Church Leadership Foundations, Research on Effective Churches
Sunday, February 7, 2010 at 10:14AM
Dr. Carlus Gupton in Christian leadership, Christian ministry, Church Leaders, Church Leadership and Renewal, Congregational research, Healthy churches, Ministry in Church, Ministry resources

Christian Ministry Resources 

Church Leadership Foundations - Research on Effective Churches


Part of the Ministry Resource Guide on Church Leadership, Renewal, and Development.


Many materials on church leadership and renewal are based on the experience of one church. The assumption is that what worked in one setting may work in others, so the method is systematized and set forth as a reproducible strategy. Others are based on research of several churches, but the small sampling of congregations limits its applicability to churches with vastly different demographics. The temptation is to view these studies mechanistically, as if to say, “If you do this, it will result in a great church, just like it did in these cases.”

There is another genre of congregational research that is more helpful. Not only is the research conducted very responsibly, sometimes with independent audits of the method and findings, but the general implications for all churches are drawn with more humility and caution. Among Evangelicals, LifeWay Research, directed by Ed Stetzer, can be counted on for quality work. Another reputable group is Alban Institute. Their books have helped thousands of church leaders.

The following list highlights a few of the best recent studies on effective congregations. I have divided them by Evangelical and Mainline Protestant because although there is some overlap, these resources aim toward a specific audience. Books are listed in suggested order under each category.

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Resources, Evangelical

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Resources, Protestant

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