A common barrier to implementation of a strategic plan is that the congregation’s goals exceed their staff and volunteer capacity to execute on the plan. The 80/20 rule applies to most congregations: 20 percent of members are participating in ministry, and 80 percent are spectating on the sideline. In this practical, first-of- its-kind guide for church leaders, respected Hartford Seminary researcher Scott Thumma and noted Leadership Network author Warren Bird draw upon new research across a broad range of Protestant attenders and churches of all sizes and show how to create more active members. The authors listened to thousands of church members’ voices to discern what motivates less-connected, inactive members to move into fuller participation. Because the causes of non-involvement are complex and differ from church to church, Thumma and Bird advocate the development of listening and learning teams for the 80 percent and propose practical steps to assist clergy in uncovering membership patterns, cultural norms, and leadership blind spots common to Evangelical and mainline Protestant congregations alike. The book includes a wealth of creative ideas to engage members, as well an annotated bibliography, extensive list of online resources, data tables, and sample survey questions.
Reviewed by Sandra Herron