When Church Stops Working: A Future for Your Congregation beyond More Money, Programs, and Innovation

Front Cover
Baker Books, May 16, 2023 - Religion - 176 pages
What if the solution for the decline of today's church isn't more money, people, programs, innovation, or busyness?

What if the answer is to stop and wait on God?

In When Church Stops Working, ministry leaders Andrew Root and Blair Bertrand show how actively watching and listening for God can bring life out of death for churches in crisis today. Using clear steps and practices, they invite church leaders to stop the endless cycle of doing more and rather to simply "be" in God's presence. They tell the story of two congregations who did this--and found new life in the process.

When Church Stops Working distills the core themes of Root's critically acclaimed Ministry in a Secular Age series in a more accessible form. Leaders and churchgoers who are burned out and hopeless will experience affirmation, encouragement, and empowerment as Root and Bertrand turn to the book of Acts as well as examples from contemporary congregational life to show what "active" waiting looks like and the saving grace it can hold.

Selected pages


Busy People Busy ChurchA Killer Cocktail 19
Stop All the Having and Just Be 37
Its Time to Wait but for What? 61
Waiting Brings Life Not a Slow Death 81
Forget the Mission StatementGet a Watchword 101
Out of the Family Basement
Nothing Can Separate You 141
Back Cover 157

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About the author (2023)

Andrew Root (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is Carrie Olson Baalson Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a frequent speaker, has written more than twenty books, and hosts the When Church Stops Working podcast.

Blair D. Bertrand (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is a lecturer at Zomba Theological University, teaching consultant with Theological Education by Extension Malawi, and adjunct lecturer at Tyndale University, Toronto. He has served various congregations as an ordained minister and lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

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