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Small, Strong Congregations: Creating Strengths and Health for Your Congregation Hardcover – October 1, 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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"Leaders, Staff, and volunteers, will benefit from this rich resource." (CharityChannel, 1/02)

"...the book is a letter of encouragement for small churches to boldly be themselves." (Anglican Theological Review, 3/02)

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Many books suggest that the future of the Christian movement rests with the success of mega-congregations. These authors also conclude that small congregations are doomed. Kennon L. Callahan-today's most noted church consultant-moves ahead of such thinking and envisions a very different future. In this newest book, he confirms that the twenty-first century will be the age of consciously small, strong congregations.This important book chronicles the emergence of a vast number of congregations that are questioning the bigger-is-better notion in church membership. These congregations are deliberately small, active, and happy in their dedication to creating strong church communities that advance God's mission. Step by step, Kennon Callahan shows pastors and other church leaders how they can develop the values and specific qualities helpful to shape and strengthen their own small congregations.Written to be a hands-on guide, Small, Strong Congregations offers practical suggestions for creating mission and service, compassion and shepherding, community and belonging, self-reliance and self-sufficiency, worship and hope, teams and leaders, space and facilities, and giving and generosity. This wise resource is filled with illustrative examples that show clearly how myriad small churches have created solid, vigorous congregations.Small, Strong Congregations is a common-sense guide to the rich possibilities for the future where leaders, pastors, and the grassroots of small congregations work together to develop a healthy, constructive approach to their mission.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787949809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787949808
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,156,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This book is uncharacteristically long for one of Callahan's works (most are about 130 pages or so-- this doubles those). It lacks his concise nature and brevity (Mark it, though-- he usually says a lot in a few words, and it does take time to wade through and gather all of his wisdom). This book bogs a little in the middle, as far as readability...
Nonetheless, Callahan provides great insight as to how to run a smaller church. Often, small churches (which they all start out as, even if planting one)attempt to be "mini-megas," as C calls them. The reality is... some will be mega-churches one day... but, they must live that tension between where they are today, and the vision of what God has called them to become in the future. And, rather than doing EVERYTHING right now, they are better off doing one or two things INCREDIBLY WELL NOW, then adding on from there. In other words, vision means that many times you have to say "no" to good opportunities.
This allows the church to focus its energies in moving forwards, creating critical mass to do other things... which brings success in an area, providing momentum... which brings success and more momentum...
The book as an organic, relational approach to church growth, which is refreshing. That is, growth happens naturally through relationships with people-- not by getting into trap of throwing out more programs (a tendency in the small church, wanting to be a mini-mega).
Callahan calls churches to be strong-- and to start building on their strengths. To take seriously the gifts and abilities and resources God has placed in that Body... And, to build the Kingdom.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kennon Callahan has captured the imagination of the leader of the small church in America. He writes simply and straight forwardly about the trials of those who live in small congregations. I liked the fact that he doesn't try to convince the small church leader to adopt a mega-church mentality. Rather, he challenges them to look within their respective communities and tap into the power and the resources that already reside there. He does challenge the small church to live a life of service to the community rather than retreat into a life of survival. It is about mission not membership.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most of the popular church growth material is coming from larger congregations in various denominations. A well-known preacher will write his story of the marvelous growth in the particular congregation that he served. He will highlight some of the grand strategies that he employed to create a mega church. A mega church is a congregation over the 1000 attendance threshold. Of course, local preachers want to see the congregation that they work with develop, so they buy the book hoping that these new methods will work for them. After a period of excitement, attempting to have the congregation follow the mission, often little changes, and even sometimes the congregation is worse off than before the project started. The major fault is that the preacher was attempting to infuse mega-church methodology on a small to middle size church.
Like much of American culture, Christians assume bigger is better, and smaller is weaker. But with the shifting of society, instead of rejecting being a small to middle size congregation, churches would be wiser to embrace the role that this size dynamic fulfills in God's kingdom. In today's marketplace, there are large big box stores that are thriving, and there are small boutique stores that are succeeding.. The stores that are struggling the most are the middle sized ones. It is because these places are too big to offer personal care and too small to provide deep discounts. Churches are falling into this uncertain category. The church is attempting to provide the programing of a large church, and is unable to provide the relational connectivity of a smaller church. So instead of growth, there is just perpetual frustration.
Fortunately, Kennon L.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kennon Callahan describes the strengths of a small, vibrant family church. He offers encouragement to the family size church pointlng out that while our American culture values large corporate structures, many people are searching for the connections that a family size church can offer. He encourages small churches to look to their strengths, rather then focusing on how they compare to a corporate size church. He reminds these smaller congregations that Jesus had only a small core group of disciples who changed the world.
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