Towards a Thriving Church
Bob Jackson is the Archdeacon of Walsall and Growth Officer for the Diocese of Lichfield. This book is based on his consultancy experience with churches and dioceses and his research into the causes of church growth. Although aware of the immense challenges faced by the established church today, he is very upbeat about the mission opportunities for the Church of England.
Part 1 'The present situation and how we got there' outlines the current context and offers an analysis of the reasons for church growth and decline in terms of church leadership and policies rather than the automatic result of social change.
Part 2 'Delivering church growth in the parishes' describes churches which are already experiencing growth both in numerical and ministry strength. It sets out ways in which growth can be generated. Chapter 6 identifies eight changes that lead to church growth and chapter 7 looks at growing through fresh expressions.
Part 3 'Delivering the human resources for growth' recognises that leadership is the single most important key to the growth of the church and looks at the selection and training of clergy, deployment and equipping of clergy, and training and supporting the laity.
Part 4 'Where finance fits in' looks at how national, diocesan and parish finances can be employed to support and sustain growth in the local church.
The last chapter is entitled 'the road to growth through spiritual renewal.' It acknowledges that the church won't be going anywhere if its members do not have a passion for God.
This very readable book contains a wealth of information, facts and figures and many worthy observations for reflection and action. It demonstrates strategic thinking at its best. However, I wonder how many busy local church leaders will take the time to read and digest it. Could its treasures not be disseminated in another more compact way?
Sue Groom, June 2006
The Revd Sue Groom is the Director of Deanery Licensed Ministry for the Kensington Episcopal Area of London. Before this she was Vicar of St Matthew's, Yiewsley and also served as the Reader Training Officer for the Willesden Episcopal Area. She is the author of Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew (Paternoster Press, 2003).Church House Publishing | Order from www.christianbookshops.org | Order from St Andrew's Bookshops
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