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 ...

May/June
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
On the Verge
On the Verge
His understanding of the gospel led him to build a multi-ethnic megachurch. And now it's leading him to build smaller churches he calls "verges."
From the Magazine
Yes, Charisma Has a Place in the Pulpit
Yes, Charisma Has a Place in the Pulpit
But let’s not mistake it for calling.
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