on August 14, 2000
This book is an excellent answer to the question, "how do we transform declining congregations into Christ-like bodies that display the power of the Gospel in our communities?" [page 1]
Jim Herrington and James Furr of this author triad are great friends of mine in ministry. Readers should take time to abosorb the spiritual and strategic wisdom of these two guys along with the third author, Mike Bonem.
For congregational leaders and congregational champions who are looking for a solid change process that has been well tested by practitioners, this is a good book to add to your collection.
Judicatory leaders will especially want this book as it was written from the perspective of reinventing how a local denominational organization helps its congregations to transform.
For congregational leaders and congregational champions who feel they already know the process they like to use for change and transition, this is a book that at least they must reference. Too many processes do not adequately address the spiritual and relationship vitality that is so well addressed by this book.
on July 6, 2000
As the General Supervisor of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in the United States, I am constantly looking for leading edge thinking to resource our 5,000 licensed ministers. The authors of LEADING CONGREGATIONAL CHANGE are much more than just brilliant theorists or students of change theory. They are practitioners who have successfully piloted their recommended change process and offer this excellent book to help leaders in congregations seeking true and lasting change.
LEADING CONGREGATIONAL CHANGE recognizes the complexities and difficulties in bringing real change to established congregations. No quick fix or limited approach produces the fundamental changes needed to position many established congregations for future vitality. The authors apply current change theory to the local church in a sequential and understandable way.
I purchased multiple copies of this book and distributed them to Foursquare District Supervisors across the U.S., recommending that they encourage pastors in their regions to use this excellent resource.
on May 27, 2000
Jim Herrington and co-authors Mike Bonem and James Furr have written an absolutely stellar book entitled, "Leading Congregational Change: A Practical Guide for the Transformational Journey."
Jim has previously written about the three levels at which transformation must occur, "What is needed is a radical transformation of individual believers and local congregations in order that we might begin to see transformation in the city." (See City-Reaching: The Road to Community Transformation)
He asserts that individuals, local congregations and the City Church as a whole must be transformed in order to transform the city. The terrible reality is that in nearly every city in America we find 70% - 80% of local congregations so unhealthy as to be incapable of sustaining community impact. The local congregation is in dire need of revitalization.
The authors present a Congregational Transformation Model that integrates three interactive and interdependent components; spiritual and relational vitality, an eight-stage process for change, and four essential learning disciplines.
The authors write, "Spiritual and relational vitality forms the heart of the transformation process. Congregations without and adequate level of vitality will not be able to sustain significant change. A congregation that is not committed to following God or that is experiencing significant discord within the body will find it virtually impossible to follow the difficult path of transformation.
"The eight-stage change process is the sequential component of the model that gives form and direction to the transformation. It is not enough to know that change is needed, or even to have a clear image of the church's future. The challenge is to create a realistic way to get there. The eight stages give structure and sequence to the process of moving from today's reality to a distant tomorrow.
"The third component represents a set or learning disciplines that are essential for the leaders who will guide the transformation. Without these disciplines, the many hurdles that are encountered in the long journey are probably insurmountable."
These experienced congregational change leaders are insightful, practical, and powerfully compelling. This is a must read for every leader concerned with community transformation.
on May 30, 2000
This book does not offer simplistic answers to a complex issue. Instead, it provides tested, seasoned directions, discussions, and examples for leading congregations to a "preferred future". It's a must read for every church leader.