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Becoming a Long-Term Church: Lessons Learned

Just one of five new church starts is viable after five years. Survivors typically have strong leaders who have created and embodied a vision that met the need. At some point, however, the congregation needs to switch from identifying with the pastor to developing a corporate identity or it will dissolve when the pastor leaves or hits personal limits. Creating a clean structure can clarify authority, which makes it easier for leaders to collaborate and for members to participate, according to clergy at Jacob’s Well, a maturing church start in Kansas City, Missouri. The church’s journey, from its startup to its leadersh to its ability to think institutionally provides lessons and a road map for both new and renewing faith communities. Read the article, accompanied by reflection questions, housed on Faith & Leadership, an online resource from Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School. Find additional resources on F&L’s “Vibrant Institutions” page.



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