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To Dream Again : How to Help Your Church Come Alive Paperback – December 27, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub (December 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597520306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597520300
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Haskins on April 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Dale's book "To Dream Again" is a classic on understanding the life cycle of a church. It is especially useful to any pastor or leader that is looking for understanding on bringing new life and renewal to a declining or dying church. Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tim Lubinus on October 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Valuable insights from the book...

The presupposition of the book is that the best way to understand a church is to understand its dreams. Dreams are a summary of the churches values and goals. A dream is a unifying aim that drives and unites a church.

Churches have ministry cycles that include dream, beliefs, goals, structure, ministry, nostalgia, questioning, polarizations, and dropout. The way to avoid the declining half of this cycle is to restart the dreaming process.

Churches are a type of volunteer organization and thus a very complex system to understand. Leaders in churches should need to have the skills of consultant, diagnostician, and growth planner to lead a church to continued health.

Ministry is both a promise and threat. When things are going well there is an impulse to go to the next level and a temptation to entrench the people and programs that were successful in the past. The book offered several helpful suggestions to diagnose whether a ministry is going in a healthy or unhealthy direction. On example is weather the dream is owned by an elite few or broadly among the members. If it is only an elite few, this is a caution that the church may be heading in an unhealthy direction.

A helpful exercise was given in chapter 11. A church's congregation can be divided up into roles that fit in with the various stages of the church life cycle. Taking note of the number of members in each group that corresponds with the ministry life cycle of the church can be valuable in diagnosing the stage of ministry that the church is in as well as assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the congregation.

I had a disagreement or two with Dale ...
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By Andrew Ramey on December 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert D. Dale. To Dream Again: How to Help Your Church Come Alive. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2004. 154 pp. $19.00.

Robert Dale (Ph.D., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) teaches at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina as a professor of pastoral leadership. He has written numerous books in the field of church leadership.

In Part I, Dr. Dale states, “There are four ways to revitalize a church...Change policy. Change people. Change programs...but the approach I suggest is the most basic of all--clarify purpose” (5). Paraphrasing Lyle Schaller, Dale claims, “What is our mission? is the most fundamental question a volunteer organization can ask itself” (23). Yet, most churches are vague, if not negligent, in defining their mission. Often, over time congregations which were founded with an outward-focus become inward-focused. Again Dale writes, “A constant tension faced by any church is to balance service (external ministry) and ‘serve-us’ (internal ministry)” (23). Besides the issue of defining mission, Dale concludes there are three other vital questions a church must answer satisfactorily. They are: (1) What do we pay our volunteers? (2) How is our church unique? (3) Are we a healthy church?

Part II helps church leaders begin to define their ‘dream’ with insightful information and Action Exercise questions. Throughout the book, our author repeatedly refers to what he calls the health cycle model. The chart is a visual aid that pictures how churches are founded on a dream, they grow, and eventually begin to decline into nostalgia and dropout if the church neglects to dream anew. An example of how this occurs is found in how churches set goals.
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By N. R. B. on October 28, 2014
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A book to read now and then again later.
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