The Other 80 Percent: Turning Your Church's Spectators into Active Participants
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  • Wiley

More About This Title The Other 80 Percent: Turning Your Church's Spectators into Active Participants


A research-based approach to developing more active and involved congregations

In this practical resource, well-known and respected researcher Scott Thumma and professional co-writer Warren Bird draw upon new and heretofore unpublished research across a broad range of Protestant churches of all sizes and show how to create more active members. Offers solid information of what church leaders need to know about the factors and practices that create church members who are more actively and passionately involved in their congregations.

  • Offers a first of its kind resource for developing engaged congregations
  • Lead author Scott Thumma is a noted researcher and writer on congregational studies
  • Warren Bird is coauthor of Culture Shift and Viral Churches

This book offers advice for moving church members from being spectators to living a life of discipleship and faith.


The Authors

Scott Thumma, Ph.D., is professor of sociology of religion at Hartford Seminary and researcher at Hartford Institute for Religion Research. Scott is recognized as a leading researcher and writer on congregational studies. He is also editor of the Lilly Endowment funded website Insights into Religion.

Warren Bird, Ph.D., is director of research and intellectual capital development for Leadership Network. An ordained minister, he serves as an adjunct faculty member at Alliance Theological Seminary. Warren has coauthored 22 books including Culture Shift and Viral Churches, both from Jossey-Bass.


About the Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series xi

Preface xiii

Introduction: Wandering Sheep xix

Part One: Listening

1. What Do You Hear from the Committed 20 Percent? 3

2. What Do You Hear from the Less-Committed 80 Percent? 23

3. How to Create a Listening Team 39

Part Two: Learning

4. Cultural Causes of the 80/20 Problem 59

5. Comparative Patterns in Churches 75

6. Misinformed Efforts to Build Participation 97

7. How to Create a Learning Team 117

Part Three: Leading

8. Start with What You Do Well 127

9. Create More Ways for People to Participate 143

10. Reach Toward Spiritual Growth and Development 165

Afterword: The Sheep Who Came Back into the Fold 173


A. Resources 175

B. Methods and Description of the Datasets 181

C. Sample Survey Questions 189

Annotated Bibliography 197

Acknowledgments 201

The Authors 203

Index 205