One thing I enjoy about reading Barna is the direct simplicity of his writing. This book was another example of his instructing churches on how to change and adapt without negotiation of the gospel. I believe he is correct in his observation that “turnaround pastors are rare”. His analysis of how churches come to a plateau and then rest upon that plateau is an event I have witnessed in many congregations.
Barna’s insights for strong leadership has given me many great quotes to use in developing the leaders in my ministry and occupation. One of those strong quotes is:
“The absence of leadership is like a deep-sea diver who makes a dive without tanks.”
His observation that management without leadership leads to a ministry that is “mechanical, passionless, predictable, and limited” was helpful in evaluating my call to service. His warnings of focusing on “non-personal” goals is insightful in interpreting one’s mission. He also encourages the leader to consider that it is not a matter of “if” a church will experience challenges but “how it will deal with them”.
Barna makes very strong points about the need for a “long pastorate” to bring a church back to health. Church renewal is not quick and easy. It calls for commitment and longevity.
The chapter on “Potholes” to recovery can help interpret what is going on in any congregation. The section on “small group mentality” can help give insight into how small groups function. Turn-Around Churches can be a useful tool for future long-range planning, a retreat or the training of key leadership.