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One Size Doesn't Fit All: Bringing Out the Best in Any Size Church [Paperback]

By Gary L. McIntosh (Author)
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Item description for One Size Doesn't Fit All: Bringing Out the Best in Any Size Church by Gary L. McIntosh...

How are small, medium, and large churches different? The author reveals ten areas that affect the life of every pastor and church member.

Publishers Description
Framed as a discussion between a pastor six months out of seminary and a veteran pastor, this book tackles the issues of how churches grow and how church size determines effective strategy for ministry. The pastors' Saturday morning dialogues reveal ten areas that will help readers understand their own church's psychology, addressing many questions that will make this book a vital resource for any new pastor, church planter, or lay leader concerned about his or her local church.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Revell
Pages   174
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 6" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 1999
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
Age  18
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  0800756991  
ISBN13  9780800756994  

Availability  0 units.

More About Gary L. McIntosh

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Gary L. McIntosh is president of the Church Growth Network and professor of Christian ministry and leadership at Talbot School of Theology. He leads seminars and has written several books, including Biblical Church Growth and Beyond the First Visit.

Gary L. McIntosh currently resides in La Midrada, in the state of California. Gary L. McIntosh was born in 1947.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Administration
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Institutions & Organizations

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > General

Reviews - What do customers think about One Size Doesn't Fit All: Bringing Out the Best in Any Size Church?

A Pastor's Best Friend  Jun 8, 2006

Did I get your attention? I realize that the pastor's best friend is God and best human friend is a spouse. I realize the most important book in the pastor's library is Scripture. But this book is VALUABLE with big letters!

This book is valuable because it is solid and practical. None of it is novel. None of it is new. It is not experimental. It is all based on time tested proven data, readily available from a variety of sources and should be taught in any pastoral leadership course.

This book is valuable because it is written with an easy to understand, step-by-step style that will open the eyes of laity on church boards. I took my church boards through this book, 3 chapters/week for 4 weeks. By the time we finished we had prepared an action plan that is turning our church around.

This book is valuable because it lays down unmistakable guidelines to expose dysfunction. By the time our boards had finished this book there were few people who could hide dysfunction behind pious language. The people saw it for what it was.


The book does have a couple of drawbacks. It is written in story form. Some of my congregation did not like the story. They just wanted the meat of the material. Chapter after chapter added to one overall chart. By the time the book was half finished I had people who skipped the chapters we were on and went to the final chart.


Most critics of this book point to its lack of theology and spiritual depth. That is not the point. Some pastors are competent but do not have a godly character. Others have character but lack competency. Some leaders have great personal spiritual depth, but lack public presence. Today's churches and church leaders need to have it all. Granted, this book has limited scope, but it doesn't pretend to be a theological work. It attempts to be a management tool. Leadership doesn't have to be "either/or", "it should be both/and".


The drawbacks do not compare to the advantages. EVERY church board in EVERY church should go through this book, if for no other reason than healthy self-diagnosis.

Practical, a good book for its scope  Dec 12, 2004
In response to the other reviewers, I do concede that this book has its weak points. It is not as expansive as other organizational/management books out there (i.e. "secular leadership" books) and yet does not have the spiritual core of some other Christian leadership books (i.e. Purpose Driven Church).

But as a youth pastor of a church, I find the book to be practically applicable where I am. Our church right now is 500+ congregants, and yet, much of the growth has been recent growth (with a recent new building too). Many of the church's older members, as well as the others in leadership, are still very fond of a "small church" model, and they find it hard to transition into a medium/large church model. Some of the issues that McIntosh raises are very valid- in part because most seminary training does NOT cover the practicalities of church ministry (can I get an AMEN from pastors out there?)

Seminaries will not teach you "how to run a board meeting" or "how to communicate vistion" or other nuts & bolts. Oftentimes, a pastor has great theological training... but then falls flat because of church politics, interpersonal dynamics, or organizational pitfalls. This book addresses the organizational side of things, not comprehensively, but practically.

I believe, when considered in terms of the scope of the author's intent (or, what I believe his intent to be), it communicates what it set out to communicate: that churches are different- part organism (i.e. alive) and part organization (i.e. structure). The book is short, succinct, and written like a "conversation" between two pastors, compared to some other books that read like statistical research papers. This is a resource that I can recommend to my church board, tell them to read it, and they can, without feeling intimidated.

I didn't read into it as saying "all churches must push to be large churches." I think a church by its nature MUST grow- the early church in Acts did. And as a church grows, its leaders must be able to chart the course ahead. This fits my church, struggling with a small-church mindset + large church attendance.

Not all churches are the same... hence one size doesn't fit all. This book may not fit your church and your context, but that's ok. I think that's the point. If you are a leader in a small church, that's great... this resource might remind you of the blessings you have in being a small church. If you are part of a medium sized church, then this will remind you of where you've been as well as where you are going. And if you're in the small percentile of large-church, then this gives some "organizational tips for pastors"... easy to understand, practical, and short. It does not overwhelm the already-full schedule of a pastor
Disappointment  Sep 22, 2004
Found the book to be statistical and fact based but lacking completely in spiritual base. Personally I am tired of church politics, plans, and games and am more interested in a church interested in having Christ as the center. I think a church would grow on that basis. People want God, not programs, and as for pastor they want a friend and leader but not a dictator/ruler.
Deceptively Titled  May 4, 2004
Based on the title and the blurb, I was expecting a book that would offer some suggestions for the best strategies to minister effectively in churches of different size. Instead, this insipid waste of paper keeps circling back to one theme: Bigger Is Better. According to McIntosh, you must add staff now, and start new ministries now, because you must grow toward becoming a large church. Sure, some folks might not like it and they'll leave, but who needs them anyway - you're bringing in new folks!

All of McIntosh's suggestions are driven by pragmatism. There is never any consideration of eccelesiology (the theology of what the Church is and should do). He seems to view the pastor as a corporate CEO, whose job is to set the vision for the organisation and then convince his session/diaconate/vestry/trustees/whatever-they-use-in-your-denomination to go along with it. McIntosh's pastor is certainly never a servant leader.

If you want a good book on organisational psychology, management philosophy, etc., this isn't it. You'll find plenty of much better books in the business section with material that you can adapt to fit a church setting. If you are looking for a thoughtful analysis of what the church should be in the world and how the distinctives of different size churches facilitate accomplishing Christ's mission for His Church, this book definitely isn't it. I feel like sending the author a bill for the time I wasted reading it.

Excellent overview  Jan 14, 2002
This book is about the issues of church size and its effects on parish dynamics. The discussions of budget, finances, and church management are very useful as one considers stewardship issues and diagnosing the parish. It is written in the style of an experienced pastor giving advice to a new pastor, but the material is useful to laity, also.

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