It Takes a Re-Visioning Pastor to Turn a Church Around

Just finished Re:Vision: The Key to Transforming Your Church, by Aubrey Malphurs and Gordon E. Penfield.   Re:Vision is a helpful resource for pastors and supervisors of congregations who desire to turn plateaued or declining congregations around.

Their primary point is that turnaround (growth) of a declining congregation is based primarily on two things:
1.  The capacity of the pastor to lead change
2.  The willingness of the congregation to embrace it.

Through extensive research, Penfield and Malphurs discovered significant differences between re-envisioning and non-re-envisioning pastors.    Using such instruments as Myers-Briggs and the DISC profile, they found a direct correlation between the personality of the pastor and potential for congregational transformation.

Re:Vision is primarily a tool for assessing whether or not the pastor has the capacity to lead such change.

This, of course, raises an important question:  the elephant in the room.  What if pastors do not have this capacity?  What should they do?  I had hoped the authors would provide a silver bullet answer. Alas, they do not.

Basically, they recommend non-reinvisioning pastors to either find another type of ministry (such as chaplain work, missions, teaching, or a staff situation) or do the very hard work of stretching their capacity.

The second option (growing capacity) is painful and difficult.  It will require significant personal and leadership growth and will feel somewhat unnatural.  It will also require a coach to guide them through this process.

All in all, a helpful book for those who are serious about congregational change -- and especially for denominational officials who assist congregations in the processs of seeking pastors.


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