Thursday, June 12, 2008

Producing a Comeback Church

There's currently a very interesting interview posted on with the authors of a book on "Comeback Churches." Here is a sampling--to read the entire article, click on

Producing a Comeback Church
Ed Stetzer and Mike Norman

In a study that resulted in our book Comeback Churches (B&H Publishing), 324 comeback churches were surveyed in order to seek answers to the questions of what and how to make a comeback from a trend of spiraling downward, both spiritually and numerically.

How did 324 churches start growing again after experiencing a pattern of plateau or decline? Based upon the information gathered in this study, some church change factors were perceived to be more important than others by comeback leaders.

Guidelines to Attain Revitalization

Leadership is the most important factor in making a comeback.

Leadership is rated as the factor having the highest impact by comeback leaders. Leadership is about influence. Churches that are in a pattern of plateau or decline need strong leaders who will point the way to revitalization. Comeback leaders illustrated the truth that church renewal, in many ways, does occur based on strong, effective leadership.

But what kind of leadership does the church need? Comeback leaders identified several important components of leadership in their responses—the development of an attitude of growth, intentionality and proactivity, shared ministry and the activation of a shared vision.

Comeback leaders are not willing to settle for a slow or no-growth mentality; maintaining a small-church mind-set is not an option. They are willing to identify and make necessary changes and set growth goals. Survey respondents describe an environment where the ministry is shared with the people based up on a common vision.


Blogger danny2 said...

imagine how glorious Jeremiah's ministry could have been had he not been tied down by that small-church-mindset.

poor guy. he just didn't get it.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, true Danny2, but everyone knows you have to get big in order to break down into small groups.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Nicholas Philiposian said...

Every faithful pastor wants to see his church grow which is good! The question is, who grows the church? Is ministry what I do for Jesus? Or is ministry rooted in the post-ascension work of Christ (Hebrews 3:1)? I believe that many ministers (include me sometimes) need to be freed from the "it's all up to me to grow my church" syndrome which instills pride (when I have the numbers) and despair (when I don't). Besides, this syndrome is such a hindrance to faithful (Christlike) ministry because it is rooted in what I can do, as opposed to what Christ is already doing. I think that we all need to be reminded of the truth that ministry is what Jesus is doing. As a minister, I participate in what the glorious and all-powerful Christ is already doing in the pastoral work that has been entrusted to me by the living Christ. Our pastoral work is not redemptive, only His ministry is redemptive. Jesus is the One--the only Only One--who forgives, blesses, heals, renews, instructs and brings life out of death. Karl Barth said that Jesus doesn't need our ministries; our ministries need Jesus. I think that he is correct. I believe that pastoral skills are important and do need to be developed, but ministry cannot be merely skills driven, it must be God-driven. Ministry runs much deeper than one's strong leadership, refined vision statements, intentionality and proactivity, etc . . . Ministry is Christ sharing His work with His people--I don't do for Jesus, I participate in what He does! A God-driven ministry liberates one from an unhealthy obsession with numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, etc . . . Jeremiah (and Isaiah) didn't have the numbers, so to speak, but they weren’t failures; they were faithful in completing the work that God had given them. Faithfulness to the work of Christ is what He desires. Growth happens in God's way and in God's time. ". . . so the holy seed will be the stump in the land" (Is. 6:13).

2:01 PM  

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