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It may be the most common frustration among pastors today: "I'm doing everything I know, but I don't see the church growing. What's wrong?" Here a pastor explains his situation, then three respected observers offer their analysis.

I was a former pastor working a secular job when my wife and I sensed God's call back into pastoral work. We moved to Faith Baptist (names have been changed), a traditional Southern Baptist church in Michigan, in a town of 40,000. Two decades before we arrived, a band of pioneering members from a church on the other side of town started a mission, meeting in a tent on what would become the front lawn of our property.

With evangelistic preaching and lots of follow-up visits to guests, the growing group graduated to a rented "trailer church" until the first building was constructed five years later. The church's culture was strongly influenced by the southern "chicken and grits" subculture of transplanted auto workers who had moved north for the relatively high ...

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