You cannot take your church where it needs to be if you can’t identify where it is right now, according to Chris Sonksen in his book When Your Church Feels Stuck: 7 Unavoidable Questions Every Leader Must Answer. The book describes the various “phases” of a church’s life and then poses 7 key questions relating to mission, strategy, values, metrics, team alignment, culture and services.

It is interesting to compare the book with Tony Morgan’s The Unstuck Church, released at almost the same time. Sonksen’s stages of a church’s lifecycle are launch, utopia, whirlwind, increase, merry-go-round, and slow death, whereas Morgan’s stages are launch, momentum growth, strategic growth, sustained health, maintenance, preservation and life support. Sonksen’s book focuses on seven strategic questions which are relevant regardless of which stage of the lifecycle you are in, whereas Morgan’s book describes the different actions a church needs to take at different stages of the lifecycle. In my view there is value in reading both books.

Sonksen’s book is written through the perspective of a series of consultations provided to a pastor named Jeremy and his church. Although this adds some human interest to the content, I frequently found myself wishing that the book had focused more on the content, perhaps supported by more illustrations from actual churches, rather than on the presumably fictitious story.

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