Vincent Woolsey is the pastor of the Cottonwood and Sedona Seventh-day Adventist Churches and director of Arizona Sonshine, Sedona, Arizona, United States.

Dan Day contributes to church leadership by offering a strategy for mission that translates into a greater level of success. His book 8 Secrets to a Mission-Driven Church beckons to leaders practicing traditional methods of mission to take the reins in leading the movement on a path that not only challenges the status quo but also, more importantly, enables us “to become more efficient, more comprehensive, and especially, more able to reach contemporary audiences with a strategic approach” (23). Simultaneously, this approach advocates “the formation of habits that lead to better organizational health” (23). Transformations like these result in a mission-driven church.

Transforming an organization into a mission-driven one involves several key elements that Day itemizes into eight aspects. These steps, derived from both Scripture and business strategies, involve conversations and collaborations to bridge the various gaps based on geography, generation, political polarization, and idealism and move the organization forward toward mission success. Bridging these gaps generates relationships, and “leadership success is always relational” (33).

For an organization to become more mission-driven, it has to learn how to effectively market its product. Many strategies fail because of gimmicky marketing strategies that manipulate consumers to buy something they do not want or need. In the context of a church, its product is its message. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a distinctive message. How is that message being delivered? With many churches in North America struggling to maintain membership, let alone grow, “we need to be telling a far more cohesive, positive story than we are now telling” (65). Has our focus shifted away from Christ on the cross to our distinctive beliefs that make us different from other denominations? Effective marketing in a church setting will present a message that is relevant, compelling, timely, and honest.

Traditionally, Seventh-day Adventists have delivered a message paired with “all the bells and whistles” (121), expecting great results. There was a time when this was highly effective, and there is still a need for it. Yet, there is another element that should be included when sharing our message. It involves gaining a better understanding of “what motivates and resonates with the various audiences we are trying to reach” (123).

Mission-driven organizations have grit, an essential ingredient of success. Though founded on a biblical message, the Seventh-day Adventist Church used grit to bring it into existence, organize it, and advance it into a worldwide denomination. Grit provides the endurance and “determination to complete the mission God has given us” (80).

While focused on drive and mission, this book does not ignore the importance of organizational health. Health is often measured by quantifiable categories, such as member growth, financial increase, and attendance. Teamwork, collaboration, and systems that encourage partnerships are benchmarks of organizational health that cannot be calculated that way. However, “a dynamic people-focused model ignites passion in agile organizations” (106). When the church brings younger and older generations together in the conversation, each learns from the other, and the passion and motivation to carry out mission effectively pass from one generation to the next, creating a picture of “individual and organizational health . . . so attractive that people say, ‘I want some of that’ ” (107).

This book calls for each leader to take a deeper look into the organization, recognize its current condition, and be willing to explore concepts and strategies that may take us out of our comfort zones. With intentionality, open minds, and an effective strategy, our churches can stand out in the community as being relational, relevant, and valuable. “In asking us to become more mission driven, He is only inviting us to share the blessing. We do not have to do this, but rather we get to do it” (168).

I highly recommend this book to any leader or potential leader who seeks to reignite the flame of mission in their organization. The principles discussed translate across the threshold dividing the religious and secular and suggest a method of mission that removes the anchors holding any organization back from achieving success. Its refreshing emphasis on people-oriented leadership, collaboration, organizational health, and strategy generates its own spark within the reader. Plainly put, 8 Secrets to a Mission-Driven Church lays out a system to put “the move back into movement (148).


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Vincent Woolsey is the pastor of the Cottonwood and Sedona Seventh-day Adventist Churches and director of Arizona Sonshine, Sedona, Arizona, United States.

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