Effective Small Churches in the Twenty-first Century

by Carl S. Dudley. Abingdon Press, 2002.

Why are some small churches continuing to survive and thrive when it appears that the odds are against them? Using empirical data coupled with congregational stories and histories, Dudley answer this query by exploring in depth how caring, belonging, and sharing in the small church context are avenues to success. He is, however, refreshingly candid in relating how extremes of these characteristics can block progress or create misunderstanding. Before each chapter, the author provides an exercise the congregation and its leaders can engage in to bring about awareness of how that concept works locally. For example, prior to a chapter on places of ministry, members are asked to uncover the silent history of their church by moving through the grounds and rooms of the church, noting or assembling objects having significance to the members. Objects found in closets, as well as old serving pieces in the kitchen, have stories that uncover deep meaning. Small churches and their leaders, struggling to understand their worth, might find this source both practical and encouraging.

This resource was recommended by Robert Hunter during the strategic planning approach assessment in 2005.