Last month’s Turnaround 20/20 in Nashville was the best conference the Society for Church Consulting has presented to date. The Society draws together the top leaders in effective evangelism and church revitalization.
The format for this year’s conference showcased twenty speakers for twenty minutes each. They stood and delivered their best material concisely.
Dr. Bob Whitesel overviewed the contents of his new book, Cure for the Common Church. He provides four prescriptions for restoring a church to health: Grow OUT—Go outside the congregational walls. Grow SMALL—Emphasize small groups. Grow LEARNERS—Grow learners rather than growing attendance. Grow NEW—Grow through conversion growth.
Dr. Carl George reminded us that God is at work in churches before pastors and consultants get there. He also said that the wisdom the church needs is already there. Help them discover it.
Danny Chambers and Jan Paron spoke about their multicultural church in the Chicago area. Danny said, “You attract who you are. If you don’t genuinely love other cultures, you will not attract them.” Jan asked, “Are you going to be a geographic church or a demographic church? Who is really in your community? It’s not about being multicultural; its about being the Kingdom.”
Dr. Gary McIntosh explained Five Ways to Begin a Turnaround:
1. Help them define reality.
2. Help them create a sense of urgency.
3. Help them make hard decisions.
4. Help them refocus on the community.
5. Help them start something new.
Dr. McIntosh also quoted Sam Chan: “The future of a church is directly related to the pastor’s ability to endure pain.”
Dr. George Hunter provided several memorable quotes. He said, “Shepherds don’t make new sheep; sheep make new sheep.” He also reminded us that early Christianity started out as a lay movement. He said that our recovery as a movement will not happen unless it is restored to the people for whom it was intended.
Tom Harper presented Preventing Conflict: 10 Wise Strategies from Proverbs. Tom’s book Leading from the Lions’ Den is an excellent resource. I’ve read it twice and my bride reads a chapter a day with great profit.
There was so much more golden material gleaned from this meeting. You just had to be there to get it all. Plan on making this your must-attend conference next year.