Today the concept of ‘transformation’ (aka ‘revitalization’) is the buzzword of many congregations and nearly every denomination. Books, seminars and workshops, workbooks, tapes, programs, coaches, and consultants glut the market. Yet, churches are still declining and closing and, in the popular jargon of many, ‘wandering around in survival mode.’ While there is much being written and offered, not much is being said about why some churches are unable to make the transformational transition . . . even though they may be doing a lot of the ‘right’ things. Shooting Ourselves in the Foot: How to Prevent Congregational Suicide moves beyond the prescriptions found in most of
the church growth movement and current literature to consider ten congregational components necessary to move out of the wilderness of survival and onto the journey of a transformation that can take root and grow.
Shooting Ourselves in the Foot flows from the conviction that many of our congregations are in ‘survival mode.’ Starting with that premise, I have discovered a number of ‘Wilderness Survival Tips’ that easily apply to such congregations and have used the Tips to highlight the plight (flight?) of such churches. In addition, the book is grounded in the conviction that we are called to fulfill The Four Greats: the Great
Invitation, the two Great Commandments, and the Great Commission. Though more an undercurrent than an overt focus, the chapters unfold out of the Greats: Tip 1 correlates with the command to love God, Tips 2-4 are grounded in the command to love others,
and Tips 5-10 help congregations live into the Great Commission and Great Invitation.
The book uses a conversational style and draws upon research, real-life examples, and stories to offer a countdown of challenges survival-mode churches face, as well as ideas for addressing and overcoming them. Shooting Ourselves has been written for pastors and congregational leaders, although many persons-in-the-pew will no doubt recognize and relate to the stories and dilemma – and hope – therein shared.