Numerous books have been written to help churches lead revitalization efforts or tweak what they’re doing to stay healthy and reproduce. But the reality is that numerous churches have tried everything these books suggest—and are still nearing death, perpetually finding themselves at what Exponential identifies as a Level 1 survival culture.
In Dying to Restart, Greg Wiens and Dan Turner address that reality. The authors bring their collective experience (more than a couple decades) of working with and leading churches to help churches process the idea of an actual restart—and then execute it.
A “church restart,” the authors say, combines all of the approaches of church planting with the pastoral work of helping a congregation die with dignity. The existing church chooses a definitive ending characterized by a radical yielding of power and control to new guiding leadership. The goal of a restart is to create a wholly different body with holy different DNA. In this new culture, the church will be healthy in all ways, including its ability to build disciples and multiply itself, producing other disciple-making churches (Level 5).
The authors have packed this book with real stories of Level 1 churches that chose a purposeful death to experience new life (Level 4 or 5). They conducted nearly 24 interviews with pastors who have led restart efforts.
“We hope this resource can serve the Church,” they write, “by filling the information gap for churches that have been living on the edge of death for too long.”
- Real stories and church profiles from leaders who have led church restarts
- Thorough discussion of the natural life cycles that all churches go through
- Descriptions and examples of the various kinds of restarts
- Scriptural examination of the theology behind restarts and the distorted theology many churches are living out (“We can’t let the church die,” “We can be faithful without being fruitful,” etc.).
- Essential characteristics of restart leaders
- The most critical decision a restart church will make
- How to secure congregation buy-in
- The importance of confronting hard challenges upfront
- The landmine potential of not paying attention to the details
- Understanding the various phases of a restart
- The specific changes each church needs to be prepared for
- The role of the remnant (those who stay in the new church)
- A realistic look at life after the restart
- What it takes to restart with missional DNA that leads to Level 5 multiplication
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