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Breakout Churches: Discover How to Make the Leap [Paperback]

By Thom S. Rainer (Author)
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Pages   272
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.8" Width: 5.28" Height: 0.71"
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
ISBN  0310266106  
EAN  9780310266105  
UPC  025986266103  

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Alternate Formats List Price Our Price Item Number Availability
Paperback $ 14.99 $ 12.74 68047
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Item Description...
In Thom Rainer's latest book, he sets out to discover how churches that were once healthy but had stagnated in growth have broken out to become great churches impacting lives and entire communities.

Buy Breakout Churches: Discover How to Make the Leap by Thom S. Rainer from our Church Supplies store - isbn: 9780310266105 & 0310266106 upc: 025986266103

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More About Thom S. Rainer

Thom S. Rainer Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, one of the largest Christian resource companies in the world. Also a respected pastor and researcher, he has written more than twenty books and coauthored the No. 1 best seller Simple Church. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons, several grandchildren, and live in Nashville, Tennessee.

Thom S. Rainer has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Bible Studies for Life (Bsfl)

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
One of the Best Practical and Theological Coherent Books on Church Growth  Jan 25, 2009
In more conservative and Calvinistic circles the "Church Growth Movement" and constructs of Church Growth have been roundly, and in many instances, rightly criticized. The emphasis on methodology and pragmatism has often been at the expense of theology and a Biblical view of the sovereignty of God. The perceived excesses of the Willow Creek and Saddleback models of ministry; the theological aberrations of Robert Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral model and some of the unguarded statements of C. Peter Wagner (along with his own problematic theology) has caused the movement to be viewed with a jaundiced eye by many.

The author of this work has been a leader in the conservative wing of the Church Growth Movement for many years. He is the author of several significant books in the area of church growth, was for many years the Dean of the Billy Graham School of Evangelism and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is now president of Life Way.

This work is modeled after the template of Jim Collins' bestselling business book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ad Others Don't (Harper Collins, 2001). Rainer acknowledges his debt to the model of Collins' work (p. 13-14). Initially the reader might think that this is just another so-called Christian book borrowing from the pragmatism and secularism of American business, but this would be a thoroughly erroneous observation.

There is a clear sense in which that church growth and effective evangelism is entirely in the hands of a sovereign God; however, it is nonetheless demonstrable that God does not simply override poor planning, bad methodology and outright ineptitude (or sinfulness) on the part of church leaders, granting the blessing of successful evangelism and growth. John MacArthur, who is well known in decrying the influence of pure pragmatism in church ministry (e.g. Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes like the World [Crossway, 1993]), has also noted that there is a practical aspect of ministry that cannot be ignored if a local church desires to be successful (e.g. "Marks of an Effective Church," in The Master's Plan for the Church [Moody Press, 1991], p. 103-16).

Rainer's work examines 13 churches that made the transition of a "Breakout Church" as designed by the criteria established by Rainer's study. The criteria was strict, the 13 churches that were studied were selected from an initial examination of over 50,000 churches. There were five criteria established that the sample churches has to meet (p. 213-15). Key among these criteria was that the church needed to experience the breakout under the same pastor. As Rainer notes, "the decline, breakout and growth all had to take place under the same pastor" (p. 214). This fact is key in that following Collins' work; Rainer also emphasizes leadership, what he calls "Acts 6/7 Leadership" (p. 5-67), as foundational to "Breakout Churches."

Rainer notes that, "it is a sin to be good if God has called us to be great" (p. 34) and the biblical principles that under gird greatness are detailed throughout this work. He details a six-stage process that the "Breakout Churches" he studies all went through. Initially these were all churches in decline, from there was a renewed commitment on the part of the pastor to "Acts 6/7 Leadership," which emphasizes the "called leader," the "contributing leader," the "passionate leader," the "bold leader," and the "legacy leader." The first five concepts are built on the leadership qualities seen in the apostles in Acts 1-5 and the final state in demonstrated in a large measure by the leadership qualities of Stephen in Acts 6-7. From there the church moves to what Rainer calls the "ABC Moment," that is the realization that something is not right in the church (Awareness), that the leader acknowledges this and confronts it (Belief), and the willingness to face the opposition from those satisfied with the status quo (Crisis). The next step is the "Who/What Simultrack" where, to paraphrase Collins' work, the wrong people gotten off the bus, the right people are put on the bus, the even the right people who were there are put into the right seats. Next he details the "VIP Factor" where the "leaders discovered vision through the intersection o three factors: the passion of the leader, the needs of the community; and the gifts, abilities, talents and passions of the congregation" (p. 30). The next step is a development of `Culture of Excellence" where the good is eschewed in favor of the best. Finally there is the feature of "Innovation Accelerators." Rainer notes that methodologies and innovation are the end-result, not the solution to declining churches. "How many church leaders have divided and demoralized congregations by introducing innovative methodologies and approaches before the church was ready to accept the?" (p. 31).

The results of Rainer's research and study of his 13 churches was eye-opening, perhaps particularly to those who have an inclination against "Church Growth" type of studies and materials. One was the centrality of Biblical preaching as a foundational factor in the "Breakout Churches." Rainer notes that all of the pastors involved in "breakout" renewed emphasis on the study and preaching of the Word. As he notes:
The evidence of our research is convincing. These churches never abandoned the basics in their transition to greatness. There were obviously may methodological issues there were of great importance in their breakout. But any methodological factors were secondary to biblical fidelity, preaching and prayer. The Big Mo cannot be sustained by methods. The breakout churches are truly Acts 6:4 churches: "[We] will give ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word" (p. 174).
Rainer notes several other factors and also details a group of comparison churches that did not "breakout." There is a helpful series of appendices, including a "Frequently Asked Questions" section as well as a detailed subject index. The work is well noted. A detailed bibliography would have been a helpful addition to this work however.

As the author repeats throughout the work, this is not a book of methodology. He rejects the notion that A+B+C must always equal D. "I have attempted throughout this book to be very careful not to imply that the churches that moved to greatness did so with some magical, methodological, quick-fix formula. To the contrary, the opposite was true" (p. 172). He debunks the myth that churches can grow simply on the basis of methods and innovations or the securing of a "great pastor."

This is a book that pastors and church leaders who are serious about fulfilling the Great Commission and leading effective, God honoring and biblically sound churches need to read and digest thoroughly and we highly recommend it to all such leaders.

breakout  Mar 10, 2008
I enjoyed the book a lot and found it very helpful. Since i had read 'Good to Great" and liked it a lot this book was a no brainer for me to like. I bought it for my staff and we had great discussions at our meetings. It was very helpful in getting us un-stuck in some areas. If your church has been plateaued for a while or even shrinking like ours there are a lot of great helps here. Rainer wrote in a very matter of fact way with the express desire of helping churches. Written on the same basis as "good to great' it took a look at a handful of churches who had stopped growing started to wobble and then took off. Very encouraging unless you have to work your way through boards and committees to bring about change. I have recommended this to many pastor friends.
Awesome!  Dec 30, 2007
I loved this book, and not just because I'm in one of the churches reviewed. I thought one of the most fascinating things they document is how members and staff in plateaued or declining churches all go on about how awesome their church is doing, and how many people they're winning. They are completely out of touch with the fact that the church has lost vitality. Why? Probably because the leadership is engaged in propaganda with their own people, too scared to tell them the truth.

It is scary to confront your church with truth when you are failing. I've been there. Especially as the lead pastor, you have to point out that your church stinks in terms of accomplishing your mission, when guess who is the leader! However, that's what they need to know, and that's the only way to get things turned around.

Many thought-provoking and practical lessons in this book.
-Dennis McCallum, author Organic Disciplemaking: How to promote Christian leadership development through personal relationships, biblical discipleship, mentoring, and Christian community
Break Out Church - A Must Buy if you're serious about church growth.  Sep 22, 2007
A research based book that is logical, do-able and researched based. It was written for those of us who couldn't quite put our finger on why our churches aren't growing. Great Resource!
Significant information for churches who are serious about growth  Sep 10, 2007
As always, the information is thorough and very well organized. The premises were supported and documented. It applies scholastic effort with great insight and is a helpful tool for those who are serious about being "all that God intends them to be".
Thanks for all the hard work.

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