Turnaround Churches: How to Overcome Barriers to Growth and Bring New Life to an Established Church, by George Barna (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1993), 120 pages.
The North American Mission Board indicates that 82 percent of Southern Baptist churches have plateaued or declined in attendance. Such a shocking pronouncement has caused the Southern Baptist Convention, the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, and local Baptist associations and local churches to focus intentionally on church revitalization.
Church health and growth has been a constant effort forever in Southern Baptist life, but now there is a 911 call to greater action.
One helpful resource, among many others, to understand this disturbing reality and to strategize its reversal is this book by George Barna. Many are familiar with Barna from his previous books — such as The Frog in the Kettle, User Friendly Churches and The Power of Vision — and know of Barna’s precision in diagnosing illnesses and prescribing cures for what ails churches.
A sampler of that is covered in Turnaround Churches in a list of “Eight Symptoms to Watch For”: (1) Demographic Change, (2) Inadequate leadership, (3) Poor Management, (4) Old Blood, (5) Building Campaigns, (6) The Ingrown Family, (7) Resistance to Change, and (8) Spiritual Health (a lack of passion for ministry).
Lessons to learn include: (1) Long-term Pastoral Commitment (It takes four years or longer to see a turnaround.), (2) The Role of Money (Funds follow vision and passion.), (3) Church Must Recognize the Crisis (Churches notoriously wait too long to deal with the decline.), and (4) Unity Essential to Recovery (The pastor-laity bond must be strong.)
The information above is an appetizer. There is more in this book which is short (120 pages), but is chock-full of relevant insights.
If your church is in the 82 percent, read the book; if your church is in the 18 percent, read the book — to avoid the need for a turnaround.
State Missionary Dale Huff may be contacted at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 316, or (334) 613-2316, firstname.lastname@example.org.
– See more at: http://www.alsbom.org/blog/church-revitalization-book-review#sthash.PbJkWi6c.dpuf
Dale and his wife Lanelle, are members at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. They have two sons.
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