There is no county within the United States where the percentage of church attendance is higher than ten years ago. Some growth in American churches is deceptive, as between 70-90% of new members are received from other churches. This is not church growth, but the accelerated decline of other churches to the benefit of the receptor church. The basic problem facing the United Methodist Church today, as well as many historically influential denominations, is a failure of the majority of churches to thrive; a systemic homeostasis of not making disciples has become normative within the traditional church. Chapter 1 will examine the ministry context of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference and thoroughly identify four systemic problems in historical and contemporary context.
 The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through CreateSpace.com.
   
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.
David Garrison, Church Planting Movements: How God Is Redeeming a Lost World (Midlothian, VA: WIGTake Resources, 2004), 160.
Carl F. George, The Coming Church Revolution: Empowering Leaders for the Future (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1994), 37-38.
Cf. Steven J. Goodwin, Catching the Next Wave: Leadership Strategies for Turn-Around Congregations (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 1999), 17-31.