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Sobre l'autor

Aubrey Malphurs (PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary) is senior professor of leadership and pastoral ministry at Dallas Theological Seminary and Founder of the Malphurs Group. Has also pastured three different churches in the United States and abroad. As a professor and consultant, his passion is to mostra'n més serve, equip, train, and coach those God has put in leadership over His church and other Christian organization and businesses. mostra'n menys

Inclou aquests noms: Malphurs Aubrey, Aubrey M. Malphurs

Crèdit de la imatge: Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group, copyright © 2008. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published(see © info.)

Obres de Aubrey Malphurs


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Useful tool for making your ceremonies more modern, and relevant to those you are ministering to. In addition to weddings and funerals, covers the Eucharist (Lord's Table), family or child dedications, Baptism, ordinations and installations and others. All from a Protestant (Baptist, Methodist, Non-Denominational) flavor. Useful with some tweaking for most faiths and those wanting ceremonies without religious overtones. A great tool to use with this book is "The Rituals Resource Book: Alternative Weddings, Funerals, Holidays and Other Rites of Passage" by Susan M. Mumm as well as "The Rites I and Rites II of the Catholic Church". I also find useful "The Book of Common Prayer: and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church (Episcopal)".

If you find yourself put off by any of these titles, you're missing the point. I'm not talking about cherry picking your God. I'm talking about devising a ritual that truly reflects your relationship and your choice of "oath" with your God, and not just going through the motions.

Would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this.
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SurvivorsEdge | Mar 1, 2021 |
It's a good book if you're looking to become an effective Christian leader but it's dry and for a higher level of reading. Just not my taste but it was for a class so...
StilesIsMyBatman | May 2, 2019 |
Before reading this book, I recommend Jack Henry's Basic Budgeting for Churches. In conjunction with this book, I recommend The Debt-Free Church by Berg and Burgess for another perspective on whether your church really needs to borrow to build and grow and the costs and caveats of borrowing.

I'm reviewing this book as a Southern Baptist serving as chairman of the finance committee of a small, rural church, but also having been a member of large Southern Baptist churches in multiple states and witnessing their building programs up close. The authors are Southern Baptist pastors (Malphurs is now a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary), one of which (Stroope) has seen his church grow from fewer than 100 to a megachurch, so I relate to their background. They are from an elder-led but congregational model, which they advocate in a chapter on polity.

There is good and bad in this book. On the one hand, it's a useful book for pastors who know little about finance and find themselves having to oversee a budget process properly. On the other hand, David Platt probably wrote Radical after reading it-- what the authors espouse about how churches should use their finances and take on debt to build larger buildings for God's glory is American evangelicalism (and Southern Baptist culture, especially in Texas) at its most disturbing. If you feel uncomfortable giving an invitation at the end of a worship service because you fear emotionally manipulating people into "making decisions for Christ" then you will find the last 1/4 of the book on capital campaigns and coaxing large donations from your congregation, including new members, quite disturbing.

The authors write that people give when they see a church is "obviously blessed by God and growing spiritually and numerically." However, Southern Baptists are inconsistent in their praise and criticism of growing congregations. On the one hand we say certain churches are "obviously blessed by God" because of their growth and numbers, while criticizing the megachurches of others whose doctrine we disagree with, saying they are not obviously blessed by God despite their growth, numbers, and purported changed lives. Stroope's church is in Dallas-Ft. Worth, where there are other nearby megachurches that no Southern Baptist would say is blessed by God despite having grown larger and wealthier than Stroope's (in fairness, it appears the church has now adopted a multi-site model, something that isn't covered in the book). As an economist who happens to be a Christian that also teaches courses related to management, I believe growth in numbers and financial status has more to do with a church's organization, leadership, and even randomness unrelated to either (if Bill Gates visits your church, suddenly your receipts increase) than with something that we can point to as obviously "God's hand." I've seen large Southern Baptist churches considered to have a visible blessing of God suddenly split and become shadows of their former selves, despite the same godly leadership at the helm. I've seen small churches of many denominations that do a great job of discipling and giving, while staying small (and using resources to plant churches elsewhere). The authors claim they've never known a church that regretted purchasing land, no matter the difficulties-- I could introduce them to a few. I wonder if they have changed their views post-financial crisis.

The good:
The authors begin by leading the pastor/leader to several Scripture passages to study for themselves, directing them to develop their own theology of stewardship. The pastor has a responsibility to develop a theology of giving and communicate both informally and formally through direct teaching. The church's view on stewardship should be a critical part of new members' classes-- and churches should have those. They encourage accountability in the life of the steward an essential component of small group activity. The authors provide their own theology of stewardship in Appendix A (hint: 10% tithing is not binding). They advocate being positive, focusing on articulating the future and vision of the church and not making announcements when the church is running over budget or is underfunded.

There are basic chapters explaining the basics of banking, how to establish a strategic budget (not just a standard budget), best practices for collecting money and providing accountability, the basics of compensating pastor/staff, and more. They give some advice on how a church should allocate its spending (50% personnel, 20% facilities, 20% programming, 10% missions), and their ratios appear to match what a survey published by Christianity Today in 2014 revealed about U.S. churches.

The authors also lay out many things needed for consideration for acquiring new land and buildings. I picked up a few ideas and suggestions that I found helpful for our church and my role in developing the church's budget process.

The bad:
After Chapter 1, biblical references are put aside. There may be biblical wisdom in several of the authors' suggestions, but they neglect mentioning them. Some chapters read like any modern book on how to communicate effectively, sell a product, and "seal the deal."

Pastors are encouraged to develop donors and "giving champions" as part of the overall process of discipleship. Encouraging pastors to pour into their leaders and congregants individually is a good thing, but motivations other than deepening the member's giving are treated casually in the book. While maintaining that a pastor should not have access to detailed financial information, the authors write in multiple places that he should be aware of who "isn't giving enough" or "isn't giving what he could." The authors do no confront non-givers personally (contrast this with Mark Dever's practice of having annual sit-downs with all members and including giving in the conversation). But from the pulpit they advocate telling the church what percentage of members are giving "less than a poverty-level tithe," in order to shame-- a "kick in the pants" in their words. The pastor also needs to know who is giving more than $5,000 annually so they can be especially recruited to donate toward the capital campaigns the book spends the last chapters focusing on.

The authors repeatedly link spiritual maturity to giving. The encourage devoting funds to church activities that will have the highest return on investment-- that which will impress people to give the most, like the worship service. Church planters are advised not to be silly and think they'll never need to build a building or can just rent a facility-- get one as soon as possible.

The most disturbing aspect of the book is that the authors dismiss any caveats in regards to debt and mortagages. The Debt-Free Church features stories of dozens of churches who took out affordable mortgages with strategic visions and perfect intentions only to see it contribute to the ruin of the church. Just because there are no biblical prohibitions against debt does not make it advisable, and the authors clearly advise taking on debt perpetually. I have seen well-meaning, godly pastors encourage churches to step out on faith and borrow money because they were "at capacity," only to see the congregation dwindle when the financial belt was later tightened.

Churches that take on debt face increased pressure to pay off the debt, hence the last 1/4 of the book deals with capital campaigns-- how to raise 100-200% of your church's annual budget for a special project over the course of three years. They recommend hiring an outside consultant who can help with the atmosphere and marketing. Forming committees complete with a "hospitality director" who makes sure certain members homes are pristine for pitching the vision of the project to "giving champions" in a more intimate setting. They write of the "indescribable dynamic" of the pastor impressing on a small group of people how important they are to fulfilling the vision of the church along with high-quality DVDs and tasty hors d'oeuvres. How to set a baseline, control, and optimistic amount of money and encourage the congregation to reach the optimistic-- you're only "obviously" blessed if you raise above and beyond what's needed, I suppose. There are details in how to make a special "Commitment Sunday," when everyone is both mailed and handed an offering envelope-- and then mailed another if they don't pledge-- and exhorted in an emotional service by testimony of what it will mean if the church builds the new building...remember the children! Don't forget to target new members and encourage them to get the blessing from giving to this campaign before it's too late. There is even a list of slogans you can choose from; you too can take Scripture out of context and fit it into your capital campaign's marketing.

Because of the caveats, I can only give this book 3 stars. Hopefully in developing your theology of giving you don't neglect theology of other areas, including lifestyle and personal financial choices, and the importance of biblical theology. The type of large building-driven churches described in the book are the antithesis of Radical. The authors' perspectives are clearly American, there is no consideration to cross-cultural ministry or contextualization (unfortunately, I think their methods have been copied by too many in Eastern Europe). Are they really turning out world-changing Christians or rather just larger enclaves of like-minded suburbanites? You be the judge.
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justindtapp | Jun 3, 2015 |

Advanced Strategic Planning: A 21st-Century Model for Church and Ministry Leaders
This is the second book of Malphurs that I have read (the first was Money Matters in Church [my review], co-authored with his pastor (Stroope). While he includes Scripture references in much of what he writes, Malphurs is a pragmatist overall, those in the Reformed tradition who caution churches on such things will find much to dislike in this book. (If you think Bill Hybels is pragmatic, Malphurs probably takes it a step too far for you). Some of the elements that made me uncomfortable in Money Matters, mainly regarding capital campaigns and a flippant approach to church debt, made its way to this book and there were other things I took issue with as well. Malphurs is weak on a biblical approach to polity, opting for efficiency rather than biblical precedent. For example, in his chapter explaining and critiquing various forms of church polity in doing revitalization he rejects elder rule in favor of a board who oversee the pastor/elders (think Trustees if you're in a traditional Southern Baptist context) and does not see how elder-led churches can be compatible with congregationalism. That is odd given his background and the range of churches with whom his consultancy has worked. Capitol Hill Baptist is an elder-led Southern Baptist church that is still quite congregational in its membership and budgeting decisions, for example. How can you biblically justify a board of governors that is ultimately responsible for the spiritual health of the church, checking its consistency with doctrine, and holding pastor/staff accountable but they themselves not be the ones who teach and shepherd--ie: hold the office of elder/overseer?

I can just say I've seen mixed results with trustee-accountable churches, and I think the current thinking in churches that care deeply about biblically-based polity is that such a system, while perhaps effective in certain contexts, is not biblical; I think Malphurs is on the wrong path here. Revitalization should include an effort to become more biblical in issues of membership and church discipline, which Malphurs does not address. (I'm open to corrections if I've erred here.)

However, the first half of the book I really liked as an introduction to strategic planning for churches who are looking to revitalize.

"Strategic planning is the fourfold process that a point leader, such as a pastor, works through regularly with a team of leaders to envision or reenvision and revitalize his church by developing a biblical mission and a compelling vision, discovering its core values, and crafting a strategy that implements a unique, authentic church model" (32).

"The strategy accomplishes the church’s mission and vision and includes five key elements or steps: reaching out to the community, making mature disciples, building a ministry team (congregation, staff, and possibly a board), assessing the ministry’s setting (location and facilities), and raising the necessary finances to carry out the mission and vision" (35).

Malphurs pulls no punches, if churches should be growing then we need to critique ourselves and ask tough questions. It's one thing to plateau or decline in heavy persecution, another to decline because your church no longer serves your community or devotes its resources to programs that don't match up with the vision and mission of the church. If the church has no mission or vision, where can it go? It does no good to rev your engine without a destination-- Malphurs refers to pastors and leaders in the church in the revitalization process as "navigators," an analogy he uses throughout the text. Appendix A is a good questionnaire to gauge both the pastor's and the church's readiness for change-- don't invest in the process unless it has some probability of becoming reality. If a pastor isn't willing to commit 5-10 years to see the effort through, isn't a perpetual optimist, does not handle conflict resolution well, and cannot consistently articulate the vision of the church then he shouldn't even start down the road. Malphurs minces few words in telling leaders to step aside and find someone else to revitalize their church, or to close the church so the flock can go elsewhere.

"Survey results show that 85 percent of churches which have grown off the plateau have reevaluated their programs and priorities during the past five years, as compared to 59 percent of churches which have remained on the plateau. Similarly, 40 percent of ‘breakout churches’ have developed a long-range plan, as compared to only 18 percent of continued plateau churches...many if not most churches that are making a difference for the Savior are led by or at least staffed with strategic thinkers who, if they don’t have a plan in hand (articulated on paper), have one in their heads” (p. 29).

"Gary McIntosh of the American Society for Church Growth estimates that only 20 percent of America’s 367,000 congregations actively pursue strategic planning" (p. 38)

Once you meet the initial hurdles and commit to the process, Malphurs' book is a step-by-step guide through the process. How to assemble the planners, hold your strategy meetings, involve the larger body in execution, and evaluate yourself in the fulfilment of the vision. I basically sum up the meat of it like this:

What is our mission (usually just Matthew 28:19-20)?
What is the pastor's/elders' vision (what does the church ideally look like in 5 years?)
What are our core values? (member care? prayer? community service?, etc.)
Do our current ministries & programs line up with our values and vision?
What needs to change, be removed, or started in order to better match our values and vision in the fulfilment of the mission? (this is the strategy)

I think it's a useful exercise for the stakeholders to be on the same page about what the values and vision are, so they can understand how to build a strategy to live up to those things. If you have multiple people proposing multiple new programs they each feel passionately about then these ideas need to be prioritized according to the values the congregation feels most strongly about. You can also see how balanced your programs are. If everyone feels passionately about helping the poor but there is no action with benevolence, then this doesn't match up and adjustment should be made.

This is where I see a benefit of 9Marks-- a pastor could lay those out as a list of values. Then, for example, you could state a vision that every church member be in a small group by 2020 because those relationships are essential to a healthy and biblical view of church membership, which we value. Then the strategy answers the question: How do we encourage small groups to form? (quarterly leadership training, volunteer sign-up, etc?) If a member is not in agreement the basic values, he may need to do some soul-searching. None of the crucial issues like church discipline make their way to Malphurs' prescriptions for churches in this book.

Both this text and from pastors I've spoken with, often times long-range planning devolves down to an unhealthy focus on building a new building. While Malphurs devotes the last portion of the book to the "setting" of the church, including its building and grounds-- and how to run a capital campaign to finance construction-- he warns readers up front that a plan to build a building without the greater focus on mission, vision, and strategy to fulfill the mission will likely end in an unused building that reminds members of a previous pastor who is no longer there. (This is partly why I think his later approach to debt is highly dangerous.)

I'm writing this review from the standpoint of a finance committee chairperson in a small-church context. While I wholeheartedly agree with Malphurs that pastors need to have some basic education in finance, often missing from seminary, I disagree that the pastor needs to know who is giving what amounts, cultivate "giving champions," manipulate people emotionally (see my review of Money Matters), and get Monday-morning flash reports on per-capita giving from the day before. Delegation is key to any leadership position, and I see micromanaging finance as akin to waiting tables -- let someone better equipped do that, and make sure they give you the important info. Pastors are too tempted to gauge growth purely by numbers and finance. Some of the worst churches in the world are the largest and wealthiest, and we can't have it both ways.

I can say I highlighted more passage in this book more than most, there is much that's helpful. If you're in the 20% of churches that want to do strategic planning, I'd recommend not hiring an expensive consultant-- buy this book instead and work through it with a group. Beware it's an investment requiring teamwork and positivity. 3 stars out of 5.
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justindtapp | Jun 3, 2015 |

Potser també t'agrada


½ 3.5

Gràfics i taules