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The Blessed Church: The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love

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Overview

How can I help my church stay focused on its purpose?
What would a culture of generosity look like for my church?
What part does rest play in a healthy church?

Whether you are a pastor, a volunteer, or a church member, you want your church to grow well. After all, there’s no better place to experience God than in the loving, healthy ...

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The Blessed Church: The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love

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Overview

How can I help my church stay focused on its purpose?
What would a culture of generosity look like for my church?
What part does rest play in a healthy church?

Whether you are a pastor, a volunteer, or a church member, you want your church to grow well. After all, there’s no better place to experience God than in the loving, healthy community of a church. But what does an effective church look like? Is it possible to grow and be healthy at the same time?
 
Pastor Robert Morris has experienced firsthand the spiritual and relational excitement of a growing, dynamic church. In The Blessed Church, Pastor Morris brings you practical wisdom for cultivating real growth by nurturing true and Biblical health in your spiritual community.
 
“How has your church remained so healthy while growing so quickly?”

Robert Morris gets this question a lot. In other words, people want to know: “What’s your secret?”
 
In The Blessed Church: The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love, Pastor Robert Morris unfolds why Gateway Church in suburban Dallas–Fort Worth is one of America’s fastest-growing, spiritually enriching local churches—and still one of its healthiest. Written for both church leaders and lay people, The Blessed Church looks at the qualities that make church “work” in the twenty-first century and how that can enrich your church—whatever its size or vision.
 
With the humor and powerful stories he’s known for, Morris shows how every component of your church—including mission, church government, teaching, worship, small groups, giving, and outreach—can receive God’s richest blessings. Rather than bemoaning the problems of the contemporary evangelical church, The Blessed Church celebrates the expanding role of the body of Christ in the lives of individuals—starting right where you and your church are today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“God has blessed Gateway Church with explosive growth. Pastor Robert Morris humbly unpacks many of the invaluable lessons he and his team have learned along the journey. His spiritual insight and practical instruction will help you build a stronger, deeper, and broader ministry.”
—Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv and author of Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World

“Our world desperately needs healthy, vibrant churches, so I’m thankful Robert Morris has written The Blessed Church—a book that draws on the Gateway backstory to describe the qualities of a healthy local church. More than anything, a heart for God and a love of people define the ministry of Pastor Morris and Gateway Church. If you want a growing vitality in your church, you will profit from every page of The Blessed Church.
—Chris Hodges, senior pastor of Church of the Highlands

“In The Blessed Church, Robert Morris reveals why Gateway Church in Dallas–Fort Worth has become not just one of the largest churches in America but also one of the most influential. Robert’s devoted, attentive shepherding of this great flock is one reason why Gateway is so blessed. In The Blessed Church, the biblical principles that lead to true success in the body of Christ are carefully explained. If you love the local church, as both Robert and I do, you won’t want to miss the insights found in this helpful and practical book.”
—Dr. Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and president of The Urban Alternative

“When I refer to the blessed church, I am speaking from firsthand experience. My wife, Betty, and I are active members of Gateway Church, which Robert Morris pastors. We have witnessed and experienced the dynamic power and profound impact made on personal lives, families, the community, the church at large, and the nation. The blessed church members live a blessed life and continually seek to be a blessing to others. Through Pastor Morris’s leadership, Gateway Church has become a model and inspiration to the whole church around the world. Your church can experience the bountiful blessings of our God and Father right here on earth right now!”
—James Robison, founder and president of LIFE Outreach International and co-host of LIFE Today

“Robert has put together a master playbook for victory in the church. Every pastor can learn from the insight and wisdom God has given Robert and the Gateway team. In fact, I truly believe that practicing the biblical principles of health and growth outlined in The Blessed Church will help us all further the Great Commission and experience radical transformation and blessing in our communities.”
—Tom Mullins, founding pastor of Christ Fellowship Church

 “Every pastor, layman, leader, and churchgoer should read The Blessed Church. Morris has done it again. Readable and inspiring, The Blessed Church is a must-read for all who want their own church to walk in the blessings of God.”
—Mark Rutland, PhD, president of Oral Roberts University and Global Servants

“The story of Gateway Church is one of radical trust, bold vision, and the faithfulness of God. Now my friend, Robert Morris, has written a book telling that extraordinary story. Read it! You will realize that God wants to bless your church more than you ever could have imagined.”
—Greg Surratt, senior pastor of Seacoast Church

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307729736
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 376,423
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Morris is the founding and senior pastor of Gateway Church, a multi-campus church in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. Since it began in 2000, the church has grown to over 24,000 active members. Morris is featured on the weekly television program The Blessed Life, which is seen in over 90 million homes in the United States and in over 200 countries around the world. Morris holds a doctorate of literature and serves as chairman of the board of The King’s University. He is the bestselling author of ten books, including The Blessed Life, The God I Never Knew, From Dream to Destiny, and The Power of Your Words. Morris and his wife, Debbie, have been married for over thirty years and have three grown children.
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Read an Excerpt

God’s Story, Not Ours

Short of being a passenger on a rocket ship to Mars, I was about as far away from my North Texas home as a man could be. I had just finished speaking at a pastor’s conference in Australia when a young minister from New Zealand approached me with a question. It was a familiar one: “What’s the key?” He didn’t have to elaborate. I was pretty sure I knew what he meant. But I encouraged him anyway.

“The key to what?” I responded.

“Gateway’s growth. I mean…what in heaven’s name is going on up there? What are you guys doing?”

He was referring to Gateway Church, the fellowship that it’s my privilege to pastor. The “what’s going on” at the heart of his question has been an ongoing story of astonishing growth and rising influence.

How astonishing? Well, Gateway began with a handful of friends and me in a living room Bible study back in 2000. As I write today, the church sees more than twenty thousand people participate in live worship and teaching each weekend. The growth has been steady, dramatic, and shows no sign of slowing down. On the pages that follow, I hope to reveal why I think we’ve experienced the blessings we have.

Nevertheless, I confess that I’ve had to work through some feelings of reluctance and awkwardness about writing this book.

That’s because the last thing we—myself or any of our team—would ever want to do is appear to be bragging or patting ourselves on the back. The very thought of anyone saying “Who does that guy think he is?” makes me want to shrink back and count my blessings in grateful silence. But the Lord won’t allow it.

The fact is, I don’t think I’m anything special. And of all God’s people, I’m the most aware that what we have experienced over the last twelve years has absolutely nothing to do with any smarts, special talents, or abilities I might possess.

On the contrary, I might be the most unlikely candidate you’ll ever meet. But that’s God’s MO, isn’t it? He chooses the rustic, barely educated fisherman Peter to carry the gospel to the cream of Jewish society. And He sends Paul, with his elite education and sterling religious pedigree, to pagan Gentiles who couldn’t care less about his Jewish credentials.

Thus, I’m not a walking advertisement for the church-growing power of natural talent, clever strategy, and brilliant marketing. I’m a living, breathing testament to the power of God’s unfathomable grace.

Nevertheless, it’s impossible to deny that God has done something remarkable at Gateway Church. Wherever we go, I and members of our team are asked about it. Those questions take a variety of forms:

• “What’s your secret?”
• “To what do you attribute your church’s amazing rate of growth?”
• “How did you become one of the largest and fastest growing churches in America in just a few short years?”
• “How have you been able to remain balanced, healthy, and focused while riding a virtual rocket sled of increase?”
• “How do you identify, develop, and/or attract leaders to your cause?”

It is to bring clear answers to these questions in a spirit of transparency, humility, and gratitude that I have finally undertaken this book. Frankly, God will not let me off the hook.

In the end, the Lord has made it clear that He wants the Gateway story told because it’s His story—not because we’ve done everything right, but rather because He has accomplished something special in spite of our weaknesses and mistakes. He wants these principles shared because they’re His principles. And the church bodies scattered across planet Earth by the tens of thousands are His too. He wants to see them healthy, growing, influencing, and overcoming.

So on the pages that follow, I’ll share what we’ve learned and what I’ve seen in the Word. Not because I have all the answers, but because I have some answers. A few of them may surprise you. Thus, throughout this book you’ll find little nuggets of truth and insight labeled “Keys to a Blessed Church.”

To begin, I will share a brief overview of how I came to found Gateway Church and the amazing journey of grace and favor we have been on over the last dozen years. I’ll follow that by sharing the spiritual principles, biblical precepts,
school-of-hard-knocks lessons, and surprising insights that have made that journey so extraordinary.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1 The Gateway Story

1 God's Story, Not Ours 5

2 Hearing from God 8

3 Crazy Beginnings 17

Part 2 Blessed Vision

4 It's Okay to Have a Vision to Grow 25

5 Health-Growth Connection 29

6 Predecessor of Vision 32

7 When You "Can't Stands No More" 35

8 The Core of My Early Church Vision 40

9 Articulating the Vision 43

10 Writing the Vision 47

Part 3 Blessed Shepherds

11 Leading Is Not an Option 55

12 To Feed and Lead 58

13 Good Shepherds, False Shepherds, and Hirelings 64

14 The True Shepherds Call 69

15 The Shepherd Loves the Sheep 75

16 Your First and Most Important Ministry 78

Part 4 Blessed Leaders

17 Who's the Minister Here? 87

18 The Pastors Three-Part Job Description 92

19 The Prayer of the Burned-Out Pastor 101

20 Eagle s Nest Empowerment 107

21 The Vital Key to Being an Empowering Leader 115

Part 5 Blessed Government

22 Church Government Matters 125

23 The Gateway Approach to Church Government 130

24 Healthy Tension 135

25 A Healthy Pastor 139

26 Healthy Spiritual Elders 142

27 The Pastor-Elder Relationship 148

28 Staff, Non-Staff, and Apostolic Elders 155

Part 6 Blessed Church Culture

29 The Power of Culture 165

30 A Culture of Generosity 167

31 A Culture of Freedom 175

32 A Culture of Rest 181

33 A Culture of Worship 188

34 A Culture of Community 195

Conclusion 201

Acknowledgments 209

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted September 21, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Not just for pastors!

    Pastor Robert Morris takes us behind the scenes of one of the most rapidly growing churches in America. He answers the questions: Why is the church so blessed. What is your secret? He walks the reader step by step through Bible based principles that lead to a blessed church, a happy church and a church that brings Jesus to thousands around the world every day. Some of his recommendations may even shock you. Make no mistake, this book is not just for pastors or leaders in the ministry. The biblical principles taught in The Blessed Church are fundemental to living a successful, happy and blessed life. A life that can bring Jesus to those around you every day.
    Do you want to grow in your relaionship with God? Do you want practical advice on how to have a blessed family, career or life? Then this book is a necessary read. The Blessed Church is also a great companion book to the author's best selling book The Blessed Life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 19, 2014

    Pastors give the best guilt trips. Let me clarify that. Pastors

    Pastors give the best guilt trips. Let me clarify that. Pastors give themselves the best guilt trips. No one in a church can affect the pastor’s self-esteem more than the pastor, him/herself. If something goes wrong, if there’s a glitch in the system, if there’s a disgruntled visitor, if there’s not enough bulletins printed, if …whatever, the pastor will blame him/herself for it. It doesn’t matter if they had anything to do with it. The church and the congregation are their responsibility; therefore, the buck stops here. 
    You can probably tell that I speak from experience. No one has to take most pastors down a notch or two for getting too high and mighty. Most of us beat ourselves up just fine without any assistance. We seem to place this unattainable expectation of perfection on ourselves, and then blame ourselves when everything isn’t perfect. Like I said, pastors can lay the best guilt trips – on themselves.
    The author of The Blessed Life and The God I Never Knew provides another thought provoking book for those interested in improving their church environment: The Blessed Church. Geared mainly toward pastors and leadership within the church Pastor Morris takes the reader step-by-step on a journey to building a church that God will bless.
    Being a pastor, myself, just the concept of this book intrigued me. Though I must admit, I mentally prepared myself for another round of personal recrimination before even opening the cover. Morris bases his premise on the truth that things that are healthy will naturally grow. Therefore, no matter what the size of the church, health is the most important ingredient if a church wishes to grow. 
    While I wholeheartedly agree with this premise, I have a problem with the idea that growth can be measured by size. Let me explain. Not all churches are large. Not all churches are meant to be large. So, if a small church doesn’t gain the membership numbers that equal a large church’s this doesn’t mean that they aren’t healthy or that they aren’t growing. A healthy soybean plant will grow to its proper size and yield fruit to reproduce itself. However, it will never be as large as a corn plant. It was never intended to be.
    Morris does an excellent job in explaining many key concepts that are needed for churches to experience health and growth. He breaks down this book into seven parts that cover the importance of having a healthy vision, pastor, leaders, government style, and culture in order to experience growth. Each chapter contains a key idea that can be zeroed in on and meditated upon. He uses his own church, Gateway Church, as an example throughout to illustrate his points.
    All this is wonderful. You’d expect a pastor to use their own church and experiences to make their arguments. However, as a small church pastor, I found myself contrasting my own church with his mega-church, and feeling like I was coming up short. I know this was not Morris’ intention, and that it is my own personal problem. However, I guess I would appreciate seeing more books written by small church pastors about small church health and growth.
    Growth does not always equal numbers. Growth equals health, and spiritual health is what is emphasized in The Blessed Church. I would recommend this book to any pastor or church leader who could benefit from the truths Morris puts forth from experience. It is well written, easy to understand, and deeply convicting as well as encouraging.  Morris is an excellent author as well as pastor.  I received this book from Blogging for Book for this review.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 26, 2012

    Blessed and Order In reviewing this extraordinary book titled


    Blessed and Order

    In reviewing this extraordinary book titled “The Blessed Church”, this book gives steps to being a blessed and effective church. The author shares his experience and knowledge in growing a healthy church. It was my understanding while growing up that people came to church because they were sick, but sometimes it is the sick people that are operating the church when they are supposed to help heal. The keys to a Blessed Church section were helpful and provide valuable points as well as scriptures.
    The author made clear to us that without a vision there is nothing to stand on, but a hallow ground that can cave-in at any time. Communication is necessary in life and in church; church should not be viewed as a way to get what you want nor the use and abuse of power. Church is a place of worship and where like-minded people come together in worshipping God and fellowshipping with one another.
    Leadership are set in place to sustain order and direction given by the Heavenly Father, with providing the church with goals and/or a mission statement that helps them achieve a greater cause. Leaders and staff should be able to work together in unity and love. The body of the church must be operated under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The author gave us some wonderful principles based on Scripture for guiding the church. I highly recommend this book for the entire church leadership and staff.

    “I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

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  • Posted November 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Robert Morris in his new book, ¿The Blessed Church¿ published by

    Robert Morris in his new book, “The Blessed Church” published by Waterbrook Press gives us The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love.

    From the Back cover: How can I help my church stay focused on its purpose?
    What would a culture of generosity look like for my church?
    What part does rest play in a healthy church?

    Whether you are a pastor, a volunteer, or a church member, you want your church to grow well. After all, there’s no better place to experience God than in the loving, healthy community of a church. But what does an effective church look like? Is it possible to grow and be healthy at the same time?

    Pastor Robert Morris has experienced firsthand the spiritual and relational excitement of a growing, dynamic church. In The Blessed Church, Pastor Morris brings you practical wisdom for cultivating real growth by nurturing true and Biblical health in your spiritual community.
    The Greek word for church is “ecclesia” which means, “called out ones”. When he speaks of “church” Pastor Morris is not referring to the building but to the people that make up the body of believers. Wherever it is you attend “The Blessed Church” will help bring health and vitality. In six sections Pastor Morris shows us areas where we can ignite health: The Gateway Story, Blessed Vision, Blessed Shepherds, Blessed Leaders, Blessed Government, Blessed Church Culture. Pastor Morris walks us through what we need to know so that health can begin in us and spread throughout the body of believers and into our neighborhoods. Pastor Morris does a much better job in his book, “The Blessed Church” than I ever will. I recommend reading this book. You will be blessed.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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