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Hit the Bullseye: How Denominations Can Aim Congregations at the Mission Field ( [Paperback]

By Paul D. Borden (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   144
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.6" Height: 0.36"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2003
Publisher   Abingdon Church Supplies
ISBN  0687043719  
EAN  9780687043712  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
Denominations in the United States were started to assist congregations. Local churches realized that often they could do more together than they could separately. For many years denominations provided invaluable services to congregations in missions, education, and church life. This is no longer the cae. As many congregations diminish in size, they find themselves with aging constituencies, and experience a decline in mission dollars. They also find denominations impotent in producing change, health, and growth. Denominations respond in various ways to this situation. This book offers three key strategies for change: training, recruitment of outside leaders, and pastoral mentoring.

Publishers Description
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. ""This book is a gutsy look at denominational life, leadership and vision, and offers new paradigms for the local church, middle judicatories and national denominational life. A must-read for anyone interested in bringing renewal to the local church and our denomination. Clearly, Borden has hit the bull's-eye with regard not only to our denomination's needs but also how renewal begins in the local church." "- ABE News Foreword to "Hit the Bullseye" by Leith Anderson July 2003 "Some look at things that are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?" -- George Bernard Shaw There are approximately 400,000 churches in the United States 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 we can do except seek cover. Proposals for renewal often are offered by theorists who tell practitioners what to do but have never actually done it themselves. What if? What if there was a way to help declining churches to grow? What if we could teach pastors how to lead their congregations to spiritual renewal? What if thousands of churches changed from maintenance to mission? What if a movement began with 200 churches that grew to 200,000 churches? What if millions of unchurched people came into lasting relationships with Jesus Christ and the church? What if the denominations of America with all of their people, property, and potential became the epicenter of this spiritual earthquake that became known as the Great Awakening of the 21st Century? Maybe all this sounds too good to be true. Well, it has already begun. Centered in the earthquake zone of northern California, the American Baptist Churches of the West have demonstrated that a plateaued and declining region of mainline congregations can become a model of healthy and growing congregations. They have overcome the usual excuses that our churches are too small, we have too many older people and congregations, and property here is too expensive. They followed a powerful formula of biblical strategies, courageous leadership, and much hard work. What is most amazing is that the turnaround took less than five years. Why not? Here is the dream. Denominational leaders, executive ministers, bishops, district superintendents, regional directors, seminary teachers, pastors, and lay leaders will discover what God has done in northern California and say, Why not here? With a few creative adaptations we can do the same thing in our denomination 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 criticism with grace. Then there will be one successful church transformation new vision, new faith, new people, and new excitement. One will become ten and ten will become one hundred. Church by church, region by region, denomination by denomination a true reformation will bring a great new era to the people and churches of our generation. It can be done. It has been done. This is a dream of the way things can be. Be among those who say, Why not? Let s do it "

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More About Paul D. Borden

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Asan international consultant, judicatory leader, former large church pastor, andprofessor of homiletics, Dr. Paul Borden knows both what is required totransform congregations and judicatories and how to do it. Borden is Executive Minister of Growing HealthyChurches. He is in demand nationally as a church consultant, who helpedinitiate the "teaching church" movement, in which congregations learnfrom other congregations about excellence. His book Hit the Bullseye(Abingdon, 2006) has been used by over 50 denominations in leading change.Previousassignments include Director of Church Consulting for the Evangelical FreeChurch of America and Academic Dean of Western Bible College. Paul holds aPh.D. from the University of Denver, Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary andB.S. from Philadelphia College of Bible.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
"Manhandling Church"  Jun 9, 2008
Make no mistake about it. Hit The Bullseye by Ken Borden is not about getting closer to God or even ascertaining what is God's direction for churches that are in decline. Had it been about answering these questions, there would have been some biblical exegesis on the subject and the case studies describing church growth would demonstrate God's providential work rather than man's ability to fill the pews.

Ultimately, Borden proposes that we rely on ourselves to re-create what is the Holy Spirit's province. He assumes there is no reason American churches are in decline other than their unwillingness to succeed (defined purely in terms of numbers) and that God is simply waiting for them to say yes. There's more to it than that. [Rev.3:14-22] Here are some of Borden's unquestioned assumptions:

1. That God is more interested in results than relationship;
2. That the Great Commission takes priority over the Greatest Commandment;

3. That man can replicate what the Holy Spirit created on the Day of Pentecost; and

4. That we can skip the parts about repentance, deliverance and sanctification and just start doing.

What Hit The Bullseye shows is that man can -if he so desires-- organize and grow "churches" on his own. But of course we knew that. [Isaiah 17:9-11; Jer. 2:13, 10:20-21, 8:11-17; Amos 6:14; Luke 13:6-9; Rev. 2:1-6, 3:1-4] Borden tempts us to manage on our own, but our efforts will not put us in relationship with the Living God. We don't need another "how to" book on doing church. It's all right there in Holy Writ --if we're willing to read it.
A Must Read  Sep 27, 2007
I have never written a review on this site before, but the negative feedback this book is getting needs to be overcome. This book is a must read for any denominational worker. Paul Borden's leadership has resulted in the only denominational entity in this century that has "turned around" a majority of plateaued and declining churches. The uniqueness of this accomplishment makes this a must read. As a Ph.D. and church consultant for over twenty years, this book makes a significant contribution to the field of church growth. To get a better insight into how the denomination helped these churches, read the trilogy--this book, "Direct Hit" by Paul Borden and "Winning on Purpose" by John Kaiser.
Not helpful  Nov 15, 2006
This book is repetitive and poorly edited. I had a hard time getting past the lack of agreement of verb and subject, lack of parallel structure, sentence fragments and incorrectly spelled words. If there were two editors, as indicated on the cover, I can only wonder what they were editing for, certainly not ease in reading which is fostered by flowing sentences and good punctuation.
The author is very limited in his idea of what the church is and what it is for. By throwing out old metaphors, he thinks the church can turn from dysfunctional behaviors and be renewed. Where is Scripture in the solutions he promotes? What about the Scriptural description of the body where ALL parts are needed and we cannot say to one part, "I have no need of you."? He says that his solutions focus on the congregations and then describes a very hierarchical, corporate, quantitatively driven structure.
There are some good descriptions of places where the church has failed and needs to reform, especially the area of accountability. But in the wordy, wandering text, it's hard to isolate a lot more about this book that I find helpful in my context as part of the Reformed tradition.
Narrow Audience  Sep 22, 2006
This book has a very narrowly defined audience - those who are in church governance. For that audience it is a very challenging book and worth reading. It is not perfect but it could be a critical tool for those who are seeking to renew the old mainline denominations that have long been on the sidelines.
Almost Misses the Target  Oct 15, 2005
It will be hard for anyone to suggest whether or not another person should read this book. At some points I thought it was great and offered fresh, valuable ideas. At other points I wanted to toss it in the trash and suggest no one read it. The best I can do in this review is offer you a few of my "perceived" pros and cons and let you decide for yourselves. I am not an expert in this subject, but in my 29 years of ministry experience I have served 5 churches, 4 of which showed growth. I have also served in what Borden might call judicatory leadership in another denomination.


At last someone offers a paradigm in which denominational leadership leaves the boring offices of bureaucracy and enters the field of consultation to come along side pastors in local churches! Everyone always says it's all about the local church, but leadership seldom seems to act like it. Three cheers for this proposed paradigm.

Thankfully Borden raises the bar on pastoral expectations, at least in the area of productivity. Too many pastors are hired who should never be behind the pulpit and once the mistake is discovered, too few are out counseled into other areas of service. I think Borden's style is a little strong and in reality there are reasons other than leadership incompetence that can cause churches not to grow. Some reasons are beyond control. Still, raising the bar doesn't hurt, if done thoughtfully, and is sorely needed.

I applaud the effort to help churches become missional. Too many churches routinely go too many years with no conversions. This is a mark of ill health.

Borden writes from personal experience. Who can help but be emotionally moved to see the churches of a large geographical area revitalized and brought back to life? May this story happen again and again across the country and in many denominations.

I also am impressed with Borden's ability to create a large intricate movement. His ability to cover all details, his passion, his strong personality, and his recruitment techniques would make it hard to fail.


First, Borden routinely writes about community and church "family" as if the communal nature of church detracts from mission. To be Christian is to be in community. This is not just organizational community (i.e. an employee at Wal Mart), but spiritual community. If I must place community on the back burner to build the church, I sacrifice too much. The church is the assembly of those who have been called out of the world (ecclesia) and the fellowship of those who have been called together (koinonia) in the name of Christ. The mission of the church is to lead souls to Christ, but this is not the only reason for the church's existence. The church, the Bride of Christ, will still be in existence long after heaven and earth pass away and there are no more souls to lead to Christ.

Second, Borden speaks as if leading people to Christ is everything, or at least the most important thing. I once believed like that. We lead people to Christ, so we can train them to lead others to Christ, so they in turn can lead others to Christ, and we will build up the church and someday those who were saved can be with Him in heaven. One day I thought, "What are we doing here?" We are peddling our product like a pyramid marketing scheme! Christ is more than that. We are so concerned with bringing people to Christ that few are taking the time to be with Christ right now! The kingdom of heaven isn't just someday. It's at hand here and now. There is more to salvation than many evangelicals stop to dwell on. When a bride and groom consummate their relationship children are born. When the Church (Bride of Christ) comes together with the groom (Christ) spiritual babies are the natural result. There is nothing about community or spiritual formation that should detract from evangelism.

Finally, how about a little fair play here? Borden repeatedly gives his employees and pastors timetables for performance or their jobs are at risk. But he also asks them to promise that they'll stick with the program a certain amount of time to work through the hard times. In the early portions of the book he equates the church to an athletic team. If a player doesn't produce, the player is traded. No hard feelings, that's just the way it works. True, but this also creates a system of free agency and a mentality of players who go to the highest bidder. He wrestles with this by using 2 million from the judicatory's funds to recruit and train leadership. He also negotiates with local churches for pastors' salaries. Leadership recruitment is a big hurdle. This worked well for the five years it was studied. What will happen over the next decade?


Get the book. Read it. Discuss how it can be beneficial to you. Don't throw away the baby with the bath water. There's some good stuff here. On the other hand don't swallow everything that's thrown your way. There are some gaps that need to be addressed, perhaps in a sequel?


Write your own review about Hit the Bullseye: How Denominations Can Aim Congregations at the Mission Field (

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