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Gary McIntosh Publishes New Book on Church Growth

January 24, 2018

Talbot School of Theology professor Gary McIntosh recently published a new book on church growth — Building the Body: 12 Characteristics of a Fit Church. After engaging with numerous churches across the nation, McIntosh saw that the current conversations about being a healthy church were misguided. While many churches focus on simply being healthy, McIntosh challenges church leaders to strive for “fitness.”

For example, though an individual might be physically healthy, it does not necessarily equate to them being fit, according to McIntosh. In the same way, churches can appear healthy — with no obvious issues, maintain a healthy size — and yet not exhibit being fit.

"A focus on church health is good, but it's not the whole story,” said McIntosh. “I feel churches need to go beyond a focus on health to a focus on fitness.”

Fit churches make disciples, impact the communities in which they serve, engage the culture and start daughter churches, according to McIntosh. Building the Body offers pastors and church leaders twelve characteristics of fit churches and demonstrates how they can move their congregation through five levels of fitness, from a beginner level to an elite level. Comparison charts are also included at the end of each chapter so readers can clearly see where their church currently falls and develop strategic goals for future growth.

"I hope that pastors and other church leaders will read and apply the ideas and insights found in the twelve characteristics of a fit church,” said McIntosh. “If they do, I'm confident many churches will find they are more effective in making disciples.”

As a church growth expert, McIntosh publishes Growth Points, a monthly publication read by more than 7,000 church leaders. He is a nationally and internationally known professor of Christian ministry and leadership and is a frequent speaker and seminar leader on numerous subjects related to church life and ministry. He has published more than 300 articles and reviews in Christian magazines and theological journals and is the author of 22 books including One Size Doesn't Fit All; One Church, Four Generations; Staff Your Church for Growth; Biblical Church Growth, and the award-winning What Every Pastor Should Know: 101 Indispensable Rules of Thumb for Leading Your Church.

Purchase Building the Body: 12 Characteristics of a Fit Church online.

Learn more about Talbot’s Master of Arts in Christian Ministry and Leadership program.

Written by Alisa Ohara, media relations intern. For more information, contact Media Relations, at