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Articles by Gary McIntosh



  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary 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 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 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.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary McIntosh — 

    Pastors and church leaders have experienced the frustration of seeing someone make a personal decision for Christ and then quickly disconnect from church. Why is it that people connect with Christ but not a local church? How can local churches be more effective in keeping new believers?

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary McIntosh — 

    Fifty years of research reveals that most pastors serve plateaued or declining churches. Yet, some pastors are able to lead a church to revitalize its ministry. What types of pastors are able to lead turnarounds?

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary McIntosh — 

    How much time should a pastor spend preparing to preach? My research has found that the most effective pastors spend a minimum of fifteen hours each week on sermon preparation.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary McIntosh — 

    What sounds like a simple task at first often turns out to be much more difficult in practice. Such is the situation when attempting to define a multiethnic church. For example, a brief survey of the current literature reveals four words that are commonly used to describe churches where the people come from diverse backgrounds: “multinational,” “multi-racial,” “multi-ethnic,” and “multicultural.”

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary McIntosh — 

    A church is a living organism. It's natural for an organism to grow. And it's natural for a church to grow. When a church is not growing it is quite likely that something is wrong. In the United States a healthy church will see between 5 - 12% growth in worship attendance each year.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary McIntosh — 

    Church leaders occasionally talk about the Rule of Four. Here is how it works. If you know 50 people, and each of them knows 50 more people, you have 2,500 friends of friends. If each of them knows 50 more people, you have 125,000 friends of friends of friends. And, if each of them knows 50 others, you have more than six million friends of friends of friends of friends.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Gary McIntosh — 

    I spoke to a gathering of pastors this last month on the topic of Healthy Churches. I suggested to the pastors that there are four, perhaps five, types of churches in a health paradigm. First, there are Hospice Churches. These churches are extremely ill, having declined in worship attendance for a decade or longer, and most likely will close. God can, of course, perform a miracle and restore hospice churches to health, but this is rare.