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Lecture Syllabus - BD-01 - Cultivating Perennial Churches: Your Guide to Long-Term Growth

by Bob Dale

Course Title

“CULTIVATING PERENNIAL CHURCHES: Secrets of Sustaining Long-Term Congregational Health and Growth”

Course Description

Why do only a few churches grow generation after generation while most churches lose momentum and fade? Those rare long-growing congregations, with sturdy patterns of health and growth, thrive year after year in good and bad conditions.

These remarkable communities are called “perennial churches.” Like perennial plants, long-growing churches build on seven profound principles to cultivate their futures. Leaders of perennial churches think and work organically, not mechanically. In this course, you’ll learn from the inner workings of seven long-growing congregations and their minister-leaders as they move forward faithfully.

Session 1: How Perennial Churches Sustain Health: Guidelines for Growth

What are the seven unique and distinct characteristics of perennial plants that also apply to perennial churches? We will identify seven long-growing congregations; each church demonstrates one of the seven significant strengths of perennials. You will learn to recognize, appreciate, and lead perennial churches.

Session 2: Profiling Perennial Churches: Congregational Cases and Conclusions - Part 1

What do purposiveness, rootedness, resilience, and diversity---the first four qualities of perennials---look like in the lives of real congregations? Four churches, matching each of those special characteristics of perennials, will be examined for early backgrounds, behaviors, patterns, and lessons. You will be able to identify the strengths of these unique churches and develop an eye for perennial elements in congregations around you.

Session 3: Profiling Perennial Churches: Congregational Cases and Conclusions - Part 2

How are flexibility, production and reproduction for tomorrow, and future-orientation---the final three characteristics of perennials---displayed over time in congregational ministry? The histories and ministries of three consistently high-yield churches, reflecting these extraordinary perennial strengths, will be spotlighted for leadership discoveries and future growth. You will sharpen your catalytic abilities for long-term health and growth.

Session 4: Leader’s Lessons from Perennial Churches

What are the master leadership lessons we learn from perennial congregations? How do long-growing churches become leader laboratories for us? Breakthrough and sustaining practices for leaders will be identified. You will learn to think and lead in perennial fashion.

Session 5: Perennial Growth for Leaders

Leaders for the future relate and work organically. An organic approach to congregational life positions leaders to magnify health and trigger long-term growth by means of three basic processes. You will learn to use these leadership processes in your ministry.

Session 6: Theology for Congregation’s Perennial Health and Growth

Long-growing churches believe and behave in a distinctive fashion. They practice ministry in exceptional ways. Their theological patterns are worthy of our attention and application. You will learn to think and lead to focus theology to sustain congregational health and growth.