Book Review: 7 Practices of Effective Ministry

I was a little sketpical at first when I bought this book. I thought oh great, another numeric model to add to my already expanding numerals for ministry: The five purposes of the Purpose Driven Church, the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, the 9 Core Realities of Youth Ministry and now 7 Prasctices of Effective Ministry.

But my sketpicsim soon subsided. This book provides a great look underneath a ministry system. The premise of the book is that churches that are growing because they don’t know where they are going. The 7 Practices help church leaders to define the direction they want to head.

I think the neat thing about this book is that while the 7 Practices are laid out well, a church leadeship that is going through these as a team will benefit from the time spent together in prayer, and discussing their future, examining what works and what doesn’t. Really a leadeship team that embarks on a journey to implement these seven practices will be challenged, stretched and empowered to lead from a plan that is local and organic having originated within their own orginization.

The Seven Practcies are:

1. Clarify the win

2. Think Steps, Not Programs

3. Narrow the Focus

4. Teach Less for More

5. Listen to Outsiders

6. Replace Yourself

7. Work on It

Unless you have read the book, these practices may not make any sense to you. But, Stanley and his crew do a marelous job breaking down what these practices are, and how they work. Let me stress that this is not a program to add to an often over extended litany of programs, but steps if you will to take your congregation to the place you’ve always wanted it to go.

If you read this book, a ministry makeover is likely in your future!

About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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3 Responses to Book Review: 7 Practices of Effective Ministry

  1. Oakes, Jr. says:

    I really enjoyed this book, esp. since it was set in the context of a baseball game. Spoke right to my heart.

  2. rustypants says:

    many ministry friends of mine find andy stanley to be a blowhard, but i’ve always enjoyed his insights and suggestions (even when i don’t buy into all of them). this was a good book (and i’m a bit frustrated – i own it, but it’s missing off my shelf…) and it had good ideas – i did take a look at my ministry after reading it and made some tweaks here and there.

    the reason i think folks are unhappy with stanley is that he makes things sound absolute – either this is happening, or it’s not right. if you’re not doing this, you need to rethink… etc. i’ve always taken his sermons and his books and pulled what i needed out of them without feeling like i had to do EVERYTHING.

  3. Jason Retherford says:


    Yeah, the baseball analogy was helpful and captured my attention at the beginning of the book.

    Scott, you are right about the way things are made to sound absolute. I read his Communicating for a Change, and while I am no great speaker, I got the impression that if you weren’t preaching the way he was teaching, then you weren’t really preaching.

    I can definitely see how in this book, the argument could be made that one wasn’t practicing ministry right if they weren’t using the seven steps.

    I think for organizations that have lost their way, this book, and his Visionering would certainly be helpful, if more than any thing else, it would be fodder for great discussion amongst a leadership team.

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