Breaking the Huddle: How Your Community Can Grow Its Witness, By Don Everts and Doug Schaupp and Val Gordon
Breaking the Huddle
  • Length: 216 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: November 02, 2016
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4491
  • ISBN: 9780830844913

*affiliate partner

  • 15th Annual Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year - Evangelism

Most Christians are stuck in the huddle.

Even though we believe in outreach, most communities tend to focus on our own needs. That turns us into insular groups without many relationships with outsiders. So evangelism is occasional and conversions are rare. How do we change?

In their groundbreaking book I Once Was Lost, Don Everts and Doug Schaupp identified five thresholds that individuals cross when they shift from being skeptics to followers. Now they and Val Gordon show how huddled communities can become witnessing communities and then conversion communities, where evangelistic growth becomes the new normal. The authors have studied the growth of congregations, what enhances and limits them, and have gathered best practices for transformation.

Our churches and fellowships can become places where evangelism is not done by a just few people, but where the whole community itself becomes a winsome, thriving witness to those around it.

Break out of the huddle. Find out how.

"So often we have viewed evangelism as a purely individual effort and missed the fact that much of the evangelism in the New Testament took place in the context of community. Breaking the Huddle does a phenomenal job of helping our traditional small groups become communities on a mission together. The authors build upon previously published principles about how people come to faith, translating them to the mission of smaller community. The authors balance theory with practical suggestions and propose probing discussion questions that help groups engage the material."

Dana S. Allin, synod executive, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians

"One of the most difficult things in building a missional congregation is to knead into the dough a real passion for evangelism that becomes a cultural norm. Many books motivate personal witness. This is one of the few books that gets at how to lead a cultural change toward being a community that stimulates real ongoing conversion."

Jim Singleton, associate professor for pastoral leadership and evangelism, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"Finally, a refreshing book that presses the whole community to change—not just the individual. Breaking the Huddle gives us hope as well as poignant, practical steps. This book will help many churches become witnessing communities that lovingly lead people to Christ."

Beau Crosetto, Greater Los Angeles director, Greek InterVarsity

"I have found Everts and Schaupp's previous book I Once Was Lost and their five thresholds in evangelism very helpful. But that was just the beginning. In this classy and winsome presentation, we can think along with the authors about how our local community can really move from being a huddled mass of nice Christians to become a community of conversion—a place where we constantly see people coming to faith in Jesus. This is a thoughtful, well-researched approach to transformation for movements of conversion. It's a unique and inviting contribution."

Scott W. Sunquist, professor of world Christianity, dean of the School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary

"For too long, the playbook for evangelism has been ineffective where it counts: mobilizing communities for witness. Everts, Schaupp, and Gordon offer insights and encouragement for leaders as they work to transform inward-looking groups into conversion communities. Breaking the Huddle is an important resource for churches and ministries of all shapes and sizes."

John Teter, director of church planting and former director of evangelism, Evangelical Covenant Church, senior pastor, Fountain of Life Covenant Church, author, Get the Word Out and Jesus and the Hip-Hop Prophets

"Breaking the Huddle is a helpful and hopeful practical guide for every believer to develop a heart for those who do not yet believe in Christ. I love that it is written by leaders in the trenches who highlight many stories of other leaders in the trenches of actual ministry where actual changes are occurring and people are coming to a life-changing faith in Jesus."

Tom Hughes, co-lead pastor of Christian Assembly Church in Los Angeles and author of Curious

"Thank God for people like Doug Schaupp, Don Everts, and Val Gordon, who help give us a passion for the lost. This book isn't only informative, it encourages and truly inspires any and every Christian to share the good news of the gospel!"

Tommy Walker, worship leader, author of over two hundred worship songs

"Long to change the narrative of your Christian community? Don't give up! Journey with Everts, Schaupp, and Gordon as they collaborate with the Spirit in empowering their communities and churches to morph from compound to sent to multiplying—transformed and pulsating with new and reproducing life. Breaking the Huddle gives us models, praxes, and hope that the Spirit will quicken the church to catalyze multiplying evangelism movements. Breaking the Huddle is an important text for effective evangelism leadership."

Beth Seversen, denominational director of evangelism, The Evangelical Covenant Church

"If you liked I Once Was Lost on the five thresholds of postmodern conversion (which I loved!) you will love Breaking the Huddle, which applies those insights to whole communities, helping them break their inward-focused huddle and ultimately become a conversion movement for the kingdom of God. Who wouldn't want that? Read this book and catch the wave of the Spirit for witness in our day!"

Rick Richardson, professor of evangelism and leadership, Wheaton College, evangelism and research fellow, Billy Graham Center, director, Evangelizing Churches Initiative, author of Reimagining Evangelism

"Don, Doug, and Val are fantastic coaches, and they've given you a playbook to get you off the evangelism sidelines. If you put these field-tested plays into practice—with God's Spirit—you'll get your church or faith community back in the game that truly matters."

James Choung, national director of evangelism, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, author of True Story and Real Life

"This writing team scores high on practicality while equally creating an inspiring and upbeat presentation that will draw Christ followers in from the get-go. Whether readers attend a small church or a mega-one, they will equally find these helpful patterns for creating a dynamic evangelizing body doable and most importantly, a biblically mandated one."

Michele Howe, Christian Market, December 2016

"This book will be especially helpful to leaders who desire a greater alignment to vision and structure and the participation of people."

Ed Stetzer, Outreach Magazine, March/April 2018


Introduction: A Case for Hope

Part I: Three Types of Communities
1. Huddled Communities: Limited Witness
2. Witnessing Communities: Engaged in Witness
3. Conversion Communities: Aligned Around Witness

Part II: Two Macrostrategies for Breaking the Huddle
4. Nurture Discipleship Momentum
5. Mobilize Relational Evangelism

Part III: Two Macrostrategies for Becoming a Conversion Community
6. Embrace God Movements
7. Align Vision, Structures, and People

Part IV: Leadership Lessons
8. Leading Your Community Through Change
9. Be the Change

Conclusion: Great Joy in the Work
Online Supplemental Materials


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