If you and I have ever talked for more than five minutes about the future of “mainline” Protestant churches, then you know that I think the vast majority of them need to experience significant transformation in order to have a future as part of God’s work in the world.
Currently, my wife and I are serving a church where they have decided to wrestle directly with the need for change. We have a congregation that is not ready to “go quietly into the night,” our Session (governing board) has begun a lot of hard work in this area, and over the next 6-18 months we will be seeing some bold ideas turn into reality.
But here is my confession: I was never trained for this.
In seminary we were taught how to do things in ways that used to serve the church very well, but no one instructed us how to help create the church of the present and future. So over my twelve years of ministry I have had to educate myself, and have tried to do so in a variety of ways.
I thought it might be of interest to some people to see a collection of the resources I have found helpful. Some come from the mainline Protestant world, some from business circles, and still others from a more evangelical mega-church context. While I may not embrace all of the theology found in every book I have found that there are things to be learned in unsuspected places.
I plan on updating this list as I come across new resources and would love to hear from others what they have found helpful.
- Leading Change by John Kotter
- Our Iceberg is Melting by John Kotter (used this with our Session)
- I Refuse to Lead a Dying Church! by Paul Nixon
- We Refused to Lead a Dying Church! by Paul Nixon
- Leading Change Without Losing It by Carey Nieuwhof
- Christianity After Religion by Diana Butler Bass
- Making Vision Stick by Andy Stanley
- 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley
- Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley
- Not Your Father’s Offering Plate by J. Clif Christopher
- Rich Church, Poor Church by J. Clif Christopher
- The Practice of Adaptive Leadership by Ronald Heifetz, Marty Linksy, Alexander Grashow
- The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
- Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership by Dan Hotchkiss
- The Business of the Church by John W. Wimberly Jr.
- Missional Worship by Cathy Townley
- Emerging Worship by Dan Kimball, David Crowder and Sally Morgenthaler
- How to Start a New Service by Charles Arn
- Church Worth Getting Up For by Charles Gutenson
- Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road by Brian McLaren
- Missional Church by Darrell Guder
- This Present Future by Reggie McNeal
- Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal
- Effective Staffing for Vital Churches by Bill Easum and Bill Tenny-Brittian
- When Not to Build by Ray Bowman and Eddy Hall
- Jim & Casper Go to Church by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper
- 52 Ways to Ignite Your Congregation in Worship by Randy Hammer (wasn’t he a pro wrestler?)
- Winning on Purpose by John Edmund Kaiser
- Direct Hit by Paul Borden
- Beating Burnout in Congregations by Lynne M. Baab
- Holy Conversations by Gil Rendle and Alice Mann
- Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger
- A Field Guide to U.S. Congregations by Cynthia Woolever and Debroah Bruce
- Beyond the Ordinary by Cynthia Woolever and Debroah Bruce
- Digital Storytellers by Len Wilson and Jason Moore
- A Church for Starving Artists by Jan Edmiston
- Still Waters by Theresa Cho
- Carey Nieuwhof
- Inside Northpoint
- The Columbia Partnership
- Tom Ehrich