Jump directly to the Content

IN SEARCH OF THE EFFECTIVE CHURCH

Not all healthy churches look alike, but a few family resemblances can be detected.

I spent my three-month summer sabbatical on a cross-country tour with my family, visiting twenty-five of "the most effective" churches in the United States.

Before I left, I expected to find a lot of similarities. The differences, however, surprised me most. I came back without a clear, monolithic model of effective ministry. Instead, I found myself confronted with options and choices.

Plotting the Search

I began planning this trip a year before it took place. My ministry experience had been limited to one nineteen-year pastorate in a university town, where our independent church had grown largely in isolation from any one model or tradition. I felt the need to see firsthand how other churches worked.

So I contacted a number of respected Christian leaders and asked each to give me the names of five congregations with unusually effective ministries.

As my list grew, I noticed some congregations mentioned repeatedly. I contacted their pastors for the names of yet other model congregations.

I narrowed ...

April
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Skye Jethani: Dorothy Sayers and the Church's Biggest Failure
Skye Jethani: Dorothy Sayers and the Church's Biggest Failure
What does it mean to stop separating "church" work from "secular" work?
From the Magazine
What Kind of Man Is This?
What Kind of Man Is This?
We’ve got little information on Jesus’ appearance and personality. But that’s the way God designed it.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.
close