For those whose passion is the health and the growth of the Church, the words of Jesus are enduring comfort: “I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Generations have come and gone, facing challenges unimagined by their predecessors, and still the Church stands—Christ’s primary agent of transformation in each succeeding time and culture.
And yet by some estimates, as many as 4,000 American churches will shutter their doors this year. What is true of the eternally prevailing Church is not borne out in the experience of thousands of congregations that are ailing or worse, dying.
So that are the signs of health, the symptoms of sickness, the causes of death—and what is the prescription for strength? To find out, we talked with church-health experts, and we spoke with those living the challenges—sometimes in congregations that found their most significant measure of strength only after facing the worst.
The May/June issue brings their counsel—and for all who seek the Vital Church.
In This Issue
The Symptoms of a Struggling Church … and the Way to Recovery
Leaders Who Have Assisted Ailing Congregations Discuss How Churches Can Regain their Health—and Stay That Way
Vital Signs: This Is What a Healthy Church Looks Like
Stories of New Life: Pastors Share How Their Churches Rebounded from Hard Times
Missional Mergers: International Church Consultant Tom Bandy Explains the Essentials of Mission-Driven Mergers
Resource for Health: Books and Ministries to Help Your Church
The Outreach Interview: Dave Gibbons Is Convinced: The Way to Reach the Masses Is to Begin with the Marginalized