Book Review: Ministry Nuts & Bolts, Aubrey Malphurs, PhD

Developing a competent realistic vision, and along with it a strategy for getting there, are the fundamental groundwork, or nuts & bolts,  for a ministry.  This is true at any level, whether the ministry is the Church or a department or ministry within a given church.  The expression, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there,” comes to mind.

Dr. Malphurs has distilled his many years of work with churches and in academia to cast a very readable, very clear process for capturing the essence of a church ministry.  He shows how to determine core values and ministry purpose, then how these relate to and inform the crafting of a vision statement, and then finally, how to unpack the vision to get at a concrete, well-defined, and achievable strategy for accomplishing the church or ministry vision.

I read the first edition of this book.  When I learned that a new edition was due for release on April 30, I talked with Dr. Malphurs about what was new in the second edition.  I asked how he had adjusted his teaching in the twelve years since he first wrote it, given the current state of church visioning, and looking at who is growing and who is not.   It turns out little has changed in the new Nuts and Bolts that Dr. Malphurs suggests we engage to hold it all together. The old material is still relevant.  There is some additional material on the strategy process in the new edition.

If you are planning, or if you feel like you ought to be thinking about re-visiting your church’s purpose for being, this would be a good starting point.  You may be serving in a role, as I do, where this is not in your job description.  If this is the case, you still would get useful tools for helping shape your own personal ministry (I mean your very self) or the vision and strategy for your administration department.  And if your church is “kind of wandering along,” this book will equip you to ask your pastor some tough questions that you can then help him/her answer.

This is a good book…I give it five stars, and think you would have spent your money well to acquire it for your shelf.  If you can get a bargain on the first edition you may want to pair it with one of Dr. Malphurs’ new books on strategy, Advanced Strategic Planning, 2005.


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