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7 Common Traits of Breakout Churches

The Hope Present in These Churches

Our quest to discover breakout churches that did not change pastors became an exercise in hope for our research team.

We first saw how many leaders transitioned from a lackadaisical attitude to one of enthusiasm and possibility. Some of the leaders told us that their change was more dramatic. They described it as moving from hopelessness to great hope.

Of course, the other great encouragement in this project was discovering the story of entire congregations moving from an inwardly-focused lethargy to an outwardly-focused Great Commission mindset. By the time our research team saw these churches in the “after” mode, we found it hard to fathom they were once lifeless and discouraged.

If I found a single message in the scope of this research, it is a simple but profound lesson for churches and their leaders: Don’t ever assume that your congregation has little or no hope.

We found that many of these churches were once in despair, and many members confessed they had no hope. Then the breakout came. Then God showed He was wasn’t done with their church.

That story could very well be the story yet to be told of your church.

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Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and six grandchildren. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.