Item description for Kicking Habits Upgrade Edition: Welcome Relief For Addicted Churches by Thomas G. Bandy...
Overview Highly motivating reading for any congregation which has stagnated or is caught up in a seemingly irreversible decline. Offers 20 shocking truths that thriving congregations have discovered to help overcome self-destructive practices. Serves as a much-needed early warning system
An upgrade to the ground-breaking book that has shown thousands of congregations how to overcome the destructive attitudes and systems that prevent them from focusing on their true mission: making disciples of Jesus Christ.
In this upgraded edition, Bandy continues to explore the meaning of walking with Jesus in the 21st century. Drawing on the stories of exciting new congregations that have arisen within the last few years, he sharpens his portrayal of the thriving church system, demonstrating its essential concern for savvy awareness of the larger culture and fidelity to the core of the gospel.
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Studio: Abingdon Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.02" Width: 6.04" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.82 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2001
Publisher Abingdon Church Supplies
ISBN 0687049342 ISBN13 9780687049349
Availability 0 units.
More About Thomas G. Bandy
Thomas G. Bandy is the author of several books, including Spirited Leadership, Talisman, and Christian OptiMystics.
Thomas G. Bandy currently resides in Guelph, Ontario. Thomas G. Bandy was born in 1950.
Reviews - What do customers think about Kicking Habits Upgrade Edition: Welcome Relief For Addicted Churches?
A book to shake up your thinking Feb 9, 2008
Bandy's book really challenged me to rethink what I do and why I do it. It also offers practical help for how to move to a place of church health.
Where's the "Relief"? The Book Misses the Point Nov 10, 2007
I have spent the last 4+ years researching addictive church family sytems, in addition to studying my own church where I serve as a pastor, and working on a masters degree which is built on family systems theory. So, I can probably say that I'm an expert on the subject. Yet, I was surprised that I hadn't seen this book before, so I ordered it immediately. I thought, maybe I don't need to write my book after all!
I did like Bandy's clever analogy for a declining church, that it is like a baby that "fails to thrive." Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with the book. It's very easy to see that churches can be thriving or declining systems. However, it's also too easy to blame particular symptoms as if they are the problems.
Bandy picks on his particular pet peaves and calls them "addictive," but watch out, because if you disagree, that's because you're stuck in the addictive system. Well, I disagree and it's not because I'm in the addictive system, but rather because I know enough about addictive systems to know that he blames the wrong things.
For example, Bandy blames the addiction to "vision by committee", addiction to strategic planning, committees, accountability through management, acceptable mediocrity (which Bandy also forgets has the flipside of change for the sake of change), addiction to debt freedom, worship as an informational event, expository preaching, unpopular music, burdening the youth with the future of the church, and the attitude that the church should focus on nourishing its own. Any of these CAN be stifling, but they do not necessarily spell an addictive church. We must ask the "Why" question to get at the root.
Also, Bandy seems to believe that seeking consensus in a church goes against the way the Spirit works who may only reveal His will to one person. While he makes a good argument, it fails to meet the Bible standards which suggests that the Spirit reveals itself to more than one person and that we are to "test all things" and move in unity. While Bandy makes a valid observation that organization and consensus CAN stifle the Spirit, his statements need to be balanced out. The flipside is that they can also be used effectively for good. We have to be careful about drawing BROAD conclusions, without looking at the "why" of what he's saying.
According to other family systems experts (see Edwin Friedman and Murray Bowen's research on family systems), addiction impacts a family system through the spread of anxiety like wildfire among people with low self-differentiation. From a Christian perspective, the underlying problem has to do with fear/anxiety versus Faith. Any of the things Bandy mentioned CAN be done anxiously, but they can ALSO be used effectively and non-anxiously (or in Faith). That's why I don't put any stock in Bandy's lists as long as he fails to address the reasons. Unfortunately, Bandy focuses too much on the externals without giving much of his reasoning as to how these changes would be helpful. If he had, then we might get a clearer picture of what he's looking at.
Unfortunately, Bandy violates his own belief that the spirit works differently for each church and that we should avoid prescriptive thinking. Bandy's book provides a "prescriptive" step-by-step one-size-fits-all plan for churches. While he's against linear strategic planning, his book is basically a linear strategic plan. Because of this, I believe Bandy's book MUST be missing the point.
Nevertheless, the 260 pages is not *completely* wasted as he does have some creative suggestions and some new ideas for re-thinking church. He at least outlines an intervention strategy for addictive churches, though I'm not sure what the rationale for how his intervention strategy would be effective in changing an addictive culture...does he realize how difficult it is to change a church culture? Not to mention, an addictive system? I just wish he didn't focus too much on his own pet peeves and the prescriptive details which fail to adequately address the problem of addictive churches.
Finally, while the book claims to be a "welcome relief" there is only 1.5 pages dealing with it, suggesting that the welcome relief is the changing theologies and changing attitudes towards the gospel. Where does God and His Higher Power factor into the strategy? How does non-anxious faith in God, demonstrated in transformational leadership, make any difference?
Relief for Addicted Churches Jul 28, 2006
The book has been a good tool to direct my thinking about the addictions in my churches (2). I knew something was wrong, but did not categorize it like an addiction. I am hopeful that more books of this type will offer help with the systemic problems of dying and declining churches. Thanks for the resource!
A Stream of "ah-HAH's!" Nov 21, 2005
As a lay person, I read this book when the Sr. Minister at my church recommended it, originally "researching" how to stream-line our church - which is bloated with committees (the # of committee member seats is higher than the # of people who actively attend our church). Anyway...
This book "transformed" my view of what a church can or should be. If I were now to "shop" for a new church, I would have a totally different set of criteria. Bandy's view of a "thriving church" is both inspiring and scarey - inspiring because it feels right; scarey because I find it hard to imagine my church being able to be so transformed; and scarey, in that I now, for the first time, am considering looking elsewhere... leaving this "church family".
When Bandy describes traits of a "declining" church, I was hit by "ah-HAH!" after "ah-HAH!". Things that bugged me, drove me crazy, had me thinking of totally different ways of doing stuff - all were confirmed in this book. Whether he is right or wrong, he has struck a big chord with me.
If your church service has a bulletin, plays mostly classical music, and needs more than 15 people to actually run the church (i.e. committees), read this book - if you dare.
Vital for catching a new vision Dec 24, 1999
This book is invaluable for anyone in leadership in the established institutional churches. It made me squirm more than once, but it also gave me the clearest picture of why the mainline churches are in decline I've gotten from any source. Bandy uses a narrative of a young couple who are church shopping to illustrate his points, and it hits very close to home. You'll recognize it all.
The title, incidentally, is a bit too narrow for the topic -- this is a work about change in every system of church life.
Everyone who wonders what the heck has happened to make churches that used to work in the 50s fall into irrelevance and decline should read this book.