Week #17: Breakout Churches by Thom Rainer

This great book was inspired by the modern-day business classic Good to Great by Jim Collins. In fact Rainer makes no bones about the fact that he has completely borrowed (with the appropriate permissions) the Good to Great model. And why should that be a problem on the face. Collins’ book was a well-researched and widely acclaimed textbook for moving a business from the mediocre to the meteoric. Rainer’s theory is that some of these same principles can be used in helping churches to recover from declining or heading toward extinction.

The one word summary is that churches that pass through the simple growth of adolescence and are able to maintain growth into adulthood are willing to CHANGE. Rainer gives “live” examples of churches that were once vibrant and are now anemic or deceased. Sadly of the list of the top 20 churches from only a few decades ago only a handful continues to have any measurable impact in terms of ministry.

I have thought about this much. I believe in this. I believe that churches that refuse or are simply unable to change will die out. As present a reality as this is, it is equally important that we not embrace change without boundary. There must be something that guides our decisions for what to change and when. I have chosen to pattern those changes (especially the theologically) after the Bible. That is not always a simple thing. That is not always an easy pattern to follow through on. And there may even be times where the truths of the Scripture seem to impede the very changes I seek to embrace. But without a template there will never be an adequate guide for what to change or when to change it. This is the path I have chosen to journey.


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