• In our previous educational nugget we
explored a model called the “Declining
• In this one, the second of three, we
contrast such model with another one,
called the “Thriving Church”.
• As in the previous one, we shall refer to
the contributions made by Thomas G.
Bandy, an expert on Church growth and
• In particular, we will refer to the ideas
that Bandy presents in Kicking Habits:
Welcome Relief for Addicted Churches
(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997).
6. The Thriving Church
•As expected, Bandy proposes
another model, called "the
•Such congregations value the
mission of the Church above all
• Thriving Congregations described in
this book do not have to be big. They
may be petite or small. They may be
any number of sizes, and this
characteristic is often inﬂuenced by
the demographic realities of the
8. Best Model
• The Thriving Church system is
best served by an organization
that encourages individual
initiative, self-discovery, and
• A “Thriving Church,” no matter
what size, is doing four things.
1.They are increasing the participation
of the public in Church life.
2. They are deepening the spirituality of
adults, both within the Church, and
beyond in the community.
3. They are multiplying the
opportunities for discipleship.
Institutional mission agendas are
4. They are maximizing the impact of
the gospel on the world.
11. Also Five Stages
• These congregations also
understand that the faith
development process goes
through ﬁve stages, detailed in
the following slides.
12. 1. Mission
• Each congregation should ﬁnd
what their purpose or speciﬁc
mission in the community they
wish to serve is.
• This mission should be stated
brieﬂy, so that it can be written on
a poster or a banner.
•The thriving congregation does not
pressure visitors to become members of
•By contrast, it stresses that not everyone
can be a member. So it offers
discipleship classes for new believers
and for people who want to move from
• The Thriving Church
emphasizes that every
believer should seek to reach
maturity in faith through the
exercise of spiritual
• For this reason, it offers several
opportunities for faith growth
and development, helping people
to discern the gifts and abilities
that God has given them.
• Therefore, the Thriving Church will
offer other options for nurturing faith:
large groups for women and men,
weekend retreats, traditional Bible
study groups, and Sunday school
17. Why so Many Options?
• Their commitment to engaging the
full diversity of public yearning
meant that they needed to devise a
wide range of potential “entry” point
and “pathways,” through which the
public could navigate their experience
of Church life with ease.
•This type of congregation offers a
wide range of opportunities for
worship, study, and service.
•Thus offers worship services
aimed at various ”audiences" you
want to reach, from non-believers
to mature believers.
• For example, the Thriving Church
cultivates different styles of
worship, offering traditional,
contemporary, and even
experimental worship services.
•The Thriving Church believes in
the Royal Priesthood of every
•It understands that every believer
is responsible for discerning the
"ministry" to which God has called
him or her.
• The congregational leadership is
responsible for facilitating the
implementation of these ministries,
empowering every the believer to do
an excellent job.
• In this sense, the sign of spiritual
maturity is that the believer is "sent”.
23. The Pastoral Figure
• In this system the minister has an
• The pastor is seen mainly a teacher or
• Of course, the pastor must see him or
herself as a teacher or spiritual
24. Visionary Leadership
• The authentic call of Christ from
the experience of the earliest
Church would be for
congregational leaders to be
visionaries, trainers, and
25. The Visionary Pastor
• The pastoral leader, once called “the
minister,” is a visionary and not an
• The pastoral leader, once called ‘’the
Teaching Elder,’’ is a trainer and not an
educator. They are “coaches”,
“midwives,” & “mentors.”
26. Pastor as Motivator
• They always relate to people by asking this
question: What are the God-given spiritual gifts
that Jesus Christ is calling you to exercise in a
concrete way, and how can I equip you to discern
and do that ministry with excellence?
• The pastoral leader, once called the
“Supervisor,” “Overseer,” or “Bishop,” is a
motivator, not a coordinator. They are
27. The Ministry Team
• The ministry team provides
pastoral care to the faithful, while
teaching how to grow in faith and
how to be an active agent in
carrying out the mission of the
28. Mission & Leadership
• Remember that in the Thriving
Church all the congregation shares in
fulﬁlling the Christian mission and in
cultivating community relations.
• Every member of the congregation
must see him or herself as an integral
part of the Church’s ministry team.
29. A New Administrative Model
• An interesting note is that Bandy minimizes
the role of governing bodies in the growing
• Bandy advocates small, delegating authority
and economic resources for working groups
to carry out their work.
• The virtue of this model is that streamlines
administrative work of the Church.
• Two features of this organizational
model are fundamental and fulﬁlling the
goals of the system.
• Streamlined administration by the trusted,
gifted few. Their purpose is not to get
permission for work, but to enable the
work to be done with excellence.
• Decentralized control and multiplying, self-
guided mission units. Responsibly for the
design and implementation of ministry is
given to groups (large and small), and even
given to individuals as they discern their
gifts and hear their callings.
• The management model is proscriptive
rather than prescriptive.
32. Management or Ministry
• The point is that spiritual
maturity does not lead the
management, but to ministry.
• It does not lead to bureaucracy,
but to some form of activism.
33. In Summary
• In other words, the human
resources team “grows ministers,”
the pastoral leadership team
“trains ministers,” and the
administrative team “deploys