Building the Body

12 Characteristics of a Fit Church

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Is your church performing at its highest level?

Just as a physically healthy person might not actually be fit enough to run a 5K, so churches can appear healthy--with no obvious issues, maintaining a healthy size--but not exhibit fitness. A fit church is one that is not satisfied with merely coasting along with no problems. A fit church is actively making disciples, maturing in faith, developing strong leaders, reaching out to the community, and more. Building the Body unveils the twelve characteristics of fit churches and shows pastors and church leaders how to move their church through five levels of fitness, from beginner all the way to elite.


"Building the Body powerfully draws on the biblical imagery of the church while taking the concept of church health to a whole new level. Becoming fit is presented in a way that motivates rather than produces guilt, and the combination of principles and practices apply to churches at all levels of development."--Wayne Schmidt, general superintendent, the Wesleyan Church

"Practical steps to the next level--that's what this book offers. Wherever your church lies along a continuum of twelve factors (e.g., outreach, stewardship, worship, disciple making), McIntosh and Stevenson give concrete strategies for advancing to the next level . . . and then the next level . . . and then the next level."--Donald R. Sunukjian, chair, department of Christian ministry and leadership, Talbot School of Theology

"A practical, informative, doable resource for leaders and churches who want not only to get better but also to get as strong or fit as possible for the good of the kingdom of Jesus Christ."--Jim Dunn, vice president of church relations, Wesleyan Investment Foundation



Gary L. McIntosh is president of the Church Growth Network and professor of Christian ministry and leadership at Talbot School of Theology. He is an internationally known speaker and the author of many books, including Biblical Church Growth, Beyond the First Visit, What Every Pastor Should Know, and Growing God's Church. He lives in California.

Phil Stevenson serves as the district superintendent of the Pacific-Southwest District of the Wesleyan Church. A visiting professor at six universities and seminaries, he has an extensive background in coaching denominational leaders, pastors, and church planters on evangelism and church growth. He is the author of several books and lives in California.


Endorsements

"Building the Body powerfully draws on the biblical imagery of the church while taking the concept of church health to a whole new level. Becoming fit is presented in a way that motivates rather than produces guilt, and the combination of principles and practices applies to churches at all levels of development. A practical resource to read individually or share with a group that will remain a valuable reference long after it is first read."

Wayne Schmidt, general superintendent, the Wesleyan Church

"Have you ever said, 'I can get in shape if I want to'? Do you do anything about it? Building the Body is a practical, informative, doable resource for leaders and churches who want not only to get better but also to get as strong or fit as possible for the good of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. . . . Keep this one handy in your everyday ministry and leadership regimen!"

Jim Dunn, vice president of church relations, Wesleyan Investment Foundation

"Fitness of any kind is a matter of knowing what to do and committing to it. You may be really committed to do something but wind up doing all the wrong things; or you may know a lot but have no will to do it. In Building the Body, using physical fitness as an analogy, Gary and Phil bring will and knowledge into helpful focus. You will be motivated and informed to higher levels of effectiveness in your church. And while physical fitness is a good way to add a few years to your stay on earth, church fitness opens eternity to a lot of other people!"

Kevin Mannoia, chaplain, Azusa Pacific University; president of the International Council for Higher Education; founder and chair, Wesleyan Holiness Connection

"Practical steps to the next level--that's what this book offers. Wherever your church lies along a continuum of twelve factors (e.g., outreach, stewardship, worship, disciple making), McIntosh and Stevenson give concrete strategies for advancing to the next level . . . and then the next level . . . and then the next level."

Donald R. Sunukjian, chair, Department of Christian Ministry and Leadership,Talbot School of Theology

"Your church might be healthy but not fit. Gary McIntosh and Phil Stevenson are two outstanding church leaders who have once again delivered an insightful book that will help pastors and volunteer leaders develop a church this is truly 'fit.' I think the practical genius of the book is found in the specific applications  that are organized into five categories of churches: beginner, novice, intermediate, advanced, and elite. Identify which church you are and dig in!"

Dan Reiland, executive pastor, 12Stone Church

"Building the Body is full of practical, next-step ideas for churches that want to be 'fit' to effectively join Jesus on the mission field and impact their communities. Gary and Phil, pulling from their years of experience working with churches and church leaders, provide tools to help understand your starting point and how to adjust priorities and identify action items to move toward being 'fit' for the mission. In the church consulting world, where so much of the material is theory-based, Building the Body is a practical, hands-on, and helpful book."

Lonnie J. Bullock, executive director, New Church Specialties


The Authors

  1. Gary L. McIntosh

    Gary L. McIntosh

    Gary L. McIntosh (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is president of the Church Growth Network and professor of Christian ministry and leadership at Talbot School of Theology. He is an internationally known speaker and church consultant who has written 25...

    Continue reading about Gary L. McIntosh

  2. Phil Stevenson

    Phil Stevenson

    Phil Stevenson (DMin, Talbot School of Theology) serves as the district superintendent of The Pacific-Southwest District of the Wesleyan Church. A visiting professor at six universities and seminaries, he has an extensive background in coaching denominational...

    Continue reading about Phil Stevenson


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