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Church Health - Resources

ImageA Healthy Church -

Ed Stetzer & David Putman. Breaking the Missional Code: Your Church Can Become a Missionary in your community. Broadman & Holman, 2006.

Why are some churches and pastors effective and others are now even when both faithfully preach, teach, and reach out. Stetzer and Putman emphasize that there are cultural barriers, in addition to spiritual ones, that prevent people from understanding and accepting the gospel. The task for leaders is that we find the right way to break through those cultural barriers without removing the spiritual and theological ones. "Breaking the missional code does not mean just finding the best model (or models) for your community. Instead, it means that discovering the principles that work in every context, selecting the tools most relevant for your context..., and then learning to apply them in a missionally effective manner." They emphasize that the church must think "missionally," and "if we are not focusing on missiology then we are being disobedient to the Great Commission." This is a "must-read" for all pastors and church leaders.

Gene A. Getz, The Measure of a Healthy Church.  Moody Press, 2007.

How does one measure health in a church?  Getz moves beyond number of “decisions” for Christ, size of membership, forms or structures, to biblical principles that define and serve as a measurement of a healthy church. The book is a helpful biblical approach to understand how God assesses the strength, health and maturity of the church.  [Amazon.com]
Stephen A. Macchia,  Becoming a Healthy Church:  10 Characteristics. Baker Books, 1999.
Macchia’s ten characteristics of a healthy church emerged through an extensive process involving many church leaders in a variety of denominations.  The ten characteristics evaluate the church in three levels:  Level 1:  our relationship to God; Level 2:  our relationship to our church family; Level 3:  how our church ministers and manages.  Cultivating these characteristics in the church can lead to spiritual vitality, a strong community and vigor in it’s outreach.  [Amazon.com]

Peter Scazzero with Warren Bird, The Emotionally Healthy Church:  A Strategy for Discipleship that Actually Changes Lives.  Zondervan, 2003.
Things often look good on the surface, but probing beneath the veneer can reveal emotional issues and relational problems that are brewing.  They emphasize that we often look everywhere else but inside.  Healthy churches, say Scazzero and Bird, must take a penetrating look beneath the surface and break the power of the past.  Growth toward Christlikeness requires that “we get rid of our old hard, protective shells and allow God to take us to a new place in him.”   [Amazon.com]
Retreat, Seminar & Workshop Track -

Stephen A. Macchia,  Becoming a Healthy Team: 5 Traits of Vital Leadership.  Baker Books, 2005.  
Macchia emphasizes that healthy leadership teams are essential for creating effective ministry and mission.  Macchia says that effective teams embrace and function around five principles:  trust, empowerment, assimilate, manage, and serve.  Macchia emphasizes that it isn’t as easy as it sounds, but it is certainly within reach for all ministries and ultimately provides the leadership qualities needed for the development of a healthy church.  [Amazon.com]

Charles M. Olsen, Transforming Church Boards into Communities of Spiritual Leaders. Alban Institute, 1995.  

Loren B. Mead (Albun Institute) poses the question many ask, “What good is a church board?”  Olsen emphasizes that church boards can become the focus for a congregation’s spiritual growth and strong outreach.  He provides a model that can be energizing and life-giving to its members rather than draining and lead to burn-out.  He emphasizes that serving on a church board should be “worshipful work” where leaders integrate their work of leading the organization with leading the spiritual life of the congregation.  For Olson the most opportune place to exert infuence for the transformation of a congregation is at the heart of the life of the church - the offiial board. He offers inspiring and practical ways to make the meetings of the church board opportunities for deepening faith, developing leadership, and ultimately renewing the church. [Amazon.com]


Ken Jennings and John Stahl-Wert, The Serving Leader:  5 Powerful Actions that Will Transform Your Team, Your Business, and Your Community.  Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2002.  

This is not a typical book on leadership.  It provides a unique counter-intuitive action approach to leading by serving others.  In the forward Ken Blanchard writes that here is a book about the “journey of growth that every great leader must be willing to take.”  This is not a top down but bottom up model where the serving leader creates results by putting other people first, charge up and encourage others, “raise the bar” of excellence, remove obstacles so others can succeed, builds on strength, and run to a great purpose.  It’s 100 plus pages are pack with wisdom about leadership that even Jesus would affirm (Matt. 20:25-28).  [Amazon.com]
Revisioning Track -

CHAT - Church Health Assessment Tool

Pastors and church leaders often wish for the opportunity for a heart-to-heart conversation with every member of the congregation. Thanks to Leadership Transformations, such a tool (CHAT - Church Health Assessment Tool) makes that possible. CHAT is a user-friendly online 72-question assessment survey that covers the ten church health principles from Steven Macchia's, Becoming a Healthy Church. The Pacific District Conference has arranged with Leadership Transformations to make the service available at a discounted rate to member churches. Please contact the Pacific District Conference office if you are interested in utilizing this tool to provide a "snapshot" for you and your leaders of the health of your congregation. You may also visit [www.healthychurch.net]


Gil Rendle & Alice Mann, Holy Conversations:  Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice for Congregations.  Alban Institute, 2003.

One of the key responsibilities of pastors and congregational leaders is to help the congregation understand where it is going, why such a direction is important, and how to get there.  The authors emphasize that congregational planning should be a process that helps the congregation participate in “holy” conversations about its future.  Utilizing ideas and methods typically used in strategic planning processes, Holy Conversations engages the congregation in a structured discernment around three critical questions:  who are we? (identity); what has called us to do and be? (purpose); who is our neighbor? (mission).   The book provides detailed guidelines about structuring the planning process and includes almost 100 pages of helpful resources to help leaders initiate and guide “holy” conversations in their congregation about its future mission and ministry.   [Amazon.com]

Transition Track -

Elizabeth Achtemeier, So You’re Looking for a New Preacher.  Eerdman, 1991.
This is a must read for search committees.  The book, says Achtemeier, is intended to help pulpit committees “select good preachers to call to their pulpits.”  The pastor will be expected to fill almost an endless list of roles, yet she says “nothing that your minister does will be more important than preaching.”   There is a brief section on how to organize a search committee.  The central focus of the books 62 pages, however, is to help search committees understand what marks quality preachers and quality preaching.  [Amazon.com]

John Vonhof,  Pastoral Search:  The Alban Guide to Managing the Pastoral Search Process.  Alban Institute, 1999.
This resource for pastoral search committees is packed with commonsense ideas to guide the lessen the fears and increase the success of a healthy marriage of pastor and congregation.  The book is filled with practical ideas about organizing the committee, preparing an information packet about the church, selecting criteria for selecting a pastor, handling references, conducting interviews, managing the call process, and managing a smooth transition.  The book includes helpful appendices of a congregational survey, pastoral questionnaire, form letters, and pastoral responsibilities and relationships.  [Amazon.com]

The Pastoral Search Process -

Please contact the Pacific District Conference office or the District Minister, Gary Wall, for information on the following resources:

  • Preparing for a Pastoral Search
  • Interviewing Guidelines
  • Candidating Guidlines
  • Interim Arrangements

Church Conflict Track -

Ken Sande, The Peacemaker:  A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict.  Revised and Updated.  Baker Books, 2004.  
The Peacemaker is a practical guide for anyone involved in resolving conflict between individuals, in families, churches, the workplace, and neighborhoods.  It is a rich practical resource with biblical guidelines for resolving conflict.  [Amazon.com]

Ron Susek,  Firestorm:  Preventing and Overcoming Church Conflicts.  Baker, 1999.
Disagreements and conflict can create a firestorm that destroys the fabric of trust and relationships in the church.  When such a storm comes the cause of Christ is hindered and those wounded often bear scars for the rest of their lives.  Susek provides a manual to understand the nature and the cause of a conflictive firestorm.  He describes how to prevent a firestorm, God’s design for dealing with one, and how to recover should one occur.  It is a must read for pastors and church leaders.  [Amazon.com]
"Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies" Fresno Pacific University
 The Pacific District Conference works together with Fresno Pacific University's "Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies" to provide counsel, training, and mediation for dealing with conflict in the congregation. Please contact the Pacific District Conference office for information about seminars, training, and services the district and/or University can provide in peacemaking, conflict resolution and mediation.

Papers on Church Health -

Larry Martens, Pursuing Church Health.  Christian Leader, June 2004. [download pdf]
Jim Westgate, Shades of Congregationalism.  Unpublished Paper.  [download pdf ]

Church Health Links -

Stephen Macchia's Leadership Transformations [www.leadershiptransformations.org]

"Brethren in Christ" [www.bic-church.org]

"Evangelical Free Church" [www.efca.org/health]


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