EXECUTIVE SUMMARY & Review by a Pastor of “Cure for the Common Church”

by Pastor Drew Alan Wilkerson, Lead Pastor, BridgeWater Church, Hamilton, Ohio. February 23, 2016

INTRODUCTION:                                                                                                                                                                  Pg. 11-17

This overview summarizes a book by Dr. Bob Whitesel titled Cure for the Common Church: God’s Plan to Restore Church Health (Wesleyan Publishing Hosue, 2012). This book is designed for the common sense leader and pastor who realize that the church they attend is in need of church health and revitalization. Sadly, the majority of churches in America are in a state of plateau and decline. Cure for the Common Church is a book that tackles this difficult arena of church change and gives hope for future transformation.

PURPOSE Pg. 17                                                                                                                                                                         The purpose of Cure for the Common Church is found in Dr. Whitesel’s desire to share the best advice for renewal and growth that will impact a local church and its leaders quickly, returning a church back to a path of growth. By using a term indicating a road to physical health, the author prescribes a fourfold “RX” for the church in need of restorative health.

PROCESS & BENEFITS                                                                                                                                                      Pg. 19-160

This book is designed to explain each of the four “cures” necessary for church recovery. First, Dr. Whitesel shares the reasoning behind the cure. Following a brief explanation, the steps for each cure are given in an easy to recall acronym. The four “cures” create a formula for church health and revitalization if followed by the local church in need of renewal. They are as follows:

  1. How does a church grow O.U.T.? = Observe whom you are equipped to reach. Understand the needs of those you are reaching. Tackle needs by refocusing and realigning ministries.
  2. How does a church grow S.M.A.L.L.? = Survey the small groups in the church. Missionalize all small groups. Add small groups. Lead small groups. Locate the church focus in small groups.
  3. How does a church grow L.E.A.R.N.ers? = Link learners publicly. Every small group becomes a learning group. Agreement emerges from learning. Reproduce learners. Needs are met through learning based action.
  4. How does a church grow N.E.W.? = Create a Nonjudgmental atmosphere. Explore the newness people need found only in Jesus. Walk the bridge to transformation and newness with each person.


Dr. Whitesel clearly defines the need for the “common local church” to become “uncommon” and healthy in order to reach people who can only be transformed by Jesus Christ. This must be the focus.


  1. Retrain local church leaders to focus on transformation and not simply growth by using the four cures: U.T., S.M.A.L.L., L.E.A.R.N., and N.E.W.
  2. Focus on the immediate areas of the local church in question and determine which of the four cures should be addressed immediately. Church members need to form E.A.M. groups to investigate and follow the prescriptions that are right for the church (pg.12, 161).
  3. Learn and implement the “90-Minute Annual Checkup” (p. 160-167). It will be essential to understand how to review and measure the progress and implementation of the 4 cures each year.
  4. Strategically, review the progress of the church to become “new” and “uncommon.” The local church must refocus its vision to fulfill the Great Commission and build bridges of transformation.
  5. BridgeWater Church should focus on educating its members to build new bridges to the non-churched and deliberately emphasize small groups becoming missional centers of church health.