One Size Doesn't Fit All

Bringing Out the Best in Any Size Church

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Framed as a discussion between a pastor six months out of seminary and a veteran pastor, this book tackles the issues of how churches grow and how church size determines effective strategy for ministry. The pastors' Saturday morning dialogues reveal ten areas that will help readers understand their own church's psychology, addressing questions such as: 

This is a vital resource for any new pastor, church planter, or lay leader concerned about his or her local church. Each chapter concludes with a Taking It Home segment.


"Nobody knows the organizational structure and social dynamics of the church better than my friend Dr. Gary McIntosh. I highly recommend this insightful book, which will enlighten your understanding of the critical differences that exist between various sized churches and how they function."
--Dr. Neil T. Anderson, president and founder, Freedom in Christ Ministries

"Gary McIntosh's book, One Size Doesn't Fit All, is the easiest and most informative book on church leadership I have ever read. Why didn't a few seminary professors teach me this stuff twenty five years ago? It would have saved me and some parishioners a lot of grief along the way. Gary's description of the small, medium, and large church with its needs and expectations is a gold mine of practical insights for all pastors, no matter what size church they lead. This book will be a classic in the area of church leadership and growth."
--Dr. Michael Bradaric, Senior Pastor, Magnolia Baptist Church, Anaheim, CA

"This book is a 'process of wisdom' for church leaders in understanding the changes that impact churches at each stage of their development. This material was researched well, practical in nature and insightful for all church leaders. After serving in small, medium, and larger churches I wish that this material was available twenty five years ago. I wish every church leader would read and apply these principles."
--Dr. J. Michael Broyles, Executive Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Santa Clarita, CA

"In this book Dr. Gary McIntosh uses his warm conversational style and vast years of experience in church analysis and consulting to provide a book of wisdom for pastors. We don't need more church growth information, but we do need more wisdom to apply the principles of growth and leadership in the unique context of the churches in which we minister. I believe Gary provides this wisdom in One Size Doesn't Fit All."
--Dr. David H. McKinley, Senior Pastor, Boca Raton Community Church, Boca Raton, FL

"One Size Doesn't Fit All is 'must reading' for all church planters or leaders in any size church, especially small ones. As a church planter, my core group will definitely be required to read this book, as will future leaders. This is a book that every pastor can benefit from regardless of the size of one's church. The book is reader friendly and presented in a unique, conversational manner. The reader comes away with the feeling of being intimately involved in the dialogue."
--Dr. Hovell C. Francis, Church Planter, Southern California

"One Size Doesn't Fit All is by far the best book I have read concerning what it takes to grow a church from small to medium to large. Even if a church never becomes large, just knowing some of the obstacles and strategies is well worth the time to read this book. The book is enjoyable to read and the conversation between two pastors fascinating. This book was extremely enlightening as it answered questions I could not even articulate. I feel that it is a pinnacle of work that has long been needed, particular for the small church."
--Dr. Lorenzo V. Gonzalez, Church Growth & Leadership Consultant, Southern California

"Time crunched beyond their ability to cope, today's pastors need 'the straight goods' about how churches grow from stage to stage. One Size Doesn't Fit All is the road map to get them to the right destination especially when the way looks uncertain, the personal cost is high and the obstacles look insurmountable. I found the analysis of each size church to be right on target. Congratulations on a great piece of work!"
--Dr. Jerry Rueb, Senior Pastor, South Delta Baptist Church, Delta BC Canada

"I wish I had this book twenty years ago and three churches ago!"
--Dr. John Shumate, Pastor, Southern California

"Gary's heart and vast experience in working with and studying churches shines forth brilliantly in this book. Having ministered in small to mega-churches, I found myself relating to and agreeing with virtually everything that was written. This is a work I will be consulting often for many years to come. Why? Simply because I desire that the church I am privileged to pastor becomes all that God wants it to be. Gary's book will be a great help to me in this regard."
--Dr. Ted Martinez, Pastor, Evangelical Free Church, Walnut, CA

"One Size Doesn't Fit All provides an essential and concise manual for pastors in any church. Gary McIntosh provides both the theories and the practical tips to help leaders evaluate, plan and implement effective church growth strategies."
--Dr. Mahlon Friesen, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Yucaipa, CA

"This is absolutely a great book. Every denominational leader should make sure that their pastors have a copy of this book. It is the most enjoyable, practical and capsulated version of church growth dynamics I have ever seen. I sat down and read through it in one sitting. It is great information encased in an enjoyable story. I know I will find myself referring to One Size Doesn't Fit All regularly in my ministry."
--Dr. Gil Stieglitz, Senior Pastor, Twin Lakes Community Church, Palmdale, CA

"Reading this book and gleaning its insights into the church's orientation, structure, direction, growth, and so forth will save the so-called experienced pastor as well as the new pastor much frustration and pain in leading and ministering more effectively in the local church."
--Aubrey Malphurs, Professor, Dallas Seminary and President of Vision Ministries International

"Gary McIntosh has done it again with his book entitled, One Size Doesn't Fit All. For whatever reason, most pastors dream and pray towards seeing their ministry grow in influence and numbers. There is nothing wrong with that. At best a small church is a distant cousin of the larger ministry. While sharing some things in common, their diversity must be understood if their ministry is going to realize all that God intended it to be. 'What's good for the goose is not always good for the gander'. Dr. McIntosh has the ability to analyze the similarities and differences, surface the important differentiating factors and communicate them effectively to the broader church public. I believe Dr. McIntosh's book will encourage the churches regardless of their size to accept their limitations of their demographics and build solidly on those principles and practices that address their specific individual needs. One Size Doesn't Fit All will encourage, break the complacency of others and hopefully refocus churches on the realities of their mission accepting both its limitations and potential. Each 'size' ministry has its unique opportunities and its consistent problems. What works on a 'size C' ministry may not be effective at all in a 'size A' ministry. Dr. McIntosh's insights and analytical abilities enable him to surface for us those non-negotiables that must be in place if a ministry of any size is going to be blessed. Building on the non-negotiables are the unique characteristics of the individual church of whatever category."
--Joe Aldrich, president emeritus, Multnomah Bible College and Biblical Seminary

"I wish I would have had this book when I started out as a church planting pastor in 1979. It also would have been helpful for our church at every transition point in growth journey from a small church to a large sized church. I am so glad that this book came into my hands as we deal with the dynamics of being a large church. The articulation of the need for a large church to become organizational put into words what I felt but could not identify until I read this book. The dialogue between the characters in the book makes it enjoyable to read. The charts at the end of the chapters are a valuable tool to summarize the content. The book is worth buying for the charts alone. I'm looking forward to buying copies of this book and getting it into the hands of all my friends in the ministry. The book addresses many of the sticky points of church leadership which many have had to learn, unfortunately, through the method of trial and error."
--Dr. Raleigh Galgan, Senior Pastor, Valley Evangelical Free Church

"If only I had been able to read this book eighteen years ago when I became a pastor. What a difference it would have made! This is the most significant book I've read in the last twenty-four months. It is a must read for every pastor, lay leader and committed church member. I intend to use One Size Doesn't Fit All extensively as I help churches to grow. This book has my enthusiastic endorsement."
--Dr. Mark Belokonny, church consultant

"The Church is one of the most important institutions in our society today. In a world that's changing so fast, we need a little help in making sure the Church stays on course. Gary McIntosh's new book One Size Doesn't Fit All is helpful to the small or large church trying to grow. This easy to read parable will help us bring out the best in our churches, no matter what its size is."
--Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager

The Author

  1. Gary L. McIntosh

    Gary L. McIntosh

    Gary L. McIntosh (PhD, DMin, Fuller Theological Seminary) is president of the Church Growth Network and distinguished affiliate professor of Christian ministry and leadership at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. He is an internationally known...

    Continue reading about Gary L. McIntosh


"There's something here for all churches. This book is an insightful resource for pastors, church boards and staff, and people interested in church growth."--CBA Marketplace (July 1999)

"Mainly for seminarians, pastors, and church leaders, but it would also benefit others with hearts for growing their local churches in a healthy manner."--Christian Retailing (August 1, 1999)

"A valuable tool for lay leaders and clergy alike, One Size Doesn't Fit All offers keen insight for every size church."--Christian Education Leadership (Winter 1999-2000)

"In One Size Doesn't Fit All, Gary McIntosh has written a marvelous book about how churches grow and how size determines effective strategies for ministry....simple but profound, filled with insight and practical advice."--Church Growth Magazine