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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

on 12 May 2014
Keith Elford is a parish priest with experience also as a bishop's chaplain. In this book he writes primarily from his work as an orgainzational consultant. The fruits of many years with the Telos partnership are shared in an accessible way. The emphases of purposefullness, deliberate and planned action, on knowing who you are, what you want but involving others is significant. Elford's explanation of teambuilding brings a new perspective. This book is implortant more than anything else for the generous sharing by Keith and Telos over many years of 'The Swirl' diagrammatic concept in understanding the developmental mix of self-determination, vision, leadership engagement and mobilization within the leadership of any organization..
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on 27 March 2015
This is an interesting and challenging book. Elford sees off those who approach any managerial approach to ecclesiology with scepticism from the start. He is aware of the pitfalls of dated, secondhand business approaches, but sees too that in order to enable organisational reform, restructure and survival, the church can learn something through a dialogue with secular organisational approaches. The church cannot, he argues, survive hermetically sealed from the world. He challenges those in leadership not to hide from the changing demands both of parochial and episcopal ministry; too many have decided that they are pastors, priests and teachers, but shrink from the leadership needed in the contemporary ecclesiastical environment. He offers strategic and practical advice, and he is not afraid to name the genuine threats lying ahead for the church in a world that is in danger or leaving the church entirely behind, seeing it simply as a charming leftover from our cultural history. I recommend this, but expect to be challenged if you are a leader, or indeed if you are interested in the future of God's church.
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on 4 November 2014
Highly relevant to the current predicament of all traditional denominations in the West

The Church is like a juggernaut oil tanker being taken round a rocky headland. It must change course if is is to fulfill its task of being profitable and fruitful for God's Kingdom. This is the book which teaches us how not to hit the rocks as we set a new course for a very ancient organization.

Too few theologians seem to be on the case of getting the Church correctly changed (and this is in no way about changing our message to better fit the way of the world). What we need is a clear theological challenge to the status quo which draws on the timeless Gospel and Great Commission of Christ. Keith Elford's feet are already well practiced at walking in the every-day world of organizations, both secular and religious. He has the insight needed to speak to the Church about getting re-created in a way that alters, not its message, but itself.

Keith Elford's advice on timing for the introduction of deep change ties up with what many a vicar or rector will have found out on the job. When a local church needs to wake up to the potential of the full Christian gospel, you can move too soon. By trying to proceed before 'tipping point' you simply hit the rocks. While you carry on in the traditional way for the first few years, they get to know you and you get to know them, but at the same time you build a little group that has the vision for something better than 'expecting the vicar to do it all'. The day that the little group has grown big enough to tip the balance on the Church Council is the day for the process of whole-system change to begin.

This book rightly says that whole-system change is needed soon in the Church. In 1940 our army got away at Dunkirk just in time after trying to fight a disastrous 'Maginot Line' campaign*. We got the rare chance of being able to regroup and fight again. Much of the remaining West European Church is getting more elderly and is being pushed to the margins. While we still have an 'army' we need to get on quickly with whole-system change.
(*in a short article called 'Monty's War Message and the Church Today' (Gilead 2010) I highlighted the truths to be found within World War II strategies.)

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on 1 November 2013
This is an interesting read for modern times. Keith Elford not only makes his observations but
also includes his thoughts on solutions. I would recommend this as a good and interesting read.
The book arrived well packaged and in good time.
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on 21 August 2014
Loved it.
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on 20 October 2013
An excellent book for anyone who has even the slightest interest in the Church of England from any perspective. Beautifully, simply written - easy to understand, not pulling any punches about the current state of the church and its faults, but showing immense affection for it and deep knowledge of it. While it is written for and about the Church of England it would be just as relevant to any religious organisation, Christian or not. It sets out a straightforward template for the Church at every level, from national to individual parishes, to work out what they are, what they are for and what they hope to achieve. If the leaders of the church at every level read the book and act on it, I believe the organisation has a realistic chance to massively increase its relevance in the 21st century, get on with doing something really useful and stop obsessing about issues such as gender and sexuality which make it a laughing stock among the majority of people for whom these issues were long settled. I just hope that it gets read by those in a position to act on it.
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on 2 November 2013
Knwoing the author always makes a book more interesting and we are looking how to use this in the workplace soon.
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VINE VOICEon 14 May 2015
The weighty metaphors of how we clunk along as the local church are somewhat disheartening. Here Keith Elford offers a wide-ranging sweep with the goal of organizational flourishing from his many years and diversity of perspective. It's clear and insightful content for all churches that intend to more than get-by!
There's more than analysis, as it's unashamedly action orientated, strongly flavoured by Anglicanism and yet has application, gain and purpose far beyond it. The knowing who you are and the team chapters are probably the strongest content, and what I was most helped by. The models, action emphasis and research is richly thought out. Worth a second-reading and team application in many of our differing situations.
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on 19 September 2013
A very honest appraisal of the situation the church finds itself in the 21st century with practical and insightful wisdom on how to create change within churches who want to do more than just survive. I would particularly recommend the chapter on leadership `Get on the T' to anyone who finds themselves in church leadership. This is a book to inspire, and to put into practice. Highly recommend it.
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on 4 December 2013
Met my expectations as a churchman attempts to secularise the notion strategy in the Church's life and work. Paucity of spirituality and the particularity the organised church has to hold to its core activity.
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