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Back from the Brink: A Leadership Special Report

Disastrous conflict, moral failure, spiritual depression, or simply long, slow decline. Churches do come back from debilitating trauma. How?

The statistic is quoted often: 85 percent of churches in the United States have plateaued or declining attendance. That's approximately 340,000 churches. In other words, 340,000 churches need a turnaround. How can they do it? And what skills are required?

That's what we wanted to know. So we invited churches that have witnessed a turnaround in attendance, finances, purpose, and/or spirit to participate. From the hundreds that responded, we chose 31 churches to study in depth. We then surveyed their pastors, lay leaders, and a sampling of members—761 respondents in all. We asked how it happened. And most important, If their churches could be renewed, can mine?

In this section, you'll read the accounts of five churches that exemplify "turnaround."

Connect with the Disconnected: Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Look Outward: Overlook Presbyterian Church in Mobile, Alabama.

No More Pastor-Driven Church: Calvary Bible Church in Rutland, Vermont.

From Survivalist to Serving ...

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