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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Malone Consultation Complete

One of our goals for this year was to engage with Dr. Paul Border in eight weekend consultations.  Consultation five is now complete.  This past weekend we were with Pastor Marc Watkins and his team at the First Wesleyan Church of Malone.  The report, including strengths, concerns, and prescription follow.  We came away believing that the best days for the Malone church lie in the future. 

Another added lesson was churches from all across the north country that joined us for a lay training event on Sunday afternoon and evening.  From East Pitcairn in the west, to Waterbury Center in the east, our pastors and people turned out enthusiastically.  For four-and-a-half hours of training and fellowship, 150 individuals listened to the voice of God (even without electricity.  The town of Malone was without electricity for 24 hours.) 

This weekend we ask for your prayers as we move to Plattsburgh and the Turnpike church.  These are busy but rewarding days, and your prayers and support are felt and appreciated.

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SEPTEMBER 9 – 11, 2011


1.     Pastor Marc Watkins: Pastor Marc Watkins is valued highly by everyone we spoke to during the consultation process.  People appreciate his leadership, enthusiasm, servant’s heart and commitment to evangelism.  God is using Marc to lead the congregation in healthy growth.

2.     Becky Watkins:  Becky is valued for her leadership and excellent work with children.  She has been used by God to create, staff and lead an effective children’s ministry in a relatively short period of time.  The congregation is growing in large measure due to the effective children’s ministries.

3.     Growth:  The congregation has doubled in worship attendance in the less than two years that Marc and Becky Watkins have come to lead.  What is even more impressive is that a congregation that recorded no baptisms for a decade, has now baptized eight in 2011. 

4.     Giving:  Those who give to the work of the congregation do it generously when compared to other congregations in the United States.  The 17 giving units gave almost double the national average of other congregations.

5.     Resources:  God has given this congregation a number of significant resources that can be leveraged for growth.  These resources are:  location, the absence of debt, a committed core of leaders and a pastor and spouse who are leaders.           


1.     Vision:  The mission of the congregation is clear.  It is to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment (GC2).  However, there is no clear vision that produces accountability for the fulfillment of this mission.

2.     Worship:  The Sunday morning worship service though improving in its development is not meeting the need many have for a meaningful worship experience.  Some want it to be more traditional while some visitors do not return because it is viewed as too traditional.  There are multiple agendas that are often in conflict with each other.

3.     Developing Status:  The congregation was put into developing status some years ago because of declining attendance and other issues.  Some see this status as punitive in nature and want to see the congregation returned to its status as an established congregation.

4.     Staff Members:  The three key ministries that help a congregation grow (worship, children and assimilation) are not resourced properly for growth.

5.     Building:  The building is not conducive for developing the key ministries that will enable growth.


1.     Vision:  The pastor will call the congregation to a day of prayer for God to provide a vision for the future.  This day of prayer will occur on a Sunday morning during a worship service.  Time will be given to ask God to break the heart of the congregation collectively and individually for the needs of those who are not yet disciples of Jesus Christ to become His followers.  Prayers will be offered for those who comprise different segments of the community e.g. teachers, first response personnel, those who work in the prisons, etc.  Also, the people will pray that God will open their hearts to a compelling vision for the future.  Following the worship service leaders will invite the congregation to join them in a prayer drive throughout the community.  This day will occur by October 30, 2011.  Following this day the pastor will initiate two weekly prayer events to pray for the community, the vision and the salvation of those apart from God.  These prayer groups will begin the first week of November.  The pastor, in consultation with his coach and DS will develop a vision statement for the congregation.  This statement will be in place by December 31, 2011.

2.     Worship:  The pastor will take on as one of his primary responsibilities the planning and execution of the Sunday morning worship service.  He will function as both the producer (determining who participates) and the director (determining how worship will be carried out).   Each worship service will be creatively planned in that there will be different formats(including the seating and lighting in the auditorium), often asking those in the congregation to participate in using their various senses as part of the worship experience.  Various styles and kinds of music will be used on different Sundays.  These services will be designed to help those who do not normally attend church feel safe and unthreatened in the worship environment.  The services will be missional in that people will be provided constant information as to what is occurring and what is expected, while helping them cross minimal cultural barriers to have a deep experience with God.  This new style of worship service will begin the first Sunday in January 2012.

3.     Developing Status:  The District Superintendent will recommend to the District Board to return the congregation to the status of an established congregation when certain milestones are reached.  These milestones will indicate that the congregation is ready to take its rightful stance as a full fledged established Wesleyan Congregation.  This will occur when the congregation’s giving averages $6000 a month for four months in a row and at the same time the worship attendance averages 75 people two months in a row.  The DS in consultation with the pastor feel that these milestones are easily doable within the next nine months and will demonstrate the congregation’s commitment to be a healthy one fulfilling our Lord’s command to make disciples.  These milestones will also evidence that the leaders are committed to having a congregation that is viable and open to the pastor’s leadership.  The leaders will also create an annual budget by the beginning of the next fiscal year.  Also when the congregation goes back to its established status it will be organized on the Accountability Leadership Model proposed by John Kaiser in his book Winning on Purpose.

4.     Staff Members:  The pastor will assume the primary role of planning and implementing creative worship services beginning January 1, 2012.  The congregation will hire Becky Watkins as the Children’s pastor for $1000 a month beginning November 1, 2011.  She will also continue to serve in her janitorial role until funds are available to hire her replacement in order to let her focus entirely on children.  The pastor will require a volunteer to help him with the administrative side of the assimilation process.  This key volunteer position needs to be filled by January 1, 2012.

5.     Building:  The entire inside of the building upstairs and downstairs needs to be painted to provide a new fresh look.  The upstairs needs to be lightened up and the downstairs needs to be painted to appeal to children.  Once the painting is completed the District will send the congregation a gift of $1000 to be put towards the carpeting of the downstairs.  This work (the painting and the carpeting) needs to be completed by December 31, 2011.

As the congregation looks  to the near future and the possible purchase of near-by real estate, they need to consider how finances will be sought that will also allow them to update the rest rooms that are downstairs and build a restroom on the upstairs level.  The upstairs restroom needs to be built as soon as it is financially possible.  This will require the relocation of the nursery to a clean updated space.


Respectfully submitted by:

Dr. Paul D. Borden
District Superintendent - Pastor Paul James

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