Report on First Congregational Champions Retreat

George Bullard 3Ministry Colleagues: The first of seven Congregational Champions Retreats for this fall was held this week in Richmond, VA with eight people present. It included people who are pastors, executive pastors, intentional interim ministers, and regional denominational staff persons. It was a great experience!

I learned how to modify the retreat agenda so I can make the experience even better for the next five that will take place in my home in Columbia, SC, and then the last one for this fall that will take place in Sarasota, FL. As is typical of my style, I had too much material to cover. It is hard to decide what to leave out. Everyone seemed to want everything I offered to them--and more!

As I requested earlier this week, I ask you to pray for each of these retreats. The date for the next one is Tuesday through Thursday, September 13th-15th. The others are September 27th-29th, October 11th-13th, October 25th-27th, November 15th-17th, and December 6th-7th [Sarasota, FL]. Check out for details on these. I am already projecting 2017 dates.

The idea is to accelerate the learning of third-party providers to congregations so that they might be part of God's empowerment of congregations to help them reach their full Kingdom potential or what I call FaithSoaring Churches.

One of the things I am doing at these retreats with the urging of a ministry colleague is to using a voice to transcribing dictation system that creates a relatively complete transcription of everything I say. The effort this week resulted in a transcription that is 68 pages long, single-spaced, and has 50,000 words. Ultimately it may be a handbook for Congregational Champions. We will have to see later.

27 Books That Have Impacted My Ministry as a Congregational Champion

Stacks of BooksI have read thousands of books during my life. Probably 90 percent of them have been non-fiction books. The picture with this blog post is a good representation of the stacks of books in my office when I lacked the shelf space for them.

As I begin the four-year Legacy Season of my ministry this month, and prepare to lead/teach seven Congregational Champions Retreats this fall--see have picked out 27 books that have had a direct impact on my approach to consulting and coaching with congregations and those who work with congregations as a third-party provider.

You can see these 27 books and brief comments about them HERE. I will likely add more to the list.

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Congregations Need Champions: What It Takes To Be a Master Congregational Champion

FINAL TCP Logo SmallPeriodically this post will contain an update to the concept document Congregations Need Champions: What It Takes To Be a Master Congregational Champion. This is background work on the project tentatively entitled Master Congregational Champions Collaborative, a project of The Columbia Partnership led by George Bullard, President. 

For more information contact George Bullard at or 803.622.0923.

Download Congregations Need Champions, 2.11.16 Edition

Insights About the Spiritual Calling of Congregational Champions

[See first post in this series HERE.]

Too many people are driven to become congregational champions by transitions or hinge points in their ministry journey, conflict in their ministry Insightscontext, the belief they have something to offer that others must have, personal or family crises unrelated to their ministry journey, and economic needs not currently being met in ministry. For many people it is a combination of these.

There may actually be nothing wrong with these motivations for becoming a congregational champion, except the lack of a spiritual calling that empowers this type of ministry and brings joy to the champion. Observing congregational champions over part of five decades has provided me with various insights as to their circumstances and their spiritual call.

A classic situation is when someone reaches a hinge point of some type, or is enticed by an offer to join a denominational or parachurch organization staff. They leave local congregational ministry and become a congregational champion or someone who provides support services to congregational champions.

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Serving as a Congregational Champion is a Spiritual Calling

I am now in my 40th year serving as a congregational champion. I have spent half of those years in Ministry Callingdenominational staff roles and half of those years as a consultant or strategic leadership coach with congregations, denominations, and parachurch organizations.

For me service as a congregational champion--meaning someone who is a third-party provider of professional ministry services to congregations--is a unique spiritual call within God's constellation of calls. I actually felt called into this service as a teenager during my senior year of high school. It was reaffirmed by various spiritual encounters throughout my college years.

Observing the ministry of church consultant Lyle Schaller through reading his books was one of the key reaffirmations of this spiritual call. I saw myself as a consultant with congregations at some point.

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