Church Redevelopment: The making of a Thesis

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I have been at this project for about six months now.  Writing a proposal for a doctoral project is no easy task. For one thing, I’m slightly obsessed. I wake up all hours of the night to read, write, and think and then read, write and think some more.

The project is on shepherding a church as it walks through a time of redevelopment.  I will be using this blog as a journal for what I learn along the way, as I experience this process of introducing a project to a congregation, implementing the project, and  discovering the outcomes.

“Redevelopment is what the journey is called when the congregation has fundamentally congealed. The church now has become primarily focused on preserving the status quo. The congregation’s God-given energy flows almost totally towards its own survival. When the faith community walls itself off from its community rather than living to serve, death is inevitable. . . .” (Gil Rendle, Journey in the Wilderness).

For now, if you are looking for a good list of resources on change, redevelopment and leadership. Here is my bibliography with some comments.


 Bass, Diana Butler. 1998. Christianity after Religion:  The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening.  New York: Harper Collins.

I love this book. It accessible, practical and prophetic. You should have it on your shelf.

Beuchner, Frederich. 1999. Beyond Words. Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith.  San Fancisco: Harper Collins.


Block, Peter.  2009. Community: The Structure of Belonging.  San Francisco:  Barrett-Koehler Publishing, Inc.

Peter Block is one of my heroes. This is a book that defines the signs of the times.

Brueggemann, Walter.  1998.  Isaiah 40-66: Westminster Bible Companion.  New York:  Westminster John Knox Press.

How can anyone be as prolific as Brueggemann? Great commentary.

Collins, Jerry C, Porras Jerry A. Harvard Business Review: On Change.  Harvard Business Press. September, 1996.


Drummond, Sarah B. 2009. Holy Clarity:  The practice of planning and evaluation.   Virginia: Alban Institute.

Really helpful.

Elton, Terri Martinson.  “The story we find ourselves In:  Nurturing Christian Identity in a Consumer Culture.” Word and World, Vol. 34. No 2 Spring, 2014.

Clapp, Rodney. 1996.  A Peculiar People:  The church in a post Christian Society.  Downers Grove, Illinois: Inner-varsity.

Cooperrider, David L. 2005. Appreciative Inquiry Handbook: For Leaders of Change. 2nd Edition. San Francisco:  Berrett:Koehler.

A little overwhelming, but worth having on your shelf.

Herrington, Jim., Mike Bonen, James H. Furr. 2000.  Leading Congregational Change: A Practical Guide for the Transformational Journey.  San Francisco:  Josey Bass.

This book is o.k., but not fabulous. I would recommend  checking it out at the library and not purchasing it.

Hudson, Jill. 2004.  When Better Isn’t Enough: Evaluations Tools for the 21st Century.   Maryland: Alban Institute.

Very thorough. It’s a humbling and helpful book.

Kotter, John P. 2012.  Leading Change. Boston: Harvard Business Review.

Really excellent. I appreciate his comments on the  difference between managers and leaders.

Lencioni, Patrick.  2006. Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable about destroying the barriers that turn colleagues into competitors.” San Francisco: Journey Bass.

I love everything Patrick Pencioni writes. EVERYTHING!

Ludema, James D. 2003.  The Appreciative Inquiry Summit: A Practioner’s Guide for Leading Large Group Change.  San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler.

A bit overwhelming to grasp, but very thorough.

Mann, Alice. 1999. Can Your Church Live? Redeveloping Congregations in Decline.  Virginia: Alban.

Worth your time.

McLaren, Brian D. 2014.  We Make the Road by Walking.  New York: Jericho Books.

Pretty good.

Mead, Loren B. 1994.  Transforming Congregations for the Future.  Virginia:  Alban Institute.


Rendle, Gil. 2010. Journey in the Wilderness: New Life for Mainline Churches.  Nashville: Abington Press.

Really, really good. Really.

Rendle, Gil, Alice Mann. 2003.  Holy Conversations:  Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice for Congregations.  USA:  Alban Institute.

Helpful.  I have opened the book so many times, I have broken the binding.

Rice, Jesse.  2009.  The Church of Facebook:  How the Hyperconnected are Redefining Community.  Colorado:  Cook Community Springs.

Not  amazing.

Sellon, Mary K. 2002. Redeveloping the Congregation: A How to for Lasting Change.  New York: The Alban Institute.

Really well done.

Senge, Peter M. 1990. The Fifth Discipline.  U.S.A.:  Doubleday.

Must have on your shelf.

Orchard Park Presbyterian Church Mission Study. 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana.

A work of art. 🙂FullSizeRender (2)

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