May 2020 Resource

The Adept Church: Navigating Between a Rock and a Hard Place
The Adept Church: Navigating Between a Rock and a Hard Place


F. Douglas Powe


Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN

Book Review By:

Melvin Amerson

Premise of the book:
Congregations can change, grow or pivot, once they goes through self-examination and analysis, then, to strategic decision making.

What this book does:
The Adept Church is an excellent resource for congregations willing to define their challenges/reality and be prepared to work through a strategic decision-making process leading to change. Throughout the book, the author explores Howard Thurman’s powerful metaphors of swamp, reservoir, and canal, applying them in the context of a church and leading the readers through a process. The story of Esther is shared as an interlude between chapters, laying inspirational scriptural foundation, while each chapter offers questions for leaders to consider for strategic discernment and decision-making.


Chapter One: Swamp, Reservoir, or Canal
Chapter Two: Adept Congregation
Chapter Three: Influence
Chapter Four: Missional Characteristics
Chapter Five: Navigating

What are some important insights:
The author of this resource offers great insights into the congregational decision-making process and leadership. Leaders must look into a mirror and hold the mirror for others. We must learn to be adept by creating something new while still maintaining the original intent of the ministry. An adept congregation discerns, connects, evaluates, and makes good decisions making a matter of habit.

Possibilities as a resource for churches:
This is a great congregational resource for strategic discernment/planning, and decision-making, that will lead to growth and missional engagement.

Melvin Amerson

Rev. Melvin Amerson is a member of the Texas Annual Conference and serves as a Resource Specialist/Area Representative at TMF. His experience and passion lie in encouraging and developing generous, faithful leaders and congregations.

Melvin is the author of Celebrating the Offering, Fruit for Celebrating the Offering and Stewardship in African American Churches: A New Paradigm, as well as several articles covering topics from generosity, leadership and visioning. Currently, he serves as a board member of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center and is a nationally-recognized generosity consultant known for his engaging presentations.

Melvin obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, a Master of Divinity degree concentrating in Christian education from Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, an Executive Leadership certificate from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and a certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University.