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Brethren History – Turn Around Task Team

by on June 24, 2013

Turn Around Task Team Report

Summary of the (35 page) Report

In June 2005, District Executive Craig Smith assembled a Turn-Around-Task-Team to look at declining membership in the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church Of the Brethren.  Surveys were used to discover current realities and perceptions about membership. The team also held several discernment gatherings. They also prayed weekly for each church in the district. Their desire was to “hear what the Spirit was saying to the churches”. Here is a summary of some of their findings:


Their basic assumption – The ANE decline in membership is a Spiritual matter.

Many leaders were starved for the kind of support provided by their discernment meetings.


Their report contained affirmations of ministry and examinations of root issues.

Their report attempted to follow the Revelation 2 and 3 approach to the churches.


I. Affirmations:

Heart for service

Heart for peacemaking

Heart to embody the simple truths of the New Testament


II. Root Issues:

A. Primary root issue – Lack of first love for Jesus breeding a culture of idolatry

Spiritual Arrogance – The idol here is Pride

Selfishness – The idol here is Personal Preferences

Programs over Purpose – The idol here is Religiosity

Misunderstanding Of Success – The idol here is Applause of Humans


B. Secondary root issues

1.-Root Issue – Lack of faith breeding a culture of distrust

Breeds the pushing of individual agendas within the congregational body

Lack of passion given to intercession indicates that faith is not our starting point in ministry.

The idol here is Independent Control (self-reliance) rooted in Pride.

2.-Root issue – Lack of culture of transformation breeding a culture of maintaining the status quo.

The idol here is Security and Noise (a preoccupation with the seemingly important to drown out the feeling of shame).

3.-Root IssueLack of biblical leadership breeding culture of confusion and chaos

Ephesians 4:11-13 – leadership is God’s way to speak to His people and equip the saints.

The idol here is Fear of Control (afraid to follow, afraid to lead).

4.-Root issue – Lack of identity breeding a culture of superficiality

The idol here is Spiritual Laziness (lack of honest spiritual introspection).

5.-Root Issue – lack of kingdom mindset breeding a culture of conflict

The idol here is Fear of Man (image, identity based in perception of uniqueness).


III. Primary Response – confession and repentance

Confession is not a hoop to jump through …to “make things right”

Confession is emotional and spiritual awareness of broken fellowship

Confession is bold-faced ownership of wrongs committed against God.


The major issue being dealt with in this paper is the spiritual pride and arrogance on the part of the ANE district stemming from a lack of first love. Confession requires humility and this root of pride will not be easily moved. Furthermore, our “we can get it done” attitude could prevent us from truly engaging in confession and simply looking to fix a perceived problem.


Are we sorrowful? Why are we sorrowful?

Godly sorrow over our idolatry and lack of first love will lead us to …a return to Jesus and  …His authority.


IV. Two sober warnings to the ANE

1.- We are spiritually arrogant and have stepped away from the path of submission to God’s authority

2.- We believe we can work hard enough to fix problems

a. -A problem has been pinpointed: lack of Jesus as first love

– Danger – we can say, “OK, we are off track. What do we need to do?

Give me steps to follow so we can fix the problem.

b.- This is not a problem to fix, this is a relationship to be reconciled

A call to prayer that seeks God’s Face


V. Summary

Most ANE churches would say they are following the Scripture…

They tend to apply the findings of the Task Team to other congregations.

Impressive players have defined success for us.

Apparent lack of Biblical leadership.

Prayer is woefully neglected.


My comments:

Quotes are not always complete

Bold type not always followed

Outline added

Read the entire document to get all details and make your assessment

Entire document here –


ANE membership: 1979 – 18,077

2012 – 14,323


This is a most honest and searching document. Why has it not been taken to heart?

From → Brethren History

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