Augsburg Fortress

Moving Beyond Church Growth: An Alternative Vision for Congregations

Moving Beyond Church Growth: An Alternative Vision for Congregations

Character development for communities of faith

Mark Olson believes that trying to meet unrealistic expectations for church growth, along with expectations that pastors be all things to all people, has resulted in low morale, even burnout, among clergy and dissension within congregations.

Olson's book argues that church-growth models exemplify and exacerbate the tendencies of the modern age and Constantinian Christianity, holding the church hostage to technique and marketing. These assumptions set up pastors and churches for disappointment and failure. But they also, in his opinion, miss an opportunity to envision a faithful alternative to the consumeristic church.

Olson's valuable book calls church leaders to faithful, bold, and courageous rethinking of congregational life and witness in substance, purpose, and style. His own 20 years of ministry in rural, suburban, and urban congregations inform an alternative rooted deeply in the past and anchored in strong leadership and worship, but also profoundly compassionate and engaged in the surrounding community. In this model, pastors' primary responsibilities are not to fix everything and everybody but to enable people to be present to each other and to provide hope.
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  • Publisher Augsburg Fortress
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780806643465
  • eBook ISBN 9781451413663
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 156
  • Publication Date December 20, 2001

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

    Part One: What Is Church Growth?

  2. Putting the Pieces Together: Toward a Definition of Church Growth
  3. Echoes of an Ancient Conflict

    Part Two: First Steps Beyond Church Growth
  4. A Congregational Faith Audit
  5. Deprogramming the Church
  6. Reclaiming the Sabbath: One Text at a Time
  7. Drawing the Line: Reflections on Church Growth and Worship

    Part Three: Pastoral Leadership Beyond Church Growth
  8. To Be a Change Agent: Be a Traditional Pastor with a Twist
  9. Congregational Conflict: Sacred Violence
  10. Each Congregation: One Pastor
  11. Recovering the Ministerium: A Congregation for Pastors

    Part Four: Christian Communities of the Future
  12. Faithful Community: A Creation Myth
  13. The Island of Faithfulness