Preparing for Growth

Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Proverbs 29:18

Each church is unique. It is also true there is no single "magic" solution which will produce spiritual or numerical growth for every church, every time. There are a lot of different needs and circumstances among churches and congregations for just one solution to work.

However, there are a number of resource books which gather together known church growth processes and theories that work across a wide spectrum of different sized churches and spiritual circumstances. I believe that with a bit of adjustment to Paoli's particular circumstances we may be able to apply some of these models and theories to produce the spiritual and numerical growth desired. What follows are suggested readings based on my own experience of what works in a variety of church settings:

Partners in Prayer by John Maxwell is the first book I would recommend the congregation read. Using Psalm 25:4-5, John Maxwell describes how prayer changes us. First God shows us his ways. Then God teaches us how to follow his path and last of all God continues to guide us. [1] So with the Bible as a primary resource and this book as your secondary resource your prayer power is strengthened.

The Church Growth Handbook by William Easum is the second book I would recommend. Easum's Ministry Audit in the back of the book lists how to grow your worship and Sunday school.

Discerning Your Congregation's Future by Roy M. Oswald and Robert E. Friedrich Jr. focuses on a theology and methodology that places the congregation at the center of the visioning and planning process. [2] One of the key questions which the authors attempt to answer is, How can we understand and live out the will of God? [3]

Each of these books can be found on Amazon.com or at other discount Internet book stores. I would encourage you to take time to read these books as one possible way to prepare the Paoli church for focused congregational discussions on spiritual and numerical growth.

Your pastor's goal in suggesting these books is to provide a common information and resource base for the entire congregation to discuss. This is a necessary first step the congregation must take as we prepare to grow, spiritually and numerically.

1: Partners in Prayer by John Maxwell, page 9.

2: Discerning Your Congregation's Future by Roy M. Oswald and Robert E. Friedrich Jr., page v.

3: Ibid., page x.