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Breakout Churches


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Table of Contents

CONTENTS Acknowledgments 9 The Research Team 11 Preface 13 CHAPTER 1 WHY GOOD IS NOT ENOUGH: THE CHRYSALIS FACTOR 15 CHAPTER 2 ACTS 6/7 LEADERSHIP 35 CHAPTER 3 EIGHT KEYS TO ACTS 6/7 LEADERSHIP 53 CHAPTER 4 THE ABC MOMENT 69 CHAPTER 5 THE WHO/WHAT SIMULTRACK 91 CHAPTER 6 THE VIP FACTOR 111 CHAPTER 7 A CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE 129 CHAPTER 8 INNOVATION ACCELERATORS 147 CHAPTER 9 BIG MO OR BLIND EROSION? 165 CHAPTER 10 TO BECOME A BREAKOUT CHURCH 185 A Personal Postscript 201 Appendix A. Frequently Asked Questions 205 Appendix B. Selection Process and Research Steps 213 Appendix C. Selection Process of Comparison Churches 217 Appendix D. Synopsis of Churches Selected 219 Appendix E. Church Readiness Inventory 241 Notes 245 Name and Subject Index 253

About the Author

Thom S. Rainer (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and, Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.


From the subtitle to the research methods, this is a book-length, church-focused homage to Jim Collins's business bestseller Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't. Rainer, a dean at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and president of a church consulting firm, sent a Collins-inspired team of researchers to pore through previously collected data on "effective evangelistic churches." The team was looking for churches that had gone through a period of stagnation before experiencing a "breakout" period of vitality, measured largely through membership growth-while keeping the same pastoral leadership. These criteria excluded both churches that had grown consistently or churches that grew after changing pastors. Of the 50,000 churches in the seminary's database, only 13 qualified. Rainer seeks to identify the secret of those churches' success and draws some telling comparisons with similar churches that were in gradual decline (and persistent denial). But his conclusions are consistently tainted by what statisticians call "post hoc bias"-there is no way to prove that the factors he identifies, which track closely with Collins's conclusions, were responsible for these churches' growth. The real value of this book is the hope Rainer instills that even churches that appear moribund can see remarkable change-if their leaders are willing, in Rainer's words, to "confront reality." (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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