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Turn-Around Churches: How to Overcome Barriers to Growth and Bring New Life to an Established Church [Paperback]

By George Barna (Author)
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Item description for Turn-Around Churches: How to Overcome Barriers to Growth and Bring New Life to an Established Church by George Barna...

It can happen in any church - success in ministry can lead to a condition of paralysis. Churches begin to rely on the "tried and true" practices of the past and become unable - or unwilling - to risk making the changes required by present day challenges. It's a dangerous scenario that can lead a church into decline. The good news is that "growth paralysis" can be cured - if church leaders learn to recognize it and take swift, decisive and prayerful action.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Regal Books
Pages   122
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.97" Width: 6.04" Height: 0.41"
Weight:   0.44 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 28, 1997
ISBN  0830716572  
ISBN13  9780830716579  

Availability  0 units.

More About George Barna

George Barna A native New Yorker, George Barna has filled executive roles in politics, marketing, advertising, media, research and ministry. He founded the Barna Research Group (now The Barna Group) in 1984 and helped it become the nation’s leading marketing research firm focused on the intersection of faith and culture. The company has served several hundred parachurch ministries and thousands of Christian churches throughout the country. It has also supplied research to numerous corporations and non-profit organizations, as well as to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army.

To date, Barna has written 48 books, mostly addressing leadership, trends, church health and spiritual development. They include best-sellers such as Revolution, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, The Frog in the Kettle, and The Power of Vision. His most recent book is Revolutionary Parenting. Several of his books have received national awards. He has had more than 100 articles published in periodicals and writes a bi-weekly research report (The Barna Update) accessed by more than a million people each year, through his firm’s website ( His work is frequently cited as an authoritative source by the media. He has been hailed as "the most quoted person in the Christian Church today" and has been named by various media as one of the nation’s most influential Christian leaders.

He is a popular speaker at ministry conferences around the world and has taught at Pepperdine and Biola Universities and several seminaries. Barna served as a pastor of a large, multi-ethnic church and has been involved in several church start-ups.

After graduating summa cum laude from Boston College, Barna earned two Master's degrees from Rutgers University. At Rutgers, he was awarded the Eagleton Fellowship. He also received a doctorate from Dallas Baptist University. He lives with his wife (Nancy) and their three daughters (Samantha, Corban, Christine) in southern California. He enjoys reading novels, watching movies, playing guitar, and relaxing on the beach.

George Barna currently resides in Glendale Oxnard, in the state of California.

George Barna has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Barna Reports for Highly Effective Churches
  2. Leading Edge

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Leadership
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Administration

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Pastoral Help > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Turn-Around Churches: How to Overcome Barriers to Growth and Bring New Life to an Established Church?

I was afraid to read this book  Feb 5, 2004
This is a very unique book. It doesn't look for churches that are success stories and then Barna writes why they have made it. Rather this a book that the author looks for churches that are "failures" and he tells us why and what it took to turn them around.

He states that it takes a special (or different) type of pastor to turn a church around. It takes a pastor that can exude confidance and strong leadership. He writes: "Leadership without strong management results in theoretical, idea-heavy, pastor driven churches. Management without visionary leadership leads to ministry that is mechanical, passionless. predictable and limited".

Also states that it will take a new pastor to turn a church around. The Pastor who is on watch when the church takes a dive will not be able to cause this major change as the church is ready to give its last gasp.

It is easy to see that Maxwell's leadership laws are being implemented. The difference in this book is that time lines and time deadlines are given.

I said I was afraid to read this book because I have been involved with 3 turn around churches (all have made it)and this last one was on the bankruptcy doorsteps as well as facing civil lawsuits and a possible criminal investigation. It simply doesn't get worse. Today, 4 years later, there has been a complete turn around. I was afraid because I read the book with an eye to judge myself according to Mr. Barna.

He writtings are exactly what my wife and I have experienced. This definitely is NOT a book on theory. These are actual case studies and I can personally attest to its accuracy. I only wish that I have read this book 20 years ago so that I could have gone into these situations with a bit more confidance.

The only way not to rate this book highly, is to only experience a turnaround by reading and not by doing.

It helped turn around my church!  Sep 10, 2003
This is one of the most intriguing, yet, depressing books I have ever read. On one hand Barna says that there is hope for the 85% of American Churches that have stagnated or are in the process of decline- they can be turned around. Based on actual case studies, Barna outlines the principles of renewal; yet, just when we can see ourselves leading our churches out of the spiritual doldrums Barna drops the other shoe. Turning around a church is an extraordinary difficult task that only a few pastors are capable of doing. Perhaps the most discouraging word was that this was a young mans job, that is, for men under the age of forty-five.

I appreciate the authors insight that it takes a strong, hardworking leader to run around a church. A forty-hour workweek will not do. Barna stresses that spiritual growth must be based on spiritual things and not just on the strength of men, a foundation of prayer is a must for a turn around church. Without prayer we are relaying on the strength of men. We need to bring people into a tighter bond with God, a process that is very uncomfortable for most people.

Here are some insights: Renewal takes a long-term commitment; one does not turn a church around in a year or two- it is a process that may take five or six years. There is an absolute need to seize the moment. Barna counsels pastors to make significant changes the first year of their ministry. To wait a year or two to earn how the church operates (advice given by almost every seminary and Bible college) will almost guarantee failure in the renewal process. Delay will only allow internal resistance to develop. Finally, he says that renewal pastors do not wait for a consensus before attempting change they will never get it. Consensus is the abdication of leadership.

If you are a senior pastor and have the courage to attempt to turn around your church, read this book.

A Few Good Insights  Mar 5, 2001
George Barna has written some excellent books, but this is not one of his best. It is very much like many books about church growth. If you are not well-read on this subject, you might enjoy this book more than I.

Barna's strength is his diagnosis of trouble. His solutions are,in my view, weak. When dealing with church growth in general, one has to ask the question, "If I have to do such and such and have a church that is such and such, is it worth having this kind of church at all? Is this a Christianity WORTH reproducing?"

Marketing Oriented Answers to Spiritual Disease  Feb 27, 2001
Barna has made a fortune by addressing from a marketing analysis what inhibits the church's growth. He proceeds by investigating churches that have made a turn-around what they did.

The answer is become more market oriented: people oriented rather than God oriented. As Paul addresses in Galatians 1:6-10, the Apostle was not marketing oriented, no matter what Barna claims. All he ever provides with Biblical support for this is I Cor. 9:19-22. However, his application to the message is not what this text teaches. Good, solid commentators on this, e.g. see Lockwood or Fee, disagree. Paul accomodates his life, not his message.

Gathering and presenting the data of what churches and preachers did to turn-around congregations doesn't show at all that the Lord is behind such growth. Way too much is assumed by Barna and this cases he sights. With all the principles, obtacles and wisdom he cites, unless the truth is preached and taught and believed there is no growth, there is no turn-around.

Why are we so enamored with change? Because many have never and likely will never confess and adore the truth's handed down to them from the believers from the past, who contended for the faith so valliantly against opponents too who sided with the people rather than the Lord.

Do we norm our faith on pragmatism or Scripture? Although I have great respect for marketing, let it stay where it belongs in the world of business and corporate life. Until I am shown clearly from God's Word that marketing is of His blessing, I cannot change, I will stand on the Word and speak out against turn-arounds which ignore its admonitions and warnings as Barna and these practioners do.

"A time will come when people will not listen to sound teachng but, craving to hear something different, will get more and more teachers whom they like." 2 Timothy 4:3

A study of declining churches who made a comeback.  Sep 4, 1999
The Turn-Around church is a study of declining churches who made a comeback from the jaws of death. Barna tell us "This book is a modest attempt to provide a systematic study of why churches fail and how some of these dying ministries were revived and brought back to a glorious state of health." The book examines the cycles of growth and decline that face any ministry and the symptoms of decline. Eleven factors are identified that were present when a dying church was restored to wholeness. The type of pastor who turns-around a declining church is examined. Strategies for growth and ways to avoid a decline are also presented. The book would be a terrific resource for a dying church who wanted to reverse the cycle. Also for a pastor who is considering assuming the role of a turn-around leader. I also thought much of the insight applied to pastors wanting to transition a church before decline sets in. I like reading Barna but didn't consider this one of his better books. Much of the material seemed like a repeat. But it would be invaluable to those considering a turn-around.

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