Behold I Do a New Thing

Book Review

This may not be a new book, but Kirk Hadaway's wisdom makes this an enduring source for congregations wanting to refocus their ministry.

He quotes Peter Drucker who says that "The business of a church is to change people; the business of a corporation is to satisfy them." Too many congregations are social clubs for an aging in-group - or they are entertainment-oriented organizations whose aim is to please their current membership. The key question for Hadaway is simply, "Are people being changed (transformed) in your congregation?"

No one would take a hospital seriously that entertained its patients, talked about wellness, and organized interesting social activities - but did not heal anyone. If people come to congregations for spiritual healing or to be part of a faith community and it does not happen, they will not stay long. Too many mainline churches are designed to decline, "not by driving people away, but by failing to be useful, relevant, or interesting."

A transformational pastor helps the congregation to "reduce, simplify, reframe, and refocus its agenda on key elements that are central to its purpose." This means creating a team of congregational leaders who work together to make this happen.

The two main tasks which must be done well in a healthy congregation, Hadaway insists, are worship and small groups. Worship creates space for God to act in people's lives. Small groups help members "to know one another in non-superficial ways and form the church."

C. Kirk Hadaway, Behold I Do a New Thing. The Pilgrim Press. Cleveland Ohio. 2001. Review by Clair Woodbury.

Congregational News January 2008 Vol. 14 No. 2

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