Scott Wilson, Ready, Set, Grow: 3 Conversations That Will Bring Lasting Growth to Your Church (Springfield, MO: My Healthy Church, 2013). $14.95, 240 pages. Paperback / Kindle / MyHealthyChurch
Some books come too late, alas, to be of personal use. I say that because Ready, Set, Grow by Scott Wilson would’ve changed the way I pastored. During my three-year tenure at a turnaround church in southern California, I led the church to make some changes. Unfortunately, I failed to lead it to make the most important changes—changes to its culture.
In Ready, Set, Grow, Wilson tells the story of how, over three years, he led his staff to make lasting changes to the organizational culture of The Oaks Church. For years, the church had bounced around in attendance, never less than 650, but never more than 900. Finally, Wilson realized that the problem was the leadership capacity of him and his staff. At the point in time, they were capable of leading only a 650-member church. If they wanted the church to grow, they needed to grow themselves.
Over a three-year-period, Wilson walked with his staff through a three-stage development process: modeling (year 1), mentoring (year 2), and multiplying (year 3). First, he writes, leaders must develop their own leadership capacities and become someone worth following. Then, they must lead their direct reports (whether staff or volunteer) through a similar developmental process. Finally, they need to create an environment where their direct reports are developing the people in their domain of ministry.
What is unique about this book is its narrative form. Wilson tells you how he led his church staff through this process—which, at one point, included confronting and firing a key staff member. The transferable principles he offers to readers are drawn from his experience. This doesn’t mean that modeling-mentoring-multiplying is without biblical foundation, of course. Rather, Wilson sees his experience as fleshing out the meaning of passages such as Ephesians 4:12 (“equip [Christ’s] people for works of service”) and 2 Timothy 2:2 (“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others”).
I encourage pastors and board members to read this book. A healthy church doesn’t have to be a huge church, but it does need to be a growing church. Ready, Set, Grow will help you understand how to lead your church/ministry through a process of personal and organizational growth.
Full disclosure: I am a personal friend of Scott Wilson, and I work for the Assemblies of God, which is the parent company of My Healthy Church. I do not, however work for My Healthy Church itself.
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