"Steeped in tradition, many churches are caught up in a game of numbers and attendance tally sheets in an attempt to prove ‘success’ in the religious community. Often, when new members cannot be recruited, the bottom falls out of a church's ministry. In The Present Future, church consultant and church leadership trainer Reggie McNeal clarifies the importance of getting a church out of the ‘traditional rut’ and focused back on building God's kingdom according to His purposes.
"McNeal shares personal experiences he has had in his position as the Director of Leadership for the South Carolina Baptist Convention and as a private consultant to ministries, congregations, and para-church organizations. He has developed helpful strategies for witnessing, developing social and religious outreach ministries, and planting new churches, but his ideas are not cookie cutter or road map in inflexibility. His desire is to transform leaders so that they can change their congregations from a self-centered, members-only church to a Christ-centered, mission-oriented institution.
"In order to meet people's physical, spiritual and emotional needs, McNeil says that current church members will need to be released from some of their church offices and duties in order to have the time (and energy) to be effective outreach personnel in workplaces and expanded communities. He feels that the training of these outreach people should be patterned on the model used by Jesus. McNeil explains, "Jesus facilitated spiritual formation in his disciples by introducing them to life situations and then helping them debrief their experiences." Speaking metaphorically, McNeil says that just as surfers sit on the beach waiting to rush out and ride the perfect waves, so, too, must trained Christians watch for waves of change to impact America so that they can ride them to victory for the cause of Christ.
"McNeil knows that his book may seem demanding, even harsh; so, he has inserted a section meant to thwart negative feelings he may have unintentionally stirred. I recommend this book to pastors, elders, deacons, Sunday school teachers, youth ministers, and anyone with a heart for church growth and Christian outreach." -- Amanda L. King, Christian Book Previews.com
Table of Contents Read Excerpt (PDF) Author Information In this provocative book, author, consultant, and church leadership developer Reggie McNeal debunks these and other old assumptions and provides an overall strategy to help church leaders move forward in an entirely different and much more effective way. In The Present Future, McNeal identifies the six most important realities that church leaders must address including: recapturing the spirit of Christianity and replacing "church growth" with a wider vision of kingdom growth; developing disciples instead of church members; fostering the rise of a new apostolic leadership; focusing on spiritual formation rather than church programs; and shift, from prediction and planning to preparation for the challenges in an uncertain world. McNeal contends that by changing the questions church leaders ask themselves about their congregations and their plans, they can frame the core issues and approach the future with new eyes, new purpose, and new ideas.