Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Geoff Surratt, the author of Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches From Growing, won me over very quickly in his book with the comment (on p. 9) that "I'm convinced that anyone who would willingly become a pastor must have either a divine call or an intelligence deficit." I wholeheartedly agree. Though, of course, there's no reason it can't be both.

As the title promises, Surratt presents ten stupid things churches (and pastors) do that keep them from growing. The first chapter, titled "Trying to Do It All," was perhaps the most impactful for me, though every chapter was immensely readable, memorable, and applicable. He concludes each chapter with an introduction and interview of a well-known pastor, to get another (sometimes different) perspective on that chapter's topic. Some of these were as good or better (while shorter) than the chapter itself.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
God isn't a priority in life; God is life.

Usually the best person to lead an area of ministry you want to give away is already too busy to volunteer. Effective leaders are seldom sitting around looking for something to do with their time.

Many of us have been in the church so long we have completely lost touch with what it's like not to know.

When King David was preparing to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, one of the first things he did was put together a great band with a talented worship leader.

Americans don’t do boring. They will put up with heresy, lies, and deception; but if you bore them, they will check out immediately.

Do not beg people to volunteer in children’s ministry. You need to know that your potential team members’ need to volunteer is bigger than your need to have a warm body in the room.

If we are going to keep our focus on gathering more and more sheep into our sheep pen by collecting as many sheep as possible from other meadows around town, there is no reason to maintain so many buildings, pay so many pastors, and support so many bloated ministries. If, however, we stop worrying about whose meadow the sheep are eating in this weekend and start worrying about all of the sheep who have no shepherd, then we will never have too many churches.

When you have passion to be a healing place for a hurting world, God sends the gift of hurting people. We all know that people who are hurting can hurt others (this is from Dino Rizzo's interview at the end of chapter 8).

The key to effective team-based ministry is to remember that leaders lead and teams follow. When teams lead, you have chaos; when leaders follow, you have confusion.

One of the [team leadership] dangers I've seen is getting people who are not gifted as leaders in a role where they are telling people who are gifted as leaders how to lead (this is from Dave Browning's interview at the end of chapter 10).
As a pastor who has committed most of the mistakes he identifies--even long after recognizing them as mistakes--I found Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches From Growing to be entertaining, encouraging...and, I pray, transforming.

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