Learn in Three Days a Process to Transform Your Congregation

3.daysIt does not matter what “RE” word works for you—revitalize, renew, re-envision, reinvent, redevelop restart, replant, resurrect—there is a three-day “retreat” you ought to attend.

It is called a Congregational Champions Retreat. (For more information go to www.CongregtionalChampions.info.)

It is for senior or solo pastors, church staff persons, key lay leaders, denominational staff leaders, consultants, coaches, stewardship and capital campaign consultants, college and seminary professor who teach church growth and church leadership, and a host of other categories of people.

These retreats are led by George Bullard who has engaged in research, consulting, coaching, writing, speaking, and training on congregational transformation for more than 40 years. He wants to share with you what he has learned will work, will not work, and a process to achieve it.

His work with congregations includes thousands. His advising of denominational organizations about congregational transformation includes hundreds. His training of consultants and coaches over the past five decades also numbers in the thousands.

George likes to do this in small groups. Over the past 13 months he has led 13 retreats involving 130 people. Now he is announcing a new round of retreats for the fall of 2017. All these “retreats” will be held at the Columbia Metro Baptist Association office in Columbia, South Carolina.

The “retreats” start at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and end at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday. The dates for this winter/spring are,

  • Tuesday to Thursday, February 6-8. 2018
  • Wednesday to Friday, April 18-20, 2018
  • Friday to Sunday, April 27-29, 2018
  • Monday to Wednesday, May 21-23, 2018

For more information go to www.CongregationalChampions.info. Or call George directly at 803.622.0923 or e-mail him at GeorgeBullard@ColumbiaMetro.org, and he would be glad to answer your questions.

To register go to CC Retreat Registration

Can you really learn how to transform your congregation in three days? Absolutely you can learn the process and receive handouts you can use with your congregation. Then, you and George will work together to assess what additional process assistance you need or want following the retreat.

Insight 007: FaithSoaring Churches Have a Deep Commitment to Missional Engagement

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations who transform understand the highest priority is the mission of God and not the mission of their congregational survival. They understand the greatest value is being received by those to whom we are sent, rather than an over focus on themselves. They realize they must see beyond themselves to those who need the unconditional love of God through Jesus Christ.

They are proactively involved in missional engagement that goes beyond doing good works towards being part of God’s reconciling presence among those who estranged from God, hurting in their soul, and lost in their spirit regardless of their economic situation.

Insight 006: FaithSoaring Churches Have a Deep Commitment to Disciplemaking

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations cannot transform with shallow Christians or overly churched culture Christians who are stuck in place with their spiritual formation. Congregations cannot transform with church members who believe they have arrived in their spiritual journey and do not need to continue their spiritual formation as disciples.

Congregations can only transform with church members who believe they need an ongoing commitment to disciplemaking. These people see spiritual formation as a life-long journey. They realize that each day they have new discoveries, new learnings, new insights, new commitments to a Christ-centered, faith-based journey.

Maturing disciples empower FaithSoaring Churches in response to God’s leadership.

Insight 005: FaithSoaring Churches Increase the Expectations of People Connected with Their Congregation

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRMany congregations who need to transform are afraid of losing members, and thus lower expectations of members so they will not feel any pressure to leave. Others push the commitment button and say if members are faithful they will attend more and give more money.

Both approaches are wrong.

What works is the belief that a Christian congregational community is the best Christ-centered, faith-based form for seeking a deeper relationship with the Triune God that brings joy and exhilaration. With this spiritual focus it is effective to increase expectations of people to engage in spiritual formation and missional engagement.

Insight 004: FaithSoaring Churches Have Leaders Who Know Their Own Mission in Life

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations who are on a successful and significant transformation journey need leader who are clear about their own journey. If congregational leaders are not passionate about their own sense of mission, purpose, core values, and vision, they will have a difficult task to help a congregation realize and experience these.

Here are key questions to answer: What is the mission a Christian life? What is the purpose of your life? With what core values do you guide your life? What is your understanding of God’s vision for the next decade of your life?

Do you have answers for these?

Insight 003: FaithSoaring Churches Have Leaders Who Love Continual Innovation

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRTransforming congregations increasingly takes a commitment to continual innovation and excellence. Good enough is never good enough in congregations desiring to transform.

Continual innovation is not about changing the core commitments to the Christian faith or the core values of a congregation. It is about discovering new methodologies that effectively communicate with people connecting with the congregation. It varies the practices of the congregation to keep them captivating.

Congregational leaders who truly yearn for a congregation in the Transformation Zone love continual innovation. They know we never arrive in what we are doing as Philippians 3:14-16 tells us.

Insight 002: FaithSoaring Churches Have Leaders Who Never Stop Learning

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRGod’s world is a dynamic world. Transitions and changes are continual. New discoveries happen hourly. Knowledge increases at exponential speed. Paradigms shift before we become accustomed to familiar realities.

A bias in favor of learning is essential for leaders. Congregational leaders who proclaim they know enough soon discover the leading edge of ministry is moving away from them. What they thought was innovative and creative becomes the hallmark of mediocrity.

Congregational leaders who desire to be part of God’s transformation of their congregation must commit to never stop learning how the gospel can be applied to their evolving context.

Insight 001: FaithSoaring Churches Focus First on Personal Transformation

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRIt is difficult for senior or solo pastors, staff persons, and lay leaders to effectively lead the transformation of their congregation if they are not personally transforming both spiritually and strategically.

Leaders must be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the spirit of 2 Peter 3:18. They must be involved in a continual disciplemaking process.

Leaders must be making progress along a continuum from success to significance to surrender. Their surrender must be to the leading of the Triune God both personally and for their congregation as a Christ-centered faith-based community.

St. Andrews Pastor Publishes Devotions for Those Struggling with Depression as He Did

Seeing in the Dark book

See the book HERE.

In 2008, things began to change for pastor Ronald “Dee” Vaughan. Ministry had become burdensome, and that was a change for a man who loved local church ministry. He also began to feel a disconnection between the person he was felt forced to “create” for the church and the man he was on the inside.

He began to withdraw at home, flashing unexplained irritability toward his family, being hyper-critical over insignificant things, and desiring to be alone.

What Dee Vaughan, who was pastor of Berea First Baptist Church in Greenville, was going to learn about the three years from 2008-2010 was that he suffered from medically diagnosed depression that ultimately left him in a desert so barren that he “jeered at God,” daring God to bring “something good out of this hell.”

“It was really a prayer,” Dee, now the senior pastor at St. Andrews Baptist Church, in Columbia (SC), Metro Baptist Association, says. “I was drowning in depression and needed to believe God was still with me and working in some redemptive way that I couldn’t yet see.”

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Advent Church Attendance Pattern: Up, Down, About the Same?

Advent Candles

Answer three questions anonymously about this issue:  Advent Attendance Survey

Recently a pastor asked me if I am observing any changes in attendance in regular worship services and special worship experiences during Advent and Christmas. It seems to him that in the past few years attendance in going down during Advent instead of going up.

He--like me--recalls that often worship attendance during Advent experiences a crescendo in leading up to very large crowds--comparatively speaking--on Christmas Eve. However, he says he is experiencing the opposite in recent years. He wants to know what I am observing.

I admit I have not thought about that point recently. But, as I think about it, I have perceptions of congregations having less in attendance for their special worship experiences--not including Christmas Eve>

What are you observing? I would love to hear your answers and comments.

The Dinner Church Handbook (A Book Review)

The Dinner Church HandbookI just finished reading The Dinner Church Handbook: A Step-by-Step Recipe for Reaching Neighborhoods. As an organic, missional approach to creating a neighborhood experience where gospel conversations can take place, the concept of the book rates a 5 star. As a book that fulfills what is promised in its title it rates a 3 star.

The Dinner Church as an evangelizing and congregationalizing strategy takes the concept of house church into the community and refocuses it as a neighborhood church. It is highly relational which fits the generations “Y” and “Z”. Since any movement of Christianity tends to long-term have an upwardly socioeconomic mobility trend, it a good to have a significant focus on lower income households—although the concept is not solely for these households. 

The metaphor of the Lord’s Supper/Last Supper and the early church pattern is powerful and worthy of the dinner church motif. Making dinner churches/neighborhood congregations focus on all of us sinners—some redeemed and some not yet redeemed—is a solid idea of getting beyond the captivity of the intra-church culture. 

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