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Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture, and Create Movement Hardcover – March 21, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0787996833 ISBN-10: 0787996831 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews


"[Mancini] gives a compelling rationale for the church to move on and accompanies this rationale with instructive support and church-wide challenge. All mission boards and vestries would benefit from the materials contained therein."
—The Rev. Jeffrey A. Mackey, The Living Church magazine (Sept. 2008)

Mancini (founder, Auxano consulting group) believes that all churches need not be megachurches like Willowcreek (IL) or Saddleback (CA). Here, he avoids a mere discussion of churches worthy of emulation and further crosses denominational lines, having himself worked alongside Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and others. Mancini eschews the title consultant , preferring instead vision navigator . In short, he helps leaders focus on their own unique cultures and congregational fingerprints. Once churches grasp that they are one of a kind-much like galaxies, fossils, DNA, and sandbanks-they can then, Mancini writes, unleash their full potential. The book, complete with an appendix as well as logos and icons illustrating various churches' visionary thinking, is strengthened by numerous flow charts, diagrams, graphics, and pithy quotes. It has the potential to unseat Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Church  in popularity. Yet academic libraries may want to pass on this title for its admitted lack of supporting empirical evidence. Public libraries, on the other hand, would be wise to purchase a copy. With a foreword by inspirational giant Max Lucado.
—C. Brian Smith, Arlington Heights Memorial Lib., IL (Library Journal, May 1, 2008)

From the Inside Flap

Church Unique

Church Unique offers church leaders a way to transform their leadership and vision with missional effectiveness.

Church Unique is written by church consultant Will Mancini—an expert on a new kind of visioning process to help churches develop a stunningly unique model of ministry that leads to redemptive movement. He guides churches away from an internal focus to emphasize participation in their community and surrounding culture. In this important book, Mancini offers an approach for rethinking what it means to lead with clarity as a visionary. Mancini explains that each church has a culture that reflects its particular values, thoughts, attitudes, and actions, and shows how church leaders can unlock their church's individual DNA and unleash their congregation's one-of-a-kind potential.

Mancini explores the pitfalls churches often fall into in their attempt to grow, such as adding more programs, using outdated forms of strategic planning, or adopting the latest conference technique. He explores a new model for vision casting and church growth that has been tested with leaders in all kinds of congregations, including mainline, evangelical, small, and large. The practices and ideas outlined in Church Unique will help leaders develop missional teams, articulate unique strategies, unpack the baggage of institutionalism, and live fully into their vision.

Whether leading a megachurch or church plant, a multisite or mainline, a ministry or parachurch, Church Unique will provide inspiration as a practical guide for leading into the future. There is a better way.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (March 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787996831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787996833
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Will Mancini is a clarity evangelist who is passionate about every church having stunningly unique vision. As the founder of Auxano, he has navigated hundreds of church teams through growth barriers. From the 200 barrier of a missional church plant to the 5000 barrier of notable megachurch pastors like Max Lucado, Will thrives on serving the diverse expressions of the church. As a pastor, Will has served two churches that grew past 3000 in less than ten years, Clear Creek Community Church and Faithbridge UMC in the Houston area. He is the author of Church Unique and Building Leaders. In addition to working with churches across the country, Will consults for church related ministries such as Leadership Network and Upward Unlimited.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Warren Bird on April 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It's rare to visit a church, read its mission statement and then conclude, "What a great match!" For that to happen, the church's vision must be clear, appealing, and most important, truly reflective of the unique culture demonstrated by the church.

Back in 1992, when churches were just beginning to think about vision statements, George Barna wrote a highly popular book called Power of Vision. In it he defined vision as "a clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God."

I predict Will Mancini's Church Unique (2008, 271 pages) will succeed Barna's classic as the go-to book for church leadership discussions because it does even more than help you articulate a vision for your church. It goes further. It helps you "cast vision, capture culture, and create movement," as the subtitle forecasts. The book affirms that your church is "stunningly unique," and then helps you turn your church's one-of-a-kind potential into a model of ministry that leads to a redemptive movement. It understand that each church models a culture reflective of its particular values, thoughts, attitudes and actions. Using numerous specific-church examples, it walks you through the process of vision focus and alignment within the context of your church's unique culture.

Mancini, a former pastor and now church consultant, also explores pitfalls that often trap churches, such as adopting the latest conference technique or following a Band-aid approach to addressing deep-set issues.

CHURCH UNIQUE will benefit any type of church leader, whether megachurch or church plant, mainline or non-denominational.

The book is release #25 in Leadership Network's series with Jossey-Bass.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Aaron A. on August 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not a terribly offensive book.

It seems to be a natural outworking of the "church leadership" culture now reinvented under "missional" categories and preferences. Church growth for Generation Y.

A primary diagnostic question of Church Unique is, "What can your church do better than 10,000 others?", and I worry that this is a very poor ecclesiological starting point. Paul's lack of eloquence in speech (1 Cor 1:17, Acts 17:18), his insistence on the lowliness of the Christians at Corinth (1 Cor 1:26-31), and the very universal application of the New Testament to every church and every believer seem to militate against the idea that the *one thing* your church needs to *create movement* is the method Mancini has created. Paul spends an entire letter (Colossians), and the unnamed NT writer does the same (Hebrews), attempting to show, prove, and convince us that Jesus Christ is sufficient for us. In Paul's own apostolic ministry, it's not his rhetorical training upon which he relies (i.e., his own competence) but Jesus Christ Himself (see esp. 2 Cor 2:14-3:6). I find it problematic that pastors are so flagrantly being sold something less than this. I think Mancini and the other folks in his industry tend to get the Gospel right and ecclesiology way, way wrong. Perhaps a revised version could be released that makes these things priorities. It would probably be called "Church Un-Unique, but Still Distinctive."

This is not to say that Mancini hasn't got some good ideas. But his good ideas get lost in the marketing and sales pitches.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By T. Moon on June 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was excited to start reading "Church Unique" because it echoed so many thoughts and feelings that I have had over the last 10 years - that is finding out what your church does best and being at home with that instead of another frustrated wannabe. Mancini also promises clarity and simplicity - which is always a good thing for me. I'm thinking as I'm reading, "Four sides of a picture frame: Great, I can handle this and I think I can communicate it" - and he had me for the first half of the book. Then, suddenly, I see clarity and simplicity waving goodbye from the platform as I was taken deeper and deeper into the piney woods of circles, arrows, steps, triangles, charts, bullet points and, of course, the obligatory mission/vision/values/goals/strategy explanations. Still, there are so many nuggets in the book I had to give it three stars.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Gibbs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are a lot of books around on formulating mission, vision and strategy, so it is rare to find one which has something new to say on the subject. Will Mancini's book succeeds in bringing a fresh and very useful perspective to the subject. He says that churches commonly neglect what makes them unique, instead gravitating towards adopting programs and mindsets that work elsewhere. A church can become truly effective only once it discovers its own uniqueness.

In my view the author's critiques of other people's strategic planning models (such as Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Church model) are a little overdone, but the book comes into its own when it starts talking about clarifying the vision. The process starts with discovering your Kingdom Concept, which is found at the intersection between your Local Predicament (the unique needs and opportunities of the location in which God has placed you), your Collective Potential (the unique resources and capabilities found in your congregation), and your Apostolic Esprit (the particular focus which most energises your leadership).

One of the imperatives of clarifying the church's vision is "framing" it. The Vision Proper is framed by the church's Mission (statement of purpose), Values (shared convictions that guide the actions of the church), Strategy (process which the church uses to accomplish its mission) and Measures (things which are measured to determine how well the church is achieving its mission). While none of these individual components is new, the manner in which the book suggests working through them is both innovative and very helpful. I highly recommend this book for church leaders.
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