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


The Adept Church book coverLearn how to determine your church’s best way forward!

How can you help your congregation take an honest look at challenges in their church? And how should they respond once they’ve assessed the situation? The Adept Church helps congregations develop realistic road maps for navigating between a rock and a hard place with a clear process for defining reality — a process based on strategic decisions concerning where the church needs to go and not where it is currently. This theologically grounded, yet practical guide is for church leaders seeking to save their churches.

Throughout the book, F. Douglas Powe, Jr. explores Howard Thurman’s powerful metaphors of reservoir, swamp, and canal, applying them in the context of a church and leading the reader through a process of self-examination and analysis. Congregations will gain extraordinary insight through this process. The story of Esther is layered between each chapter, providing an inspiring and pertinent scriptural foundation, and each chapter ends with a set of questions for the congregation and leaders. 

This is an excellent book for pastors, leadership teams, or entire congregations to work through together. The result will be churches who are fully missional, serving with vitality, boldness, and confidence.

Idea light bulbLearn more in Leading Ideas Talks Episode 54: “The Adept Church” featuring F. Douglas Powe Jr.
Is your church caught between a rock and a hard place? In this episode we speak with F. Douglas Powe Jr. about his new book, The Adept Church, and what churches can do to move toward a more interactive way of connecting with others.


Esther faces the annihilation of her people; are the church’s circumstances equally dire? Douglas Power brilliantly connects the biblical heroine with North American churches today, weaving the story of Esther’s courage with skilled assessment of the characteristics and steps necessary to release a church from death’s clutches. The result is a concrete action plan to bring more hope for such a time as this.
Dawn Weaks, pastor, Connections Christian Church, Odessa, Texas 

In order to be relevant and thriving in this present age, churches must learn how to navigate between a rock and a hard place. Douglas Powe uses profound theological concepts (like Thurman’s reservoir, swamp, and canal) and translates them into practical tools to help churches self-evaluate. His exegesis of the Book of Esther is remarkable, and integrating Esther’s leadership example to assist church leaders makes this a must read.
Ronald Slaughter, senior pastor, Saint James AMC Church, Newark and South Orange, New Jersey

Available at Cokesbury and Amazon
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About Author

Rev. Dr. F. Douglas Powe, Jr.

F. Douglas Powe, Jr., is director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership and holds the James C. Logan Chair in Evangelism (an E. Stanley Jones Professorship) at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. He is also co-editor with Jessica Anschutz of Healing Fractured Communities (Palmetto, 2024) and coauthor with Lovett H. Weems Jr. of Sustaining While Disrupting: The Challenge of Congregational Innovation (Fortress, 2022). His previous books include The Adept Church: Navigating Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Abingdon Press, 2020); Not Safe for Church: Ten Commandments for Reaching New Generations; New Wine, New Wineskins: How African American Congregations Can Reach New Generations; Transforming Evangelism: The Wesleyan Way of Sharing Faith; and Transforming Community: The Wesleyan Way to Missional Congregations.