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Ministry momentum springs from great expectations.

When Leith Anderson arrived at Wooddale Church in suburban Minneapolis more than a dozen years ago, he came to a congregation that had plateaued-in fact, declined. "People tended to talk about how much better the church was 'back then,' " Leith says.

Eventually, the congregation began to look forward, and as a result it relocated, changed its name, and overhauled its constitution in order to better reach people. But "probably the most significant change of all," Anderson reflects, "was taking people's eyes off the past and putting them on the future, off how great the church had been and onto how great the church could be."

What does it take to make that happen? In this article, excerpted from Mastering Church Management, a forthcoming book in the Mastering Ministry series copublished by LEADERSHIP and Multnomah Press, Leith discusses the factors in looking ahead rather than behind.

As soon as people walk into a church, they can tell if it is oriented toward the past or the future. They don't ...

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