today’s Churches

    By Glenn C. Daman (Author)

  • Shift: Helping Congregations Back Into the Game of Effective Ministry

    By Phil Maynard

    An exploration of 5 key shifts congregations must make to become vital, effective, and fruitful: 1. From Fellowship to Hospitality, 2. From Worship as an Event to Worship as a Lifestyle, 3. From Membership to Discipleship, 4. From ‘Serve Us’ to Service, and 5. From ‘Survival Mentality’ to Generosity.

    Based on years of research, coaching, and consulting with local congregations this book provides helpful, practical methods for developing effective ministry.

    Most twenty-first century churches are neither missional nor effective in reaching people with the gospel. That’s just the truth of the matter. Most of our churches are stuck, declining, aging and struggling in various ways. SHIFT is written most explicitly for the church that thought they had ministry figured out 30 years ago, but where nothing today is working as well as it used to work. If this is the case in the place that you call church this book may get your church’s leaders thinking through the key movements for effective ministry.

  • Small Church, Big Impact

    By Brandon J. O’Brien (Author)

     

  • Small Church, Big Impact (Ebook Shorts)

    by Brandon O’Brien. Publisher: Bethany House Publishers.
  • Small Congregation, Big Potential: Ministry in the Small Membership Church

    by Lyle Schaller. Publisher: Abingdon Press.
  • Successful Church Fund-Raising

    by John R. Bisagno

    “God is blessing many churches today with exponential growth and great opportunity for ministry in their community. However, many churches have inadequate facilities or feel the crunch of overcrowding and are without the immediate resources for expansion. This book, written from someone with the heart for the church and who had the joy of seeing his own congregation give in excess of $250 million over 30 years, will equip a church of any size with the knowledge to conduct—from beginning to end—a full capital campaign.”

    This book was published in 2002

  • Succession Transition: A Roadmap for Seamless Transitions in Leadership

    by Gordon Krater and Bill Hermann

    “Leadership succession can make or break an organization, large or small. Less than a third of family businesses successfully transition from the first generation to the next. And fewer than 10 percent of near-retirement-age business owners have a formal succession plan.
    With more than 60 years of combined experience at Plante Moran, Managing Partner emeritus Bill Hermann and current Managing Partner Gordon Krater have collaborated to capture a formula for creating sustainable organizations. The formula has been successfully used to make Plante Moran one of America s top accounting, tax, and consulting firms and helped it earn a best places to work designation from Fortune magazine for an enviable 13 years straight.

    It’s easy to fall into the trap of only focusing on succession near the end of a leader’s tenure. But the process begins with understanding an organization s culture, defining its recruiting processes, developing its training programs, and identifying experiential learning opportunities for its future leaders. While every organization has unique circumstances, this book captures universal ingredients to facilitate successful successions.

    “It takes a village to raise a child,” the saying goes. Similarly, interactions with the elders in your organization create learning opportunities among future leaders. Hermann and Krater share specific examples and observations that demonstrate the key ingredients to help create your sustainable organization.”

  • Teams That Thrive: Five Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership

    By Ryan T. Hartwig & Warren Bird

    “It’s increasingly clear that leadership should be shared—for the good of any organization and for the good of the leader. Many churches have begun to share key leadership duties, but don’t know how to take their leadership team to the point where it thrives. Others seriously need a new approach to leadership: pastors are tired, congregations are stuck, and meanwhile the work never lets up.
    But what does it actually mean to do leadership well as a team? How can it be done in a way that avoids frustration and burnout? How does team leadership best equip the staff and bless a congregation? What do the top church teams do to actually thrive together?
    Researchers and practitioners Ryan Hartwig and Warren Bird have discovered churches of various sizes and traditions throughout the United States who have learned to thrive under healthy team leadership. Using actual church examples, they present their discoveries here, culminating in five disciplines that, if implemented, can enable your team to thrive. The result? A coaching tool for senior leadership teams that enables struggling teams to thrive, and resources teams doing well to do their work even better.”

  • Ten Prescriptions for a Healthy Church

    By Bob Farr and Kay Kotan

    Ten Prescriptions for a Healthy Church
    offers prescriptions for the top ten issues seen during church
    consultations. Bob Farr and Kay Kotan share their expertise from working
    with churches across the country, detailing the most common concerns
    and obstacles, and then go straight to the point: What to change, and
    how, for positive results. They offer a helpful approach to fixing
    common problems, and strategies to help congregations achieve success in
    specific areas of ministry. Proven success stories offer practical
    application, inspiration, and hope.

    I love the way this book addresses issues of mission, vision, worship,
    hospitality, outreach, and other important matters and offers concrete,
    pragmatic practices to fulfill these without compromising the gospel.
    This is a refreshing new guide for pastors and laity. –Tex Sample,
    Robert B. and Kathleen Rogers Professor Emeritus of Church and Society,
    Saint Paul School of Theology

    Bob and Kay have so much experience. They get it: the types of changes most
    churches need are not new. The pathway to health is not flashy. Basic,
    steady, strong: That is what you find in this very useful material. —
    Cathy Townley, Worship and Church Planting Consultant and Coach,
    Minnesota Annual Conference, UMC

    Bob Farr is a powerhouse of a leader who has a great grasp on what it takes
    for a congregation to discover the path toward vitality and health. As
    you read the prescriptions in this amazing book, you will see a catalyst
    for Jesus Christ. –Bob Crossman, New Church Strategist; author, Committed to Christ: Six Steps to a Generous Life

    Nobody is better than Bob and Kay at explaining the concept — and the
    specifics — of  ‘Prescriptions’ than can improve local church health.
    Very few people have spent more hours in church basements, parlors and
    sanctuaries across the country helping churches diagnose – and
    overcome—the real life problems they face.  Leveraging years of
    experience and insights, this book is an easy-to-use, instrumental tool
    for clergy and laity in churches that are willing to take definitive
    steps toward a new future. –Jim Ozier, Church Consultant, Coach,
    Speaker; author, Clip In: Risking Hospitality in Your Church

  • The Book of Church Growth

    By Thom Rainer

    The Church Growth Movement has divided devout Christians. Even though Rainer is an advocate, his aim here is to present an objective view of the movement–its history, the theology associated with it, and the principles which seem to separate churches that grow from those that don’t.

  • THE CHURCH: Why Bother?: The Nature, Purpose, & Functions of the Local Church

    By Jeffrey D. Johnson and Richard P. Belcher

    WHAT IS THE PURPOSE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST?

    “Since Christ loved the church enough to die for her, every believer ought to share that passion. Jeffrey Johnson clearly does, and I believe you will find his enthusiasm contagious.” John MacArthur

    In the Foreword he wrote for The Church: Why Bother?, Dr. Richard Belcher states, “This is the day and age of lawlessness and looseness both outside of God’s church and inside as well.” How heart-breaking, yet, how true. Everywhere we look these days, it seems there are “churches,” gatherings in the name of Jesus Christ, that more closely resemble the sinfulness of the unbelieving, Christ-rejecting world than the Lord and Savior who purchased His beloved church with his death and atoning blood. Today, more than ever, is a clear need for Christians to understand the nature, purpose, andfunctions of the local church.

    What are some of the questions to be answered concerning a biblical understanding of the local church?

    • Are Christians required to join themselves to a local church?
    • What are the responsibilities of church membership?
    • How is the church to be governed?

    The Church: Why Bother? provides clear biblical instruction upon…

    1. The NATURE of the Local Church versus the emphasis some place on the facilities wherein congregations gather.

    2. The PURPOSE of the Local Church in standing firm for the truth and fostering unity and community in the pursuit of purity and holiness.

    3. The CULTURE of the Local Church in its motives and motivations versus minimizing the holiness of God’s people and the unholiness of the world.

    4. The ACTIVITIES of the Local Church in our worship of God through preaching the Word, prayer, fellowship, ordinances and song versus a focus and emphasis on programs.

    5. The WORSHIP of God in the Local Church with attention to God through Christ as opposed to an emphasis upon self; of striving for biblical regulated worship in our services than a free-for-all that falls far short of the glory of God.

  • The Externally Focused Church

    by Rick Rusaw & Eric Swanson. Publisher: Group.

    Addresses a much needed change in church culture in the 21rst century.

  • The Healthy Small Church: Diagnosis and Treatment for the Big Issues

    By Dennis Bickers

    Small churches can be found in every denomination and among every ethnic group but often these churches struggle to survive in the shadow of the larger churches around them. And many of these churches are afflicted with unhealthy issues such as feelings of unimportance, a lack of vision, exclusivity, limited resources, and unbalanced leadership. It is because of these aliments that many churches fail to survive. But it is possible for an unhealthy church to become a healthy church capable of experiencing growth–both physically and spiritually. In his new book, The Healthy Small Church, small church pastor Dennis Bickers diagnoses the issues that threaten the life of the smaller church and prescribes practical remedies for treating these issues. He reminds churches that transformation and healing are never easy but always worth it. He emphasizes that to maintain a healthy church one must be aware of the symptoms and act accordingly to prevent new problems from arising. The Healthy Small Church offers pastors and church leaders a great diagnostic tool for small churches that want to be healthy and stay that way. It includes a number of diagnostic questions at the end of the book that they can use to determine the health of their church.

  • The High Definition Leader: Building Multiethnic Churches in a Multiethnic World

    By Derwin L. Gray

    The United States is know as the “Great Melting Pot,” yet a survey of our churches on Sunday Morning would reveal a noticeably different portrait of our ethnic make-up. Every facet of American culture is multi-ethnic. Yet, the Church is not. The church is segregated. Drawing from scripture, Derwin shows how the modern church is suffering from being homogenous and how we are not fulfilling our calling as effectively as we should be.

    The High-Definition Leader is a call for churches and their leaders to grow out of ignorance, class-ism, racism, and greed into a flourishing and vibrant community of believers united in their devotion to serving God and sharing His love with the world.

  • The Incredible Shrinking Church

    by Frank Page with John Perry. Publisher: B & H.

    Observation and discussion of how to reverse the decline of the North American church.

  • The Indispensable Guide for Smaller Churches

    by David R. Ray. Publisher: The Pilgrim Press.
  • The Minister’s Salary: And Other Challenges in Ministry Finance

    By Art Rainer

    Should I opt out of Social Security? How much housing allowance do I take? Do I have enough for retirement? Should I ask for a raise? Why should I even care about my financial picture? The Minister’s Salary was written to shed light on some of the issues that seem to most burden ministers. With simplicity and clarity, it provides a holistic look at key financial issues. The Minister’s Salary is an excellent, concise resource for anyone seeking answers to some of the most common financial questions asked by ministers.

  • The More – with – Less Church

    By Eddy Hall, Ray Bowman and Skipp Machmer

    Do more, spend less

    In challenging economic times, it is no surprise that churches must get creative with their resources. In The More-with-Less Church, the authors of the bestselling When Not to Build propose that church leaders look on these times as opportunities to reconsider ministry practices that may be siphoning time, money, and energy from their churches. Drawn from time- and field-tested strategies, this practical resource will help you avoid costly mistakes and maximize the return on investment in ministries, staffing, facilities, and finances.

    “The conventional church growth wisdom calls for bigger staff, bigger budgets, bigger buildings. The More-with-Less Church shows it’s possible to impact more people without breaking the budget or burning out staff.”–Drew Dyck, managing editor of Leadership Journal

    “This volume is chock-full of practical insights on how church leaders can free up more money for the real mission of the church–our impact BEYOND the church in helping people live better lives. The counterintuitive suggestions are just spot on.”–Reggie McNeal, author of Get Off Your Donkey!

    “The problem with many churches today isn’t a shortage of ministries, staff, buildings, or finances–but an abundance of all these resources that are overprogrammed, underutilized, or poorly managed. The More-with-Less Church shows how to maximize your church’s resources to fulfill its mission. Don’t start another program, hire another staff member, lay another brick, or raise another dollar until you read this book!”–Jim Tomberlin, author of 125 Tips for Multisite Churches

    The relationship among this book’s three authors is unique. Ray Bowman founded Living Stones Associates (LSA) in 1980. Eddy Hall succeeded him and now leads a team of ten consultants in addition to serving as head of staff at Hilltop Urban Church in Wichita, Kansas. Skipp Machmer joined LSA in 2011 and is being groomed to succeed Eddy. Skipp is executive pastor at Riverside Church in Big Lake, Minnesota.

  • The Strategically Small Church

    by Brandon J. O’Brien. Publisher: Bethany House.

    Finally help for smaller churches that focuses on the strengths of being small.