Articles by Gary L. McIntosh



  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    Recent research among church planters, as well as turnaround pastors, has revealed that having a coach is a predictor of success. This should not...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    A generation of baby-boomer pastors are facing retirement age. Spanning an eighteen year gap from 54- to 72-years-old, approximately 10,000 boomers...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    A while ago, I received an email from Ed Stetzer asking if I knew when spiritual gifts inventories first became prevalent. I gave him a quick reflection based on what I remembered at that time, but his question created a curiosity that sent me on a longer investigation. While this is certainly not the final word on the question, it may serve as a beginning point for other researchers. Here is what I have discovered ...

  • Talbot Magazine

    Shelf Life

    Recent publications from our very own Talbot Faculty.

    Gary L. McIntosh, Ryan Peterson, Scott B. Rae, Kenneth C. Way — 

    Growing God’s Church: How People Are Actually Coming to Faith Today; Introducing Christian Ethics: A Short Guide to Making Moral Choices; The Imago Dei as Human Identity: A Theological Interpretation; Judges and Ruth, Teach the Text Commentary Series

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    A number of years ago, professor Robert Munger of Fuller Theological Seminary conducted a survey to determine the satisfaction of board members. One of the questions he asked was, “Since serving on a church board, do you feel your spiritual life has improved or declined?” The answer? Eighty percent of board members said their spiritual life had declined while serving on a church board. How would you answer that question? Unfortunately, for many board members, the answer is not positive ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    The new year is always a time of reflection. Many people make resolutions to lose weight, exercise, continue education, and a host of other plans. Whether or not you make resolutions, the new year is a good time to reflect on your life and ministry ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    One might think that church leaders would naturally agree on the priority of mission. However, this is not the case. Debate continues today between those who say the priority of mission is to do well in whatever form it takes, while others contend that our priority is to preach the gospel of salvation. Building on the salvation motif found in the Gospel of Luke, this article suggests that the priority of the church is to preach the gospel of salvation.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    Several years ago Charles Arn and I surveyed pastors and asked them to identify the most frustrating part of their job. Can you guess the most frequent response? “Getting laypeople to help with the work and ministry of the church” ... One of the major reasons people are reluctant to serve in and through a church is the feeling that they’ll be stuck in the position for ever, or at least a very long time ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    It was twenty-five years before church growth researcher Win Arn, building on the initial discoveries of Donald McGavran, conducted one of the largest studies of how people come to faith in Christ and to the church in the United States and Canada. Arn’s Institute for American Church Growth surveyed over 17,000 persons in 1980 asking, “What or who was responsible for your coming to Christ and to your church?” Arn published his findings in The Master’s Plan for Making Disciples, and church leaders were astounded ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    People have studied leaders for centuries. To study leaders is to analyze the characteristics of individual people who demonstrate the ability to gather a group of followers. However, the study of leadership is a relatively new discipline dating from about the year 1900. To study leadership is to inspect the interactions a leader has with his or her followers. Both areas of study require one to define a leader. So just what is a leader? ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    New churches are usually much more effective at winning new people to faith in Christ than older churches. For many reasons, as a church grows older, it develops barriers that keep it from making new disciples. The list of evangelistic barriers is long and complex, but the following are a few insights as to why churches become less effective at evangelism. Once a church recognizes some of the barriers, it can then take action to eliminate them ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    How can we finish well? Hebrews 13:7-8 gives us the primary clue. “Remember your leaders,” the writer commands, “those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (ESV). The key to finishing well is obvious from this passage of scripture: we learn how to finish well by observing others and imitating their faith.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    While watching a recent car race on television, I was impressed by the new technology that racing teams are using to improve performance. Advanced computer technology now allows crew chiefs to monitor nearly every aspect—fuel usage, engine pressure, wheel alignment, and numerous other aspects—that affect the performance of the car. In fact it’s possible to know the exact set up of an automobile so precisely that another car can be set up just like it. With all of the technology, one might think that race cars would be set up so much alike that very little difference would be observed on race day. But, some cars continue to do better at winning than others.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    You may have heard it said that email is dead. But, don’t believe it. According to a report in Harvard Business Review (June 2013), based on a survey of 2,600 workers in the USA, UK, and South Africa, people continue to spend four hours of every working day dealing with e-mail. The reason? They like it, trust it, and find it an effective collaboration tool.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    A recent check on Amazon.com discovered that over 25,000 books are listed under the category of Church Growth. This is an amazing number of books given the fact that the North American Church Growth Movement is only forty-one years old. With such a large number of books written on the topic of church growth, it is only natural to ask if there is any consensus on what factors are found in growing churches in North America. What are those factors? I thought you’d never ask!

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    One of the little known facts of church growth is that pastors can stay too long. Long pastoral tenure can actually harm the growth of a church. Generally, the first twenty years of a pastor’s tenure are quite healthy, but it is very rare for a pastor to lead a church through a third decade with vitality and growth.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    Peter Drucker wrote that in our knowledge-based society, information is the key resource and building block for every type of organization. Information is the new money, currency upon which organizations rise or fall. How may a local church respond to the new currency of information in today's world?

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    Good doctrine, good fellowship, good worship, and good prayer. Do they guarantee the growth of a church? Not necessarily. Sometimes churches do not do well, even though they have the basic ingredients. So, what's the problem? For some, it's a lack of communication to those in and outside the church.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    You don't have a second chance for a good first impression. When it comes to first-time guests at your church, that statement is especially true. And it's that first impression guests leave with that determines whether they will be back. So, what is it that goes into a good first impression? Or, for that matter, a bad one?

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    While reaching the whole world with the gospel is the mission of the Christian faith, lifegiving churches recognize that the world is made up of many different audiences. Since different groups of people have quite different cultures, needs, and methods of communication, a church that intentionally tries to reach a specific group with the message of Christ, will normally be much more effective than one that tries to reach everyone with a general attempt. Every church should have a sign that says, "Everyone Welcome," but a deliberate strategy must be in place or they will only see accidental growth.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    Jesus often created controversy, particularly when he associated with sinners. He made it a practice of eating in the company of acknowledged sinners, a practice that was in direct contrast to that of the Pharisees. Why did He practice such an unusual form of hospitality for his day?

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    Churches tend to approach culture from one of three perspectives: Isolation, Domination, or Incarnation. Isolation takes place when a church is so far removed from culture that it can no longer communicate the Good News in effective ways. If isolation takes place in a complete way, it usually leads to a church that totally dies out. However, most cases of isolation simply result in a church that has limited impact on people and society.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    It is not uncommon for pastors to be distressed over a discussion that suggests worship attendance is the key reflector of church health (see my post of April 17, 2012). They may respond with something like: “We are not an old-fashioned 'attractional' church, and don't define success on how many people come to us. We are a 'missional' church, and define our success on how many people we go to.”

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    Have you taken the Wal-Mart test? If not, it is time to do so. One day this week drive to the Wal-Marts in a twenty-mile radius of your church, and see who is shopping there. If you do not have a Wal-Mart in your community, drive to a local mall and check out the people walking around inside. What you find may surprise you. The United States is dramatically more diverse than it was only ten years ago, a fact often missed by church leaders.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary L. McIntosh — 

    One of the Church Growth Movements contributions to our understanding of evangelism is the discovery of the principle of receptivity. This principle basically states that people vary in being open and closed to the gospel message. Thus, people who are open to the gospel message today may not be tomorrow. Those who are closed to the gospel message today may be open tomorrow.