In this book, I help you discover leadership ingredients that will re-energize you, help you build teams, find margin, and pursue purpose like never before. This resource will help you build a healthy outlook on finances, biblical stewardship, how to set and measure goals, and even how to triage an unhealthy church.
In 2011 James Boyd and his wife, Tracy, moved their family from Michigan to Naples, Florida to take the helm of a dwindling congregation struggling under the weight of financial deficit. Armed with faith, prayer, generosity—and a good dose of proven business experience—James restructured the internal workings of the organization in accordance with sound finance and business principles.
Today Grow Church is a vital, healthy congregation making dynamic impact not only in its southwest Florida community but also beyond the borders of the state and nation.
As James has made his church-health strategy available to other pastors and church leaders in recent years, each has experienced the same compelling results. Now, in his book, How to Grow a Healthy Church, James Boyd reveals practical steps in taking a church from instability to vibrant health, including:
Whether you are the pastor or leader of an existing church or God has called you to start a church, the practical information in this book will guide you to making sound decisions that, combined with faith, will enable you to establish and grow a healthy church.
Over the years I’ve consulted with hundreds of pastors who feel stuck. They want to grow their churches, but they feel stuck and don’t know where to turn. I can say with confidence, in knowing James Boyd and watching what has transpired at Grow Church, what you have in this book is an indispensable tool to that very end. The research of “Christianity Today” revealed 85% of what is taught in seminary is never used. That means two-and-a-half years out of three years of study is virtually useless. Often pastors’ training helps us theologically but leaves out many of the tools to effectively accomplish what we want: to expand His kingdom. In How to Grow a Healthy Church James Boyd shows pastors the essential tools such as vision casting, empowering leadership, structure for success, stewardship, establishing a working culture, and many more vital keys beyond just the weekend. Read this book to help you expand your part of God’s kingdom.
How to Grow a Healthy Church is not just another book, but a manual for success in leading the local church. From the first time I met Pastors James and Tracy Boyd and visited Grow Church, I understood there is something special there. I’ve been pastoring for forty years, and every time I enter a church, I’m interested in finding out what makes it tick and how the presence of the Lord is experienced. Grow Church has a unique experience that is so comforting, encouraging, and friendly. There are so many great churches, but there are so few tools for a local pastor to learn from so that they can grow their churches. This book will help you develop the most important concepts that can take your church to another level in the “behind-the-scenes” aspect of church. It presents church systems, strategy, and processes in a simple, bite-size fashion for immediate implementation. You will absolutely find helpful tools that will change the dynamics of your church. Enjoy this book and get ready to take some notes for your personal application in church leadership.
Over more than twenty-six years, we have had many wonderful men and women of God minister to our church in Medellin, Colombia, but James Boyd made a different type of impact. He never preached. He never took an offering. He just got down into the engine room of our decision- making process, our relationships, our finances, and our lives. He asked the hard questions. Prior to James’s first visit, we were already a growing church focused on healthy relationships, but we did not have healthy systems. Like a grease monkey with a big toolbox from his church and international business experience, James handed us a few tools as if to say, “You’d better use these,” and then he walked us through the changes, encouraging us every step of the way. We did as James directed, and our church has since flourished in health, finances, and spirituality. I often refer to James Boyd as “Solomon in a pickup truck,” and say that his book could be titled Growing a Healthy Church for Dummies. In it, James breaks up the clumps of confusion and gives clear blueprints any church can follow. It is a “must” for all pastors in training, and for those who think they are trained. I’d love to see this book in all seminaries, but that would be asking them to teach very practical and useful classes. I once had lunch with a pastor in Central America whose church numbered twenty thousand. I asked him how it felt to pastor such a growing church. The expression on his face turned sour and he said, “It is so, so hard.” I asked for the check and decided right there I only wanted to hang out with pastors who love God, their wives, and the ministry. James Boyd is such a man. He is certainly a man with whom you would like to have lunch too. Enjoy this book over several sandwiches.
Over the past forty years I have served ministries in many ways. I have been a speaker, helper, worker, and giver, but my most frustrating function in the local church was serving on the church board. Pastors always want to pray about things, which is a nice way of saying, “I don’t want to make any decisions.” I think it’s their way of not admitting lack of knowledge, which seems to be a missing ingredient in the church. Accepting the gift of administration requires a submission to best practices—this statement is, in essence, the content of Pastor James’s book. Proverbs implores us to get wisdom, and above all else get understanding. Today’s churches are important business organizations, and they must operate as such. Allow the Holy spirit to complete the work He has brought to your Christian community by receiving the information in this book. Life will go easier for you if you do.
My path to Grow Church came through an unusual connection with the founding pastor of a legit megachurch in Medellin, Colombia. I was so intrigued by his glowing report that I began to attend Grow Church while visiting my home in Naples. I was immediately impressed by the operational fluidity of the service. From arrival to departure, a rare combination of efficiency and sensitivity made me feel right at home. As I became acquainted with Pastors James and Tracy Boyd, I began to fully appreciate how their individual pedigrees have led to the success of Grow Church. James with an impressive business background, forged in part while working as an executive in Japan, and Tracy as a seasoned orator and natural leader. How to Grow a Healthy Church will help any church of any size navigate the complexities, peculiarities, and idiosyncrasies of development. Leadership, accountability, culture, and stewardship are all pillars of sustainability for any successful institution, and all are eloquently and thoroughly addressed in this book. I have twice witnessed the quantifiable success of this book. First, with the amazing turn- around of the mega church in Medellin, and then with my own home church in Raleigh, North Carolina, after having connected their leadership team with the executive team at Grow Church. So, enjoy the read and expect to grow!
Pastor James Boyd expertly explores principles and topics rarely talked about in church, bringing his wealth of business experience to dynamic church leadership. Diving deep into the behind-the- scenes running of a successful church, James shows that without these principles, the body is without a spine, prone to swaying whichever way the wind is blowing. This book gives necessary ingredients to growing a healthy church, from reaching the unchurched and unsaved, to systems and processes that support long-term growth. As leaders and pastors, we are tempted to think our Bible school training is all we need and that we are the experts. James’s revelations, methods, strategy, and approaches towards church growth and establishing healthy cultures have been pivotal for us and the church we lead. We have seen wonderful growth as we have listened, learned, and implemented many of these principles. If you long to see growth in your church, then this book is for you. We believe you will see phenomenal fruit come as you learn and apply James’s principles, partnering with God, who brings the increase for His glory.
Pastor James Boyd of Grow Church in Naples, Florida, has written a much-needed book, How to Grow a Healthy Church, to help pastors navigate budgeting, systems, accountability, culture, and many other topics not covered in most seminary or Bible schools. I recommend this book and the online website resource to every pastor and church in America who desires to make an impact with the Great Commission in their city.
As a tenured professor for twenty-seven years and interim Dean of the School of Divinity for two years, I am aware of the curriculum and training most graduates do not receive in seminary but is critical to their calling and success. Pastor James Boyd has closed that gap in this practical and substantive description of budgeting, systems, accountability, culture, and other must-have topics. The game changer here is that Pastor James has proven the pages of this book in the dynamic story of Grow Church, which I have visited, followed, and studied. In addition, I have consulted with him internationally and watched him bring major shifts in church networks who have demonstrated the cross-cultural effectiveness of this book. Pastor James has transferred his extraordinary success in the business community into the church and kingdom with biblical foundations and a love for Jesus. This book belongs in the hands of every church leadership team that will not quit on reaching our culture, and in the hands of every Bible school and seminary student who wants to be fully prepared for what he or she will face for the future of the church.
Pastor James Boyd has been blessed in the pulpit as well as in private business. With his unique background, he shares experience from the business sector in a very pragmatic manner that will benefit any pastor whose church is struggling. Not only has Pastor James led a church with less than fifty members to become a megachurch with a multi-million-dollar annual budget, but he has also guided other churches into getting their financials in order. This book could easily have been titled Everything You Wanted to Know but Weren’t Taught in Seminary because it successfully fills that void. It will be a key book in every pastor’s library.
I met James Boyd soon after he returned from his first visit to Medellin, Columbia. At that time, he did not yet know the church he helped in Medellin was part of a very large organization, Mission South America, of which I was a founding board member at its inception in the early 1980s. The ministry now has more than sixty churches worldwide. As I gave James the history of Mission South America, I quickly realized God’s gifting of business and ministry in James was exactly what was needed for Mission South America. I contacted our board president, Dr. Joseph Umidi, and told him about James. Shortly after the two men met to discuss the ministry, we offered James the position of Vice-President of Mission South America, which he accepted. James has since worked with our apostolic team on the ministry’s vision, organization, and financial matters. We have experienced firsthand his ability to identify problems and quickly develop solutions that are often overlooked. The book you now hold in your hands contains many such solutions to common issues churches and ministries face, as well as practical tools and proven processes that will ensure an organization’s optimal health and longevity. 5 People, including pastors and their staffs, don’t like changes. But when changes based on God’s wisdom and direction are made in love, the results can be astounding. It has been my pleasure to get to know James Boyd as a pastor and friend. I testify that he is an extremely talented man who has been called to the Christian community at the direction of the Holy Spirit.
James Boyd has been blessed with a unique set of abilities and passions that have made him into a particularly valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their church management. He has the creativity and drive of an entrepreneur, the attention to detail and problem-solving proficiency of an engineer, and the compassion, authenticity, and communication skill of a pastor-teacher. As you read this book, you will come to understand that church leadership is more complex than you may have realized. And yet, with the strategies and processes laid out within these pages, along with the assured guidance of the Holy Spirit, you too can build or transform your church into a significant force to advance the kingdom of God here on earth.
The title of this book, How to Grow a Healthy Church, is certainly appropriate as it is just the thing James and Tracy Boyd have accomplished with Grow Church in Naples, Florida. There is a fresh and friendly culture with a congregation involved in the dynamics of church life. I could probably say it’s the only church of its kind that I know. I highly recommend this book. It will inspire and challenge the reader, as well as be a great tool for pastors and church planters. The consistent, healthy growth of Grow Church certainly displays the credibility of this book.
How to Grow a Healthy Church
[stuff they don’t teach in seminary]
• With God, Nothing Is Impossible
• Called to Bi-Vocational Ministry
• First Things First
• Schooled in the World, Schooled in the Word
• The “You First” Principle of Relational Leadership
• Leader: Lead by Example!
• Grow Church Culture
• Grow Church Language Culture
• Grow Church Cultural Phrases
• By-Laws for a Healthy Church
• Executive Leadership
• Pastors and Directors
• Accountable to the Vision: The Big 4
• The Financial Blame Game
• The Priorities of Money
• The Blessing of Obedience
• Establish a Personal Budget
• Establish a Healthy Financial Goal
• Debt: Friend or Foe?
• Stewardship Is Hard Work
• Focus on the Wildly Important Goal (WIG)
• Act on Lead Measures
• Keep a Compelling Scorecard
• Create a Cadence of Accountability
• The 10-3-1 Process
• Working the WIG
• Setting Departmental Measures
• Employees and Services
• Ministry Operations and Building
• Preparing Our Annual Budget
• Establishing Line-Item Managers
• Standard Operating Procedures
• Director Data Access for Future Success
• Staff Budget Controls
• Meetings and Communications
• Step One: Collect Data
• Step Two: Color-Coded Breakdown
• Step Three: A Critical Review
• Step Four: Church Focus
• Step Five: Spotlight Top Priorities
• Step Six: Evaluate, Encourage, Challenge
• Step One: Assemble Your Numbers in Color
• Step Two: Do the Math
• Step Three: Review Salaries and
Make Necessary Changes
• Step Four: Break Down the Budget
to Ministry Areas
• Step Five: Assemble the Church Calendar
• Step Six: How to Answer Questions
That Don’t Have Definitive Answers
• Step Seven: Establish a Process Flow
for First-Time Visitors
• Determining Your Church’s First-Year Budget
• Participation and Partnership
• Continue to Cast Vision
• Legacy Team
• Interest Group Meetings
• First-Year Budget Breakdown
(not including startup budget)
• Employees and Services
• Operations and Building
• Startup Budget Breakdown
• Building Teams of Volunteers