Dirt Matters addresses the importance of church culture and associates it with the practical and biblical metaphor of soil. Jesus used the analogy of soil to state that the key to fruit-bearing is the ground in which the seed is planted. It really doesn’t matter how you plant the seed; the main thing is the dirt it falls on. Without good soil, the harvest is limited.

Just as soil is a key variable that influences the outcomes of a field, the culture of a congregation establishes the environment that often predetermines the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of God’s Word in that body of believers. More so than issues of style, presentation, or methodology, the culture of a congregation has a direct influence on its health, vibrancy, and effectiveness.

Dirt Matters explains and illustrates the importance of church culture, connecting it to a simple analogy that anyone can understand. It also shares how it’s possible to cultivate and nurture a healthier church environment that can put you and your church in a better position to bear fruit for God’s glory.

Jim Powell is the lead pastor of Richwoods Christian Church in Peoria, Illinois, and director of the 95network, a nonprofit organization focused on encouraging and equipping the 95 percent of congregations in America that would qualify as small or medium-sized.

Both a strategic and a visionary leader, Jim has a heart for helping small and medium-sized churches and their leadership move toward their redemptive potential. He has a passion to see the Church grow, not just in numbers, but also in maturity. As a result, he coaches, mentors, and consults with pastors and church leaders through the 95network, often focusing on establishing a healthy church culture–a change-friendly environment where spiritual formation and spiritual direction can take place.

Though he has a calling to help other churches, Jim’s first priority is Richwoods, where he has learned firsthand the principles he now teaches. When Jim came to Richwoods in 1997, the church’s weekly attendance was 65. Today it is a growing multi-site congregation with five weekend services.

Jim went to Columbia International University in South Carolina for one year before graduating with his B.A. in Theology and Religious Studies from Quincy University. He received his M.A. in Theology and Philosophy from Lincoln Christian Seminary. He and his wife, Stephanie, have two boys, Timothy and Trevor. They enjoy life in Peoria with their English Mastiff, Thor. Jim is a big fan of the Fighting Illini, Kansas City Chiefs, and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bulk Pricing

If you want to buy multiple copies for staff, leadership teams, a congregation, or to just give away, discounts are available.

Contact us here to inquire or order.

  • 10 to 49 copies = $12 per copy
  • 50 or more copies = $10 per copy

“Jim knows what he’s talking about. His ideas and insights aren’t mere theory. He’s put them into practice and has the fruit to prove they work. Called to pastor a church with 65 members and a long history of treading water and slow decline, he focused on changing the culture rather than merely changing the programs. Today, that church has grown from 65 to over 1,400.

“And I know its health and culture firsthand. My son and daughter-in-law attended and served in the ministry while they lived in the region. I’ve had the privilege of visiting the church, teaching the staff, and interacting with leaders and members. That is why I applaud Jim’s insights and commend them to you.”

Larry Osborne
Author and Pastor, North Coast Church, Vista, CA

“Jim Powell is the kind of man I would gladly sit under as my pastor. His humble brokenness not always seen among successful Christian leaders releases Jim to live for a vision bigger than himself. His burden to see church become an authentic, repenting, connected community of Jesus followers is Spirit-inspired and God-honoring. Jim Powell is a man worth listening to.”

Larry Crabb
Author and Founder of New Way Ministries, Silverthorne, CO

“Jim Powell is one of those outstanding type of leaders who is able to quickly figure out what a given situation needs while patiently bringing people along to see his vision. He definitely has a story to tell that includes lots of learning that many of us need to glean.”

Dave Ferguson
Author and Pastor, Community Christian Church, Naperville, IL

“Occasionally, a book comes along that surprises me. I was intrigued by the title but blown away by the content. In an extremely real, heartfelt, and practical way, Jim Powell gets down and dirty (in a holy way!) about how to focus on what matters most when growing a church. I loved it! I love this guy! If you’re a leader, board member, or pastor in any church, this book is a must read.”

Kurt Bubna
Author and Pastor, Eastpoint Church, Spokane Valley, WA

“Jim has uniquely provided the vision and impetus for significant Kingdom impact. He combines the unique gifting of church renewal and evangelistic outreach that has been the catalyst for his ministry. We at Lincoln Christian University are impressed and proud of our alumnus Jim Powell and continue to expect even greater things from him in the future.”

Dr. Keith Ray
President, Lincoln Christian University & Seminary, Lincoln, IL

“Having worked with local churches for nearly thirty-five years, Powell’s principles regarding the value of the soil in a congregation is spot-on! It would not only have been nice to have had, but invaluable to maturing God’s flock over the years. I can whole-heartedly recommend this book whether you are a church leader concerned with the health of your local church or are simply concerned about being the kind of community God wants for His people.”

Online Review

“I loved this book. Jim Powell masterfully identifies many issues in the church today. This book is a must for anyone who wants a closer walk with Jesus but may find themselves a little put off by the way things are inside of the church.”

Sherlene Simpson

Online Review – Las Vegas, NV

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