Title: “Church Unique”
Subtitle: How missional leaders cast vision, capture culture, and create movement.
Author: Will Mancini
Publisher: Leadership Network Publication
ISBN: 978-0-7879-9683-3 (hardcover)
I would highly recommend this book to any Church Leader, lay or professional. It cuts through the common assumptions and misconceptions we all have when we consider how to turn a church around. It will eliminate the mistakes that are often made that waist time and resources and then create burn out.
How This Book Helped Our Church:
As the Church Chairman, I read this book when our church, Olathe Covenant, was going through a difficult transition period. Our attendance had been on a steady decline for over 5 years. For a three year period we had not a single couple or family under 40 years of age visit and stay. Our lead pastor accepted another call. Our youth director accepted another call. We were over $24,000 in debt.
After reading this book and “I Refuse to Lead a Dieing Church” by Paul Nixon, the church Leadership Team decided to follow the guidelines and recommendations in these two books. We did this even if these guidelines ran contrary to those provided by our denominational conference leadership.
As a result we chose to go with a non-traditional model of a video worship experience. From August to December of 2008 we used LifeChurch.tv Message videos in place of traditional pulpit supply. We did this for several reasons:
- This would make us “Unique” in our area which is a main point of Mancini’s book.
- The Messages from LifeChurch.tv were free so this saved on the cost of pulpit supply.
- The concept, worship experience and the content of the LifeChurch.tv Messages by Craig Groeschel were “X” & “Y” generation friendly.
When we had our Annual Meeting in December of 2008 the members voted to continue with this video worship experience. Subsequently, in February of 2009 the congregation voted, with only one dissenting vote, to become a LifeChurch.tv Network Church. Since then we have had seven families (all under the age of 40) visit and three have remained and have become active in church ministries. In addition 6 singles (all under the age of 40) have visited with one continuing to visit and another who has become a member of our Praise Team.
In addition to the above we have paid off our $24,000 of debt. Our attendance has stabilized. We have been in the black for over nine months. After our worship team leader decided to leave last fall because he did not agree with the LifeChurch.tv model, we were able to bring in a new Worship Team Leader who has published two CD’s, (one vocal and the other insturmental), and he is working on a third that will be Praise music. We just completed a much needed and expensive repair, seal and restriping of our parking lot. And now we plan to turn our focus on the interior of the worship center to bring it up to LifeChurch.tv standards.
So what was the key to the turn around? The Leadership Team walked through the process in “Church Unique” and as a result we eliminated some cherished ideas. The most important idea was this — that by adding another ministry, this would be the silver bullet that would turn our church around. Rather, as Will Mancini discusses in his book, we simplified by throwing everything out and then we came up with three basic ministries that we were going to focus on and do well. No matter the pain, the rest of the ministies were eliminated.
The three main ministries we focused on were:
- The LifeChurch.tv Worship Experience: We decided we would follow this format even it it made some uncomfortable because it’s not about us, it’s about those who need Christ. See Craig Groeschel’s Message “Dangerous Church 2″ (Message Week #1 and Message Week #2). Also see Andy Stanley’s Message on LifeChurch.tv regarding the Church should be “A Place for Everyone“.
- Children’s Ministries: We focused on this area rather than trying to do all the ministries for adults and high school, etc.
- LifeGroups: We made a focused effort to get as many persons as possible in LifeGroups. In the past many of our members connected intimately only with the pastor on Sunday morning. Since we were doing a video Message from LifeChurch.tv, and there was no live person in the pulpit, so we replaced it with the intimacy in the LifeGroups.
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