If the various studies are accurate, the majority of churches in America are plateaued or declining. And that means that many are in need of revitalization. Perhaps your church is as well. That’s why I’m so encouraged that over the past few years, there has been a renewed emphasis on church health and revitalization. With this renewed emphasis, there have been several books written to address this topic.
A pastor friend of mine recently asked what books I would recommend to someone who wanted to read about this topic. Although I certainly haven’t read everything on this subject, here are my top 5 books on church revitalization (in no particular order):
Autopsy of a Deceased Church by Thom Rainer
One of the first steps to revitalization is recognizing that there is a problem. In this short book, Rainer examines churches that have died and offers 10 common characteristics of those churches. Questions are included at the end of each chapter for reflection and discussion with others. This book doesn’t offer a lot of solutions, but it does help the reader to identify if your church has some of the symptoms of a dying church. If you find that it does, then you will definitely want to read some of the other recommendations listed below.
From Embers to a Flame by Harry L. Reeder III
Like Rainer’s book, the opening chapter of this book also lists characteristics of sick and dying churches. However, the majority of Reeder’s book explains 10 biblical revitalization strategies, which the author has found to be very effective in his own ministry. This book is saturated with biblical examples and principles to create an environment for God to revitalize your church, and it is certainly worth your time to read.
There’s Hope For Your Church by Gary McIntosh
As the title indicates, this is a book full of hope. Gary McIntosh writes in a very practical and positive manner, and he offers 13 revitalization steps to help struggling churches. This is a helpful introductory book to the topic of church revitalization.
Comeback Churches by Ed Stetzer & Mike Dodson
Based upon research of 324 churches throughout North America that have experienced significant revitalization, Stetzer & Dodson offer common characteristics among these “comeback churches”. Unlike the books listed above by Reeder and McIntosh, this book is based upon research.
Transformational Church by Ed Stetzer & Thom Rainer
Stetzer & Rainer begin this book by discussing how churches have long measured success by “bodies, budgets, and buildings”. However, based upon a survey of over 7,000 churches throughout North America, this book identifies and promotes a new scorecard for churches including a missionary mentality, vibrant leadership, relational intentionality, prayerful dependence, worship, community, and mission. This book is one of the most helpful on the topic of revitalization, and there is an accompanying survey and DVD study that church leaders can participate in. There have also been spinoff books such as Transformational Discipleship and Transformational Groups.
These are my top 5 books on the topic of revitalization, but what would you add to the list? What books have helped you in this area?
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