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Excellent Congregations: Excellent Protestant Congregations, by Paul Wilkes and published by Westminster John Knox Press identified the following 26 common traits among the "excellent" protestant congregations.
1. A vibrancy about living a Christian life...living on the creative and holy edge of the New Testament...being a Christian is not a leisure activity but an adventure.
2. Entrepreneurial...risk-takers, self-starters, use what works and put aside that which does not.
3. Draws philosophically, rather than geographically or denominationally, by the spirit of a living and present God.
4. Reach beyond their comfort zone...not afraid of being uncomfortable and ask tough questions of themselves.
5. Regularly evaluate themselves...for effectiveness.
6. Have a clear, yet changing, sense of mission...a vision of where they want to be and willingness to redirect energies to be effective in their community and people’s lives.
7. Willingness to break up and reassemble...put aside old structures and coalitions when necessary to move forward.
8. Unafraid of being vulnerable and making mistakes.
9. Laity are integral in leadership...competence and a desire to serve, the ability to learn, the humility to admit mistakes and the courage to continue despite setbacks are more important prerequisites for leadership than formal training and ordination.
10. Preach and practice forgiveness and acceptance.
11. Relationship evangelism...personal contact is the key...most new people come to the church through word of mouth...friend, co-worker and neighbor.
12. See themselves as a unique community...not as a franchise of their denomination or even Christianity.
13. In transforming the culture, hold government, agencies and institutions accountable...see their work as not only serving their constituency but also transforming the world around them.
14. Believe in partnerships with other churches, agencies and interest groups.
15. Offer an ascent to God, a relationship...provide the tools and support to forge a real, living and enduring relationship with God.
16. Traditional without being traditionalist...their tradition is a beginning, a springboard, not a wall, not a barrier.
17. The Bible is at their core.
18. Innovative about different spiritual approaches.
19. Tailor liturgies and programs to various constituencies...reject one-size-fits-all approach.
20. Powerful, life-situation preaching...pa...

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