This book is not an attempt to offer hope, help, or even advice on what denominations need to do. However, it is a book about a significant turn-around of a middle-level administration of justice in one Protestant denomination and it does offer hope that other like administrations might be able to experience a better and more effective existence. Everyone's experience is unique and therefore cannot be replicated. However, the implementation of foundational all-encompassing principles, the development of new strategies, and the performance of specific tactics that are successful in one situation does offer hope to others that their modeling of the principles, adapting the strategies, and creating specific tactics to fit their context can bring change.
"Thisbook is a gutsy look at denominational life, leadership and vision, and offersnew paradigms for the local church, middle judicatories and nationaldenominational life. A must-read for anyone interested in bringing renewal tothe local church and our denomination. Clearly, Borden has hit the bull's-eyewith regard not only to our denomination's needs but also how renewal begins inthe local church." - ABE News
Forewordto Hit the Bullseye byLeith Anderson
"Somelook at things that are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and askwhy not?"
--George Bernard Shaw
There are approximately 400,000 churches in the UnitedStates and the vast majority of them belong to denominations. Some are healthy, vibrant, and growing. Most are tired, struggling, not growing, and don’t know what to do.
Plenty of critics and cynics take surveys, analyze data,and write books about what is wrong with the churches of America. As if following the theology of
Chicken Little they are convinced that the sky is falling and there is little wecan do except seek cover. Proposals for renewal often are offered by theoristswho tell practitioners what to do but have never actually done it themselves.
What if there was a way to help declining churches to grow? What if we could teach pastors how to lead their congregations tospiritual renewal? What if thousands of churches changed from maintenance tomission? What if a movement beganwith 200 churches that grew to 200,000 churches? What if millions of unchurched people came into lasting relationshipswith Jesus Christ and the church? Whatif the denominations of America with all of their people, property, andpotential became the epicenter of this spiritual earthquake that became known asthe Great Awakening of the 21st Century?
Maybe all this sounds too good to be true. Well, it has already begun. Centeredin the earthquake zone of northern California, the American Baptist Churches ofthe West have demonstrated that a plateaued and declining region of mainlinecongregations can become a model of healthy and growing congregations. They have overcome the usual excuses that “our churches are toosmall,” “we have too many older people and congregations,” and “propertyhere is too expensive.” Theyfollowed a powerful formula of biblical strategies, courageous leadership, andmuch hard work. What is mostamazing is that the turnaround took less than five years.
Here is the dream. Denominationalleaders, executive ministers, bishops, district superintendents, regionaldirectors, seminary teachers, pastors, and lay leaders will discover what Godhas done in northern California and say, “Why not here?” “With a few creative adaptations we can do the same thing in ourdenomination and in our churches.”
They will start small and multiply. They will risk their traditions, finances, staff, and jobs. They will respond to misunderstanding with teaching and take criticismwith grace. Then there will be onesuccessful church transformation—new vision, new faith, new people, and newexcitement. One will become ten andten will become one hundred. Churchby church, region by region, denomination by denomination—a true reformationwill bring a great new era to the people and churches of our generation. It can be done. Ithas been done. This is a dream ofthe way things can be. Be amongthose who say, “Why not? Let’sdo it!”