1.01 BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Read the Project Introduction for an overview of this project, statistics on church membership and on cell church growth.[1]

1.02 JOURNAL: Record your reflections and document your answers to the Questions for a Better Understanding found on page 139 with regard to the information in this module.

1.03 SANCTIFIED BATTING ORDER EXERCISE: If you are a baseball fan, you know that there are nine players on a team. Each has a position to play, special gifts and abilities and a specialized role to play on the team. The batting order is the order in which they come up to the plate, one by one, to face the pitcher. Baseball players hit as a team. Each one follows another in a designated order to achieve a common objective: get a player on base and then get that player home to score.

            In the United Methodist Church, pastors assigned to your church function like a Sanctified Batting Order. They are appointed to your church by the bishop to do the Lord’s business. It is not the individual effort of any one pastor, however, that wins a game. No pastor hits a home run each time up to bat. Some pastors strike out; the best players strike out twice as often as they get a hit. When a pastor is successful at getting on base, it’s up to that pastor’s successor to get a hit to bring that player home to score a run. Success is not found in the play of any one pastor, but in the sequence of pastors.

            The Sanctified Batting Order Exercise helps you gather data on the experience of the last nine pastors appointed to your church. (Your current pastor is ninth in the batting order.) This information will help you to recognize trends developing through the last nine appointments.

            Using statistics from the Annual Conference Journals for each year, build a spread sheet table of the following statistics for each year of the Sanctified Batting Order period. Have columns for years and put the following in twenty-two horizontal rows: Membership at the beginning of the year. Members lost by removal, church conference action, by death, by transfer; total members lost. New members by confession of faith, by transfer; total members gained. Average attendance. Membership at close of year. Number of baptisms. Church school attendance, leaders; total attendance. Membership of UMM and UMW. Apportionments, Indebtedness, total Benevolences, Grand total paid.


Pastor: ________________________ Arrival date:________ Departure date: _________

Position in the Batting Order: #_____

            1. What were the circumstances that led to a new pastor arriving?

            2. What major church events occurred during this pastor’s tenure? (List at least three.) What words could describe the emotional state of the church during these events? Positive, negative, anxious, excited, fearful, courageous, worried, energetic?

            3. What major historical events happened during that tenure, either nationally or in the community, which could have affected the church?

            4. Describe the pastor and the pastor’s family living in the parsonage, their ages, and major events in the pastor’s family during this pastor’s tenure.

            5. Things started? Things ended?

            6. Significant people arrive? Significant people depart?

            7. What other questions would help identify patterns in your church history?

            8. What can be learned from the statistics during this pastor’s tenure?





[1] 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 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

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

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.

[1]David O. Kueker, “Project Introduction,” (accessed June 18, 2007).

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