Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Leading Turnaround Churches - Book Review

This is a 167 page book written by Gene Wood in 2001. It is an easy read filled with practical insights. It should be read by any installed pastor or interim pastor who desires to lead the church off the plateau or out of decline. This book is one that I will review periodically to help me keep my focus as a turnaround leader.

Some of the best “stuff” I highlighted from this book:
“Turnaround always demands change.” (Everybody should already know this but everybody has to be reminded of this again and again!)
“It is virtually impossible to perform surgery without blood being spilled. Turnaround leaders view themselves as surgeons, not butchers.” (Intentional Interims should handle people with care even when those people have to be shaken up.)
Wood makes a strong claim when he says, “95% of all serious problems in the church stem from a power struggle.” He goes on to say that power struggles are “fundamentally irresolvable. The question in a power struggle is, who will lead and who will leave?”
Still talking about power struggles Wood says, “Going east is not inherently superior to moving west. The point is: No wagon can move simultaneously in both directions.” A few paragraphs later he says, “Why are churches so inclined to allow the minority to establish the order of the day? Why do they give cantankerous members more than one vote? When a church acquiesces to the minority, that is what it does.”

The core of this book is the ten characteristics of turnaround leaders:
1) They consider leadership an act of service.
2) They accept responsibility for the turnaround.
3) They avoid a church which does not desire to become healthy.
4) They establish the critical rules of engagement before they arrive.
5) They never backtrack.
6) They keep close reign on their temper.
7) They are discreet about what they share with others.
8) They are willing to confront the sin of divisiveness.
9) They possess “growth vision”.
10) They are action oriented and bold.

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