A-C           F-K    M-

Farley, Gary E, PhD  “Some Twenty Observations about Non-metropolitan churches confronting change,”  Appendix Two in Working Paper: The Churching of the Metro-Fringe, a case study of Southern Baptists in Kansas City/Raytown, 1945-1995.  (Atlanta:  North American Mission Board, File 1029, Revised March 29, 2001.)  Dr Gary Farley has become one of the leading voices for small and rural churches.  His insights on the life-span of a congregation have helped immensely in my understanding and diagnosis of struggling churches and in being attuned to strategies for restoration.  In addition to this quoted reference, he has a number of articles online, mostly from smallChurch.com, whose mission is “Assisting, Equipping and Encouraging pastors and lay leaders of small churches and rural ministries.”


Firestein, Roger l, PhD, Leading on the Creative Edge, C Springs, CO: Pinion Press, 1996) Success in an organization is in large part due to the leadership being able to express the problems to be solved and the tasks to be done in a way that they can be solved, rather than just imponderable issues.  For example, he reframes the complaint “We don’t have the money for that!” into “What might we do without in order to pay for this needed thing?” or “What other ways might we get the value of using this thing without paying the full price?”  He emphasizes leaving time to fully understand the problem and for generating more options, in order to create more creative “can do” solutions.

Garrison, David Church Planting Movements, (Midlothian, VA:  WIGTake Resources, 2004).  Written by a missions area coordinator, Garrison tells the stories of rapid church growth by conversion in Asia and other parts of the world, describing the key universal factors.  There are suggestions on how to help missions and what activities are most likely to stop a missions movement.  The publishing house is WIGTake, for What’s It Gonna Take to win the world?


Gladwell, Malcolm.  The Tipping Point.  (NY: Back Bay Books, 2000).  The subtitle of this 300-page paperback is “How little things can make a big difference.”  That phrase was prophetic.  The Tipping Point not only has become a classic in management literature, but the title has entered the American lexicon such that the concept of a tipping point is now widely understood.  In the book he compares how viral epidemics begin and how that applies to advertising and ideas. He explains the role of connectors, mavens and salesmen in spreading ideas, and why each is different but all are needed.  One key is that most people wait for someone else to initiate an idea, but once started, small efforts can keep that idea spreading.

Hall, Edward T,  The Hidden Dimensiona cultural anthropologist looks at the use of space in public & private space (Garden City, NY:  Doubleday & Co, Inc.  1966)  Although I tried to avoid any books more than 10 years old, this seminal work is still valid in many of its points in describing how various cultures view personal and professional space, and suggesting architectural solutions.  It is useful to this discussion in describing the infrastructure and physical barriers that must be overcome in creating comfortable social spaces (such as church meeting facilities).


Kelly, Dean M, Why Conservative Churches are Growing (NY:  Harper & Row, 1972).  As a rule, I don’t study contemporary issues with non-contemporary sources.  The culture changes too fast to make judgments about today and tomorrow with yesterday analysis.  However, there are a few authors who manage to touch on timeless issues and core principles, or were able to spot a trend before it was widely recognized.  The Bible obviously provides timeless truths that are as fresh tomorrow as they were a thousand years ago.  The unique insights of Tom Peters and Rosabeth Moss Kantor into the nature of human organizations (especially in the Western culture) are generally long-lasting.  Similarly, Hall’s ideas of social space and Maslow’s concepts of needs are enduring.  Dean Kelley’s book, while seeming to be of the age in which it was written, seems to reflect the early glimmer of what has become a full-blown crisis in the modern church, and we would have been well-served to have heeded its suggestions then, instead of backtracking now.  (NOTE: This book has recently been re-released.)


Kotter, John P, Leading Change (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1996).  This is a very easy read.  The most valuable insight to me was that successful organizations are not complacent in how they do their business, and their leaders are always communicating urgency, vision and strategy.  The key job of a leader is to remove barriers for their people.  Successful leaders share authority and celebrate small victories.  Authoritarian and control-oriented leaders stifle the organization’s ability to move forward.


Hayes, Albert  Power to the Edge (DC:  CCRP.org, 2003).  This is a military thought piece of how to improve command and control by creating flexible and adaptive structures that react to change with innovation, and resilience against change.  These new organizational structures maintain cohesiveness by robust communication and unity of purpose to every echelon of the unit (maximize collaboration and minimize information hiding).


Kantor, Rosabeth Moss & Stein, Barry A  Life in Organizations:  Workplaces as people experience them (NY:Basic Books, Inc. 1979)  When organizations are responding appropriately to a changing world, the leader must over-communicate and must always act consistently with the stated vision.  The leader must also listen to the concerns of those being led to find what motivates them, for their willingness to follow is a matter of managing expectations and consistently delivering on the factors that are key to the individuals themselves.  Conversely, “organizational skullduggery” invariably leads to organizational inertia and/or failure.

Kantor, Rosabeth Moss, On the Frontiers of Management (Boston, MA, Harvard Business School Press, 1997) As one of the leading experts in organizational dynamics and management, Kantor’s works are timeless.  This volume provides “a refresher course” for managers leading organizations involved in a changing world.  It talks about being life-long learners, thinking creatively, obsessing about customer-focused organizations, and the hard work of “follow up and follow through.”  It’s not enough to have a great product or a history of success.  The contemporary manager must lead the organization through constant self-discovery through the eyes of each succeeding generation (year/quarter/month?) of customers, being “local” in every global location the organization is represented.  (My local public library is upset at me for holding on to this one so long, but there was so much intellectual ‘meat’ in it!)


Kimball, Dan, The Emerging Church:  Vintage Christianity for New Generations.  (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 2003)  This is perhaps one of the best books on the contemporary church, and well deserving the forward by Rick Warren, who is himself best known for his Purpose Driven Life series.  Kimball is both insightful and practical.  Not only does he explain the culture around us, he tells you what to do about it to have the church speak to that culture, how to balance liturgy with the MTV culture.  So many ideas here!  Or, as he puts it “I want all who desire to have an impact in the emerging church to be … thinking strategically, studying the culture, and functioning as missiologists like never before. … We need to set the pace for social justice in our communities and be thinking globally.  But please, please, please … be constantly connected to the chief Shepherd … for his leading and guidance.”

Home             Next


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s