McIntosh, There's Hope for your Church


Gary L. McIntosh, There’s Hope for Your Church: First Steps to Restoring Health and Growth. Baker Books, 2012.

Referenced in: Summary

This is a distillation of McIntosh’s four decades of consultations with over 1,000 churches and his experience as a professor of ministry. He presents a step-by-step approach to church revitalization, though he acknowledges it is never this clean and easy. He writes with the hope that leaders of all orientations - church growth, spiritual formation, missional - will see value in his process. It is a great collection of practical wisdom that leaders of all stripes could benefit from.

1. See the Potential

2. Commit to Lead - Distinction between revitalization pastor and revitalization leader. Emphasis is on leader of a D or I style on the DISC Profile who is willing to engage at least a seven year process through five levels of leadership.

3. Assess the Situation - Eight signs of trouble that may signal a need for revitalization in your church

4. Learn the Principles - Universal revitalization principles that work in all churches

5. Discern God’s Vision - Defines vision as the intersection of the pastor’s leadership passion, the passion and gifts of the congregation, and the community needs.

6. Build a Coalition - A team of commited influencers who help the leader conceive, plan, and execute the change, and whose “early adopter” status helps disseminate the change throughout the congregation.

7. Lift the Morale - Instill hope so that people see their best days ahead

8. Make Hard Decisions - Become and remain decisive about what is necessary for the church to move to the next level.

9. Refocus the Ministry - Focus inward rather than outward

10. Equip for Change - Discusses change dynamics generally, with some insights into church identity, congregational history, and generational issues.

11. Deal With Resistance - Explains resistance as coming from those who lose their sense of identity, control, meaning, belonging, and future. See Bridges Managing Transitions for expansion on this.

12. Stay the Course - Keeping with the vision and plan, while remaining open to feedback, brings better results than anxious reversals.

13. Breaking Through - Experience the victories and fresh new opportunties revitalization brings.

One very interesting section is the Appendix, Rebirthing A Church. This is different than church planting. In a sense, it is a church re-planting. He describes the most common approach to rebirthing:

  1. An established ministry recognizes its ministry is not working.
  2. A small core of people envision a new future for the church
  3. Through a series of events and meetings, the church agrees to close its public ministry and release current members to join other churches of to commit to becoming part of a new direction for the church.
  4. Appropriate legal changes are made, such as a new church name.
  5. Following a six- to twelve month cocooning, during which prayer and plans for a new church take place, the church rebirths itself and opens as a new church.

McIntosh mentions that this works best under certain conditions, e.g the church is small, ineffective, and has a core group with a vision for a new style of ministry.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

A startling 85% of churches in the US are plateaued or declining, a trend that has been building for the past fifty years. In the face of shrinking attendance and lagging spiritual growth, pastors and church leaders are understandably discouraged and demoralized. But the first step to turning things around is hope. Church health expert Gary McIntosh offers this hope by showing church leaders the first things they need to do to make a new start for their church.

God can and does restore churches to new life, even as he restores individuals. The street-smart ideas and step-by-step instructions found in this book are ones that pastors and church leaders can put to use immediately in their churches to bring about solid growth and renewed hope for the future.

About the Author

Gary L. McIntosh is president of the Church Growth Network and professor of Christian ministry and leadership at Talbot School of Theology. He leads seminars and has written eighteen books, including Biblical Church Growth, Beyond the First Visit, and Taking Your Church to the Next Level.

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***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***


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