Breaking the Huddle
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. For more resources your congregation can use, download the free PDF supplement from the authors.
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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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!"
"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."
"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!"
"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."
"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."
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