Breakout Churches: Discover How to Make the Leap

Breakout Churches: Discover How to Make the Leap

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by Thom S. Rainer
     
 

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Breakout Churches Can Your Church Become One? This is the story of thirteen churches and the leaders who moved them from stagnancy to growth and from mediocrity to greatness. Drawing on one of the most comprehensive studies ever on the church, this book reveals the process of becoming a “breakout” church and the factors that lead to this spiritual

Overview

Breakout Churches Can Your Church Become One? This is the story of thirteen churches and the leaders who moved them from stagnancy to growth and from mediocrity to greatness. Drawing on one of the most comprehensive studies ever on the church, this book reveals the process of becoming a “breakout” church and the factors that lead to this spiritual metamorphosis. Eighty percent of the approximately 400,000 churches in the United States are either declining or at a plateau. Is there hope for the American church? Breakout Churches offers a resounding “yes!” and offers specific examples and principles to help you and your church become more effective.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From the subtitle to the research methods, this is a book-length, church-focused homage to Jim Collins's business bestseller Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't. Rainer, a dean at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and president of a church consulting firm, sent a Collins-inspired team of researchers to pore through previously collected data on "effective evangelistic churches." The team was looking for churches that had gone through a period of stagnation before experiencing a "breakout" period of vitality, measured largely through membership growth-while keeping the same pastoral leadership. These criteria excluded both churches that had grown consistently or churches that grew after changing pastors. Of the 50,000 churches in the seminary's database, only 13 qualified. Rainer seeks to identify the secret of those churches' success and draws some telling comparisons with similar churches that were in gradual decline (and persistent denial). But his conclusions are consistently tainted by what statisticians call "post hoc bias"-there is no way to prove that the factors he identifies, which track closely with Collins's conclusions, were responsible for these churches' growth. The real value of this book is the hope Rainer instills that even churches that appear moribund can see remarkable change-if their leaders are willing, in Rainer's words, to "confront reality." (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
enrichment
'...a refreshingly candid overview....A great read.'

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780310296744
Publisher:
Zondervan
Publication date:
05/26/2009
Sold by:
Zondervan Publishing
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
370,657
File size:
5 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Breakout Churches
Copyright 2005 by Thom S. Rainer
Requests for information should be addressed to:
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Rainer, Thom S.
Breakout churches : discover how to make the leap / Thom S. Rainer.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-310-25745-X (hardcover)
1. Church growth. 2. Christian leadership. I. Title.
BV652.25.R365 2004
253---dc22 2004008376
This edition is printed on acid-free paper.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International
Version. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of
Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations identified as NASB are taken from The New American Standard Bible. Copyright
1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.
The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource to you. These websites
are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we
vouch for their content for the life of this book.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication except for the Church Readiness Inventory may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means---electronic,
mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other---except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without
the prior permission of the publisher. The Church Readiness Inventory in appendix E may be copied
without written permission.
Illustrations copyright 2005 by Jess W. Rainer
Interior design by Tracey Walker
Printed in the United States of America
05 06 07 08 09 10 11 / . DCI / 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

CHAPTER 1
WHY GOOD
IS NOT ENOUGH:
THE CHRYSALIS FACTOR
The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter
us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
---Abraham Lincoln
It is a sin to be good if God has called us to be great.
Christians refer to Matthew 28:18--20 as the Great Commission,
not the Good Commission. Jesus himself said that the words we read
in Matthew 22:37 and 39 are the Great Commandments, not the Good
Commandments. And the apostle Paul did not call love something that is
good; instead, he said 'the greatest of these is love' (1 Cor. 13:13, emphasis
added).
The power of seeking to be great rather than good became clear when
I read Jim Collins's book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the
Leap . . . and Others Don't, in which he began with the opening line:'Good
is the enemy of great.'With the encouragement of my publisher I elected
to write a book on churches, modeled on the Good to Great framework.
This book was inspired by Good to Great, and we borrowed the research
15
process, the structure and outline of the book, and the architecture of its
ideas as the blueprint for this work.
THE DIFFICULTIES IN FINDING GREAT CHURCHES
Think of some criteria to measure great churches. Attendance increases?
Number of conversions? Impact on culture? Transformed lives? If you have
settled on one or more criteria, name fifty churches that would meet them.
Can you name forty churches? Thirty?
Let's make the search more difficult. Think of churches that meet your
'great' criteria after being a so-so church for many years. In other words,
discover some churches that have made the leap to greatness.
Let's make the test even more problematic.Name all the churches that
have made the transition without changing the senior pastor or senior minister.
In other words, the church broke out under the same leadership.
If you are having trouble naming several such churches, you have a
taste of the difficulties the research team encountered in this project.We
believe, quite simply, that there are very few breakout churches in America.
In fact, although we have data on thousands of churches, we found
only thirteen churches that survived the rigorous screening.
But the lessons we learned from these churches are priceless.
Figure 1A offers a quick snapshot of the incredible leaps taken by
breakout churches. Following the research methodology used by Jim
Collins in Good to Great, we compared the thirteen churches we found
with a carefully selected control group of churches that failed to make
the leap. The factors distinguishing one group from the other fascinated
our team.
As just one point of comparison, the chart looks at worship attendance
of the two groups of churches. The breakout churches had a clearly identified
point at which they began to experience significant growth. Drawing
upon the Good to Great terminology of 'transition point,' we called
this juncture the 'breakout point.'We then took the five years preceding
and the five years following the breakout point and compared the same
years with the direct comparison churches.
For the five years prior to breakout, all of the churches were struggling
to stay even in worship attendance. Then the difference between the two
groups is dramatic. The average worship attendance of the comparison
churches declined for the next five years, while in the breakout churches
it increased 71 percent.
16  BREAKOUT CHURCHES
How did churches with very unremarkable pasts become great
churches? What took place in these fellowships that made them so extraordinary?
How did these churches make the leap when more than 90 percent
of American churches did not come close to doing so?
Can a good but plodding church become a great church? We believe
the answer is an unequivocal yes.We hope the stories you are about to read
will inspire you to move your church to greatness. Before we get too caught
up in the details, let's hear from one church that made the transition---but
not without a great sacrifice at great cost.
THE TEMPLE CHURCH FACES THE COST OF MAKING THE LEAP
The Temple Church opened its doors for its first worship service at the
American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1977.
The congregation subsequently met in two other borrowed facilities before
constructing its own buildings in 1980. The founding pastor was Bishop
Michael Lee Graves.
By most standards, The Temple Church was successful from its inception.
Growth was steady, if not spectacular, in the early years.A Christian
private school began. An adjunctive ministry, Samaritan's Ministries,
reached out to the inner city of North Nashville by providing nutritional
Figure 1A. Attendance of Breakout Churches and Comparison Churches
WHY GOOD IS NOT ENOUGH: THE CHRYSALIS FACTOR  17
support for the hungry, medical assistance, spiritual and psychological
counseling, and educational and vocational training. One leader in the community
credited The Temple Church with playing a major role in reducing
drug and gang violence in the area.
The list of Temple's ministries exceeded fifty and was growing. The
church was one of the most respected African-American churches in the
early 1980s. A multimillion-dollar facility was complete. The members
began to see their identity with the church as a banner of prestige. The
Temple Church, by most standards, was making a difference. Then the
crash came.
As researcher George P. Lee discovered, not many people recognized
that a crash had taken place.True, worship attendance declined from 1,000
in 1984 to 880 in 1985. But Bishop Graves, the only person to sense trouble,
felt the decline in attendance was only symptomatic of greater problems.
'There was a sense of apathy growing among the members,' Graves
reflected. More important, he sensed that God's vision for The Temple
Church was for it to be a multiracial, multiethnic church for people of all
socioeconomic classes.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
From the subtitle to the research methods, this is a book-length, church-focused homage to Jim Collins's business bestseller Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't. Rainer, a dean at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and president of a church consulting firm, sent a Collins-inspired team of researchers to pore through previously collected data on 'effective evangelistic churches.' The team was looking for churches that had gone through a period of stagnation before experiencing a 'breakout' period of vitality, measured largely through membership growth---while keeping the same pastoral leadership. These criteria excluded both churches that had grown consistently or churches that grew after changing pastors. Of the 50,000 churches in the seminary's database, only 13 qualified. Rainer seeks to identify the secret of those churches' success and draws some telling comparisons with similar churches that were in gradual decline (and persistent denial). But his conclusions are consistently tainted by what statisticians call 'post hoc bias'---there is no way to prove that the factors he identifies, which track closely with Collins's conclusions, were responsible for these churches' growth. The real value of this book is the hope Rainer instills that even churches that appear moribund can see remarkable change---if their leaders are willing, in Rainer's words, to 'confront reality.' (Feb.) -- Publisher’s Weekly

Meet the Author

Thom S. Rainer (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and, Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.

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Breakout Churches: Discover How to Make the Leap 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book. The best part about it was that Rainer investigates 'real' churches - not the super-mega churches out there. It's hard to imaging duplicating the work of Rick Warren or Bill Hybels (who have done amazing things for the Kingdom) instead, Rainer takes you on a tour of churches that were not always growing like gangbusters yet turned things around. The book gives church leaders and members hope that they too can, with God's power, lead their churches to breakout of the rut or decline that is plagueing them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book will help you to score how far or close your church is to break out an move from a good Church to a great Church
Sistergirl845 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It is a must read for anyone who loves their church but feels like things are taking a turn for the worst.
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