LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Book Review: "This is Not a Success Story"

I like it when people read something I've written. I like it even more when they publish a review on their blog or on Amazon. Even if the review is negative, when people engage with the content and think about it--I believe that is a win. Here is a review written by Kevin Hendricks on ChurchMarketingSucks.com:

Granger Community Church is a mega-church is Indiana that’s been influential throughout the last decade or more. They put on conferences (Innovate, And, ReInnovate), share resources and their staff members (past and present) include frequent speakers and authors such as Tony MorganKem Meyer and Tim Stevens.

In other words, they’re big hitters.

But that doesn’t mean it always goes smoothly. Vision: Lost and Found is the story of how Granger got stuck, but didn’t stay there. The aforementioned Tim Stevens, executive pastor at Granger, shares how the church found itself in what he describes as a “big funk” in 2004. The church found itself coasting, riding the wave of previous success. Suddenly things stopped clicking, growth slowed down and things began to fall apart.

Vision: Lost and Found is the story of how that happened and what they did to put things right. But this is not a success story. While it takes a lot of guts to share your failures like this, it takes even more guts to share them before you’ve truly turned things around. In response to the “big funk,” Granger came up with a new five-year vision that will carry them on a new direction into 2016. They’ve made some progress and they’re doing new things, but it’s not clear yet if this is the perfect answer. Instead it’s a look at failure and how to get moving again.

Along with the story, Tim also shares the process of how they came up with a new vision. It’s not a simple process and Tim shows us every step along the way, sharing loads of resources so you can see how it’s done. Read our interview with Tim for even more in-depth details.

Whether or not your church is struggling with lost vision, this is a good read. It’s worth the reminder that every organization, no matter how successful, can stumble and fall. It’s also a good reminder that every failing organization can find a way to reignite their passion and turn things around. Decline doesn’t have to be inevitable.

I've been told it was a mistake to write a book before there was an "everyone-lived-happily-ever-after" ending. It's nice to see this affirmation that it is helpful even without that.