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Becoming a Blessed Church


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Stanley Ott Preface to the Second Edition Part I. Becoming a Blessed Church 1.What Is a Blessed Church? 2.Setting a Spiritual Foundation Part II. Forming a Church of Purpose, Presence, and Power 3.Grounded in God's Purpose 4.Alive to God's Presence 5.Open to God's Power Part III. Leading a Church to Blessedness 6.Leading a Church to Listen 7.Leading a Church to Deepen 8.Leading a Church through Transformation Appendices A.Assessing the Church's Spiritual Openness B.Calvin Presbyterian Church, Session Agenda C.Discerning God's Purpose for the Church D.Discerning Direction for a Particular Issue E.A Prayerful Process for Discerning Committee Budgets F.All-Committee Budgeting Process G.Guiding Members to Give H.Sample Stewardship Letters and Campaign Circular I.A Guide to Healing Prayer J.Guidelines for Nominating Committee Members A Process for Nominating Committee Meetings K.Becoming an Elder at Calvin Presbyterian Church L.A Guide to Holding Spiritually Grounded Meetings M.Four Principles of Discernment N.A Guide to Creating a Prayer Group Prayer Group Covenant O.Suggestions for Small Group Readings

About the Author

N. Graham Standish is pastor of Calvin Presbyterian Church in Zelienople, Pennsylvania. Calvin Church has almost tripled in size under his leadership and has garnered national attention in several studies, including one by Diana Butler Bass who featured the church in her groundbreaking book Christianity for the Rest of Us. Standish is also coordinating pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Butler, Pennsylvania, and teaches at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Tyndale Theological Seminary.


I am deeply grateful to Graham Standish for his thoughtful, practical, and inspiring masterpiece, Becoming a Blessed Church. Now, if anyone asks me to recommend one book that a church's leaders could read together to help them envision a better, more vibrant future, this is where I'll point them. He presents a vision that is accessible to and legitimate for churches across the spectrum because it gets beyond old polarities-evangelical, mainline, traditional, contemporary, etc.-and leads to a better, richer, more fruitful path. -- Brian McLaren, speaker, pastor, and author of The Road We Make by Walking
As a pastor I learned much from Standish's wisdom in this book. As a professor I see to it my students learn from him as well. And now, with this second edition, I'm even more eager to commend the book. The three new chapters covering leadership and discernment address exactly the questions churches need to face if they want to flourish in spiritually vital ministry but don't know how. If they read this book, they will. -- L. Roger Owens, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Becoming a Blessed Church is about becoming a church that knows and experiences the presence, the power, and the love of God. Graham Standish writes out of years of experience as a congregational minister who has led his congregation into that reality. The book is easy to read and understand. It is filled with numerous illustrations drawn from congregational life that bring theoretical concepts to life. If your congregation is looking for help in hearing God and being guided by Him in your life together, this is the book for you. -- David Sherbino, professor of pastoral ministries and spiritual formation, Tyndale Seminary, Toronto, Canada
Becoming a Blessed Church is not a how-to book. It is a why book. At the heart of every endeavor, the local church needs to prayerfully discern the why. Dr. Standish's book provides a framework for helping local churches begin the hard and rewarding work of discerning the why. As the people of God, why are we doing what we do? Discerning the why invigorates a congregation as it faithfully lives out its mission in the world as God's community in Christ led by His Spirit. -- Alfred Fletcher, executive minister, American Baptist Churches of Maine
This is one of the books I highly recommend to both clergy and laity who are interested in the transformation and renewal of our churches today. I believe that a renewal of our churches must be more than implementing new programs or new initiatives. It should be a movement to restore a biblical and authentic church. Becoming a Blessed Church is the book that helps us to think about the nature of an authentic church. In this revised edition, Graham Standish provides us more guidance in how the church discerns God's will in its mission and ministry. There is great wisdom and guidance not only in the main body of this book, but also in its appendix. I am confident that this revised edition will be a great blessing to many churches and their leaders. -- Young Jin Cho, Bishop, Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
This book is a must-read for any church leader interested in church renewal. Graham Standish offers a biblical way into intentional ministry, which leads to authentic evangelism and life-changing mission. There are no shortcuts for reaching people and being the church in the community. Becoming a Blessed Church provides a thoughtful way forward into effective ministry through prayerful discernment, spiritual practices, and discipleship. -- Ray G. Jones III, Presbyterian Mission Agency
This book is not for everyone. It is not for those who are comfortable with business-as-usual church, for those who think that programs and theories will fix declining congregations. Becoming a Blessed Church is for those Christians who idealistically believe that the Trinitarian God has something to do with our lives- those who seek the Creator's purposes, who hunger for Jesus's presence, and who know that the Spirit's power alone can save and heal the world. In these pages, Graham Standish points the way of hope, opening the possibility that a church can be blessed and offer blessing through deceptively simple acts of faith and trust that can nurture wise, authentic, discerning, and loving spiritual communities. -- Diana Butler Bass, author of Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution

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