I just finished reading "The U-Turn Church" by Kevin G. Harney and Bob Bouwer. Outstanding read. Here's a synopsis of the book taken right from the book. Check it out!
The focus of this book is to give hope as you enter a Spirit-directed U-turn journey that will lead to a season of health, faithfulness, growth, and new vision. This is not
a fantasy concocted by a couple of hyper-optimistic pastors who have no idea what they are talking about. The U-turn journey is one the book’s authors have traveled and helped many other churches navigate.
A U-turn is first and foremost about lifting up one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is about bringing the refreshing water of Jesus to a parched and thirsty world. The holy zeal that will move a church outward and upward is based on a desire to see people from every nation and tongue bow at the feet of Jesus and declare Him “Lord.”
Nothing happens without a sense of urgency. For me, it became personal. When we examined our church, the urgency I felt was the catalyst that got me moving, praying harder, studying more, and leading smarter as we sought ways to turn our church around, because we were facing a very difficult future. Examine your church and ask, “What does our future look like? What do we want it to look like? Do we have a sense of urgency for the future of our church? What is my part in seeing change come about?”
Every congregation that wants to make a world-impacting U-turn needs to put its vision into words that church members understand. This way, if anyone asks, “What
is your church all about?” you can show them your vision statement and there will be no question about what it means. When a new person joins the church, you can walk them through your vision statement, and they will have no question about where the church is headed.
If you are at the very beginning of the U-turn journey in your church, pray with passion and fervor. Pray for revival, for renewal, and for a U-turn that will bring glory to God. If you are already on your way, consider praying for your pastors and leaders every day. Making a U-turn in a church is serious business, and the forces of Hell will rise up against those who lead, work, and pray. Fortify your leaders with prayer. Ask the Lord of glory to protect them. Cry out to the Holy Spirit to fill your pastor to over flowing. Pray to the sovereign God of the universe and ask Him to hold your leaders firmly in His hand.
A crucial mile marker in the U-turn church experience is to qualify the differences between what the Bible says are biblical absolutes and people’s personal preferences. God gave the Church a mission to disciple people and to make itself attractive to those outside of it. God offers us direction along the way. Often churches make their route to this destination a biblical absolute when there are, in reality, different routes to the same destination. God knows the best route for your church. As we seek God for direction, we realize that we need to make a U-turn from some of the roads that have distracted us from God’s mission.
We live in a historical moment when expectations seem to be lowered on a weekly basis. This is not the heartbeat of a U-turn church. Jesus called us to surrender all to Him, to take up our cross, to deny ourselves, and to follow Him. His expectations are so high that the only way we can accomplish them is to cry out for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to help move us forward. High expectations are not about a bunch of human goals we impose on the church. They are about seeking the will and heart of God in all things. As we do this, the expectations will be high, and the results will be glorious for the name of Jesus.
Through the years, as I have tried to lead U-turn movements in a handful of churches, I have learned that having a thin skin will lead to bitterness and constant pain. Tough things happen in the church, and even more often in a U-turn church. Thick skin is a must for pastors, board members, and any church leader who is going to seek to move in new directions for the glory of God. We must also keep our hearts tender. We cannot become cynical and apathetic. If we do, it will be impossible to press on with the U-turn vision.
To experience a U-turn requires more than taking safe and comfortable risks; it requires taking uncomfortable holy risks. What is a holy risk? It is a movement or a step forward into the future that requires tremendous faith in God. Most churches that are struggling would have to admit to themselves that their risk required little faith, few resources, few prayers, and little sacrifice. But the uncomfortable holy risk requires God-sized faith, God-sized prayer, and God-sized sacrifice that can become very uncomfortable.
A U-turn church calls everyone to learn how to share their story of faith and God’s message of redemption. When a church with sixty-five people has sixty-five witnesses to the love of God and the saving power of Jesus, things start to turn around! Even a small church becomes an unstoppable force when everyone understands that they can serve in Jesus’s name.
Because we believe that the speed of the leader becomes the speed of the team, and eventually of the congregation, it is important for the “You-Turn” to begin with the pastor. Too often the church desires to turn around, but the leaders’ internal lives are not prepared for what lies ahead.
A You-Turn attitude in the church will continually remind people that transformation in Christ Jesus is and should be a reality for every Christian. Our journey contains many You-Turns because no one is perfect. Christ Jesus, through His Spirit, is on the journey with us, leading the way and telling us when we have made a wrong turn. Churches must have a You- Turn mentality if they truly want a U-turn church. Faith Church would not be the church it is today if it were not for the many individuals who have experienced their own You-Turns.
God’s desire is that you turn toward Him in all areas of your life and experience the plans He has for you. God’s desire for your church is that it turns toward Him and experiences the plans He has for it. God desires that the changes in you and your church will reach others, even to the ends of the earth.
All it takes is one person who is willing to be authentic and share what God has done for them to begin a movement of You-Turns. An entire church can turn around, and it can begin with you.
If you'd like to purchase the book, and read it for yourself? Here you go: http://amzn.to/2dw8rhv