When I lost the support of my congregation's leaders, I was completely caught off guard.

I had been with the church for a couple of years. We were a rural congregation (about 200 people) with many different programs in place. I had started a small groups ministry and revamped our benevolence and youth ministries. Everything was going great. Or so I thought.

There's an old joke about a minister coming back from vacation to find an eviction notice hanging on the parsonage door. Well, my experience wasn't quite that bad, but it was traumatic.

The previous summer I'd taken a church growth course for my M.Div. My course project was to assess our congregation's abilities and potential for growth. After I studied our congregation and community, I concluded that while we were mission-minded, our opportunities for growth and expansion were limited due to the low population and the high-church culture of our area. As a result, my recommendations for the future—while ...

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