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Monday, October 31, 2011

The Final DTP Consultation of 2011

Yesterday afternoon at 3:15 p.m., I dropped Dr. Borden off at the Albany airport.  As I drove away, there was a feeling of sadness mixed with exhilaration.  Throughout 2011 he and I have spent 40 days together doing consultations, lay training events, pastors’ clusters and arranging for coaches.   All eight consultations were very well received, and the votes of six of them very affirming.  The final two churches will be voting within the next few weeks.

This weekend we were with Pastor John Gillette and the people of the Mooers Wesleyan Church.  It is obvious that God is at work in this congregation, and we expect even greater things in the future. 

I’m dictating these paragraphs to Cam from the road so that she can get the prescription posted on the website.  It is amazing to me how God is using this website to minister. Often, when I log on, I see that over 200 people are on the site, probably reading the prescriptions, listening to Dr. Borden or looking at what God is doing in our district, and I am humbled.

Along with the prescriptions, video clips of interviews of pastors whose churches have participated in a DTP consultation have been posted, and later this week, come back and look for audio and video files of Dr. Tim Brown’s messages from the District Ministerial 2011 (Leadership Development Tab -> Ministerial Retreat).

This has been an intense two months in my life and I want to thank all of you who pray for me.  I am very conscious when I’m on the road and tired, or in a meeting with a church board, that I’m just an instrument in God’s hand.

Susan and l love each of you and are grateful that we can do the journey together with you.  You will find the Mooers prescription below. 

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OCTOBER 28-30, 2011


1.     Pastor and Mrs. John Gillette:  The people of the congregation value highly the ministry of John.  They speak well of his preaching and his care and concern for the congregation.  In the last two years he has led the congregation to grow and reach out to a number of new people.  His wife, Diane, has stepped up to fill key ministry positions that needed immediate leadership.  They demonstrate team work in both their marriage and in congregational ministry. 

2.     Youth Ministry:  The congregation has a large, growing and vibrant youth ministry.  The youth not only attend their weekly meetings but are serving in the congregation as well as conducting mission work in several communities.

3.    Compassionate and Non-Judgmental Congregation:  We heard from many that this congregation demonstrates love to those within their midst and to those who attend that are new.  They model openness to people who are exploring their relationship with Jesus Christ as well as to those new in their faith journey.

4.    Resources:  God has blessed this congregation with a number of key resources for ministry.  Those resources are its buildings and grounds (which are maintained with care), no debt (though the congregation is asset rich and cash poor), a growing congregation, and room for future ministry growth.

5.    Desire for Growth:  Almost without exception, everyone we spoke with wants to see the congregation grow.  The congregation is not afraid of growth and the people want to see it happen quickly and in great numbers.


1.     A Passion for Lost People:  Currently the pastor is the primary evangelist in the congregation.  The desire for growth was not always related to reaching lost people.  Few people expressed broken hearts for the lost of the community.

2.    Mission/Vision:  The congregation does not have a clear mission (purpose) and therefore many decisions are not made in relation to implementing a clear mission.  There is no compelling vision that fuels the soul of the congregation.
3.    Worship:  The current style of worship is not meeting the needs of many and is not helping the congregation reach out to many people under the age of forty.

4.    Staffing:  The congregational ministry structure does not marry responsibility, authority and accountability.

5.    Facilities and Growth:  The current facilities are not conducive to help produce the growth that the congregation wants to see, including the building of larger facilities (we understand that facilities in and of themselves will not produce growth).


1.     A Passion for Lost People:  The pastor will lead the congregation in a Sunday morning worship service of prayer and repentance.  First, forgiveness will be sought for not making the evangelism of lost people the priority of the congregation.  Secondly, the congregation will pray that God will give the people, individually and collectively, a passion for the lost in the community.  Thirdly, the congregation will ask God to give it a compelling vision for the future that includes envisioning a large number of lost people coming to Jesus Christ.  Finally, each member o f the congregation will commit to pray daily for one specific individual to become a disciple of Jesus Christ within the next twelve months.  This day of prayer will take place by January 9, 2012.  Following this Sunday of prayer the pastor will lead a weekly prayer meeting.  This meeting will focus on prayers for the community, as well as the mission and vision of the congregation.

2.     Mission/Vision:  Upon the acceptance of this report (should that be the case) the new mission statement of the congregation will be  Mooers Wesleyan Church exists to honor God by making more disciples for Jesus Christ.  The pastor will then lead the congregation in a mission/ministry audit.  The purpose of the audit is to examine how every ministry of the congregation meets the mission statement.  The ministries that are not focused on and contributing to the mission statement must be changed or be cancelled.  This audit will be completed by December 31, 2012. 

In 2012, the pastor will lead the congregation to conduct four bridge events that occur on Sunday mornings.  The purpose of these events is to reach out to those in the community that are not yet disciples of Jesus Christ.  The pastor, in consultation with his coach and the DS, will present a vision statement to the congregation that is compelling and produces accountability.  This statement will be presented by February 6, 2012.  Understanding that today most people search for a church by using the internet, a new updated website will be in operation by  March 30, 2012.

3.    Worship:  the pastor will put together a worship team that he will oversee.  The purpose of this team is to provide extensive planning for each service and rigorous accountability for how well each service meets the expectations expressed in the plan.  Each service needs to be creative and different.  The intent is to allow unbelievers to see believers worship their God (Isaiah 2:2-, 56:6-8, Psalms 47:1, 100:1-5).  Such worship means getting unbelievers into worship, making worship understandable to unbelievers, and leading them to make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ.  Such worship experience requires extensive planning and implementation.  The issues are not seeker worship vs. traditional or contemporary worship, but worship designed to minister to the soul through a variety of the senses.  This team will be in place by March 1, 2012.

4.    Staffing:  The current ministry structure will not help the congregation grow since the element of accountability is missing.  Also, the pastor’s current job description is designed for keeping the congregation small and not producing growth.  Therefore, the pastor’s job description must be changed.  He is to be the Spiritual Leader (preaching and calling the congregation to follow God’s collective promptings).  He is to be a leader and he is to develop leaders.  He is to hold ministry people accountable (paid and/or volunteer staff), either directly or through the ministry overseers.  He is to help assimilate new people into the congregation.  This includes overseeing bridge events until an assimilation director and team can be put in place.  The pastor is also the congregation’s representative in the community.  The pastor will implement this new job description by March 1, 2012. 

The current Spiritual Formation terminology will be changed to the Ministry Team, with the two directors being called the Ministry Overseers.  The first job of the ministry overseers is to help the pastor conduct the mission/ministry audit.  The ministry overseers also assist the pastor in helping the staff to set goals in the areas of evangelism, leadership development and growth.  The initial goals need to be in place by March 1, 2012.  The congregation will pay the pastor’s expenses to attend the Nelson Searcy seminar in NYC on November 18, 2011 (it would be good if several leaders could accompany the pastor in attending this seminar).

5.    Facilities and Growth:  The congregation needs to deal with Phase 2.5 before moving to Phase 3 (the congregation has already successfully completed Phases 1 and 2).  The purpose of Phase 2.5 is to provide flexibility in the current facility.  By maximizing the current square footage the congregation can grow, eventually gaining enough momentum to go to two services.  The additional human and financial resources resulting from this growth will make it possible to finance Phase 3 sometime in the future.  Phase 2.5 will include new or expanded restrooms in the fellowship hall, the removal of the wall between the worship center and the fellowship hall and replacing the worship center pews with decorative padded chairs.  The renovation shall also include updating the downstairs with modern lighting, vibrant paint and floor covering and decorative accessories that make this space child friendly.  The former youth room will be retrofitted as a children’s worship area.  It is believed that this area will be used not only on Sunday mornings, but also for an alive mid-week ministry. 

The top three positions to be considered are children, worship and administration/ assimilation.  The sooner this can be done, the better.  In order to fund these capital and human resource improvements the LBA and Trustees, in consultation with the DS, will come up with a fundraising plan by June 1, 2012.  A capital campaign and/or a loan are two options to consider.  Meanwhile, the pastor will select someone(s) who will raise $1000-$2000 from 10-20 people to jump-start the implementation of this prescription.  This will be accomplished by December 31, 2011.


Dr. Paul D. Borden
Rev. W. Paul James
Rev. Tom Flanders

Monday, October 24, 2011

100-Hour Week

We just completed a wonderful, busy, exciting, fruitful week in Eastern New York/New England.  Last Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, over 70 leaders gathered at Schroon Lake for two-and-a-half days of inspiration, team building and leadership development.  Dr. Tim Brown, from Growing Healthy Churches, shared practical and life-changing lessons.  Lots of positive reports were heard from our churches and the buzz and energy indicated that momentum is flowing in the right direction for our district.
Thursday through Sunday, Dr. Borden, Rev. Buddy Rampey, DS of South Carolina District , Dr. Dan Berry, DS South Coastal District, and I were engaged in the consultation process at Waterford WC.  The strengths, concerns and prescriptions are included for your information further on in this blog.  

Sunday afternoon we drove to the Cooks Corners WC, where approximately 90 individuals joined us for a training event entitled, A Great Commission Congregation.  Dr. Borden and I got home late Sunday, about 11:15p.  These seven days have included 100 hours of ministry!  They were both tiring and exhilarating. 

Now, this week, we turn our attention toward launching coaches with four of our consultation churches, and on the weekend we will be doing the consultation at Mooers WC.

As I looked into the eyes of our leaders at the retreat, I was proud.  Personal and spiritual growth is evident, and as our leaders grow, souls are finding Christ and the Kingdom is being expanded.  It truly is fulfilling to be a part of this district.

Also, Susan and I would like to thank you for the cards, notes, and financial gifts that you gave us for Pastor Appreciation Month.  The fact that some of you made your gift to the Vision Fund in our honor was very kind.

Let me wind up this opening part of the blog, so that Cam can get the prescription posted.  My understanding is that some time this (or next) week, some personal stories that were video-recorded at the retreat will be posted on the website.  It's just another way that we are trying to communicate to you what's happening across our district.  Here is the Rx from Waterford...

OCTOBER 21 – 23, 2011


  1. Pastor and Spouse:  Pastor Paul Barna and his wife Pam are the best assets the congregation has today.  God has used Paul to lead this congregation to its best days of ministry.  His commitment to God, the congregation and the community has been used by the Holy Spirit to make many new disciples for Jesus Christ and to lead congregational growth.  Pam, acting as a key volunteer staff member, has been used by God to lead an outward focused children’s ministry that is top notch.
  1. BLAST:  This ministry is reaching out to many children and families that would not normally attend any congregation.  Children are being changed spiritually, emotionally and socially in numerous positive ways.  This ministry is providing an opportunity to reach many un-churched adults.
  1. Outward Focus:  Under the leadership of the pastor evangelism is occurring, the reputation of the congregation is undergoing a positive transformation and a portion of the congregation’s resources are focusing on serving the needs of the community.
  1. Recent History:  During the last eight years God has led the congregation to take risks of faith in order to bring honor to Jesus Christ.  The congregation took a risk on an inexperienced pastor, the purchase and move to new buildings, and being part of the District’s Transformation Process.
  1. Compassion:  The congregation reflects an attitude of compassion for each other and a concern for reaching lost people.  Almost everyone interviewed wanted to see the congregation grow in order to reach more people with the love of Jesus Christ.

  1. A Passion for Lost People:  Although the congregation has a concern for lost people the passion for evangelism demonstrated by the pastor is not true for the congregation.
  1. Mission/Vision:  The congregation has no clear mission statement and there is not a specific and strategic compelling vision for the future.
  1. Staffing/Leadership Development:  The volunteer staff of the congregation is not being developed as leaders nor has there been a leadership development strategy employed with regularity and consistency.
  1. Worship/Assimilation:  These two ministry programs need to be strengthened in order to assist the congregation in turning around the downward trend in growth that has occurred over the last two years.
  1. Finances/Facilities:  The congregation has limited finances.  If not addressed this situation will inhibit immediate facility changes required for growth as well as staff needs required for growth.

  1. Passion for Lost People:  The pastor will lead the congregation in a day of prayer during the Sunday morning worship service.  The purpose of this day of prayer will be to ask God to break the hearts of the congregation, individually and collectively, for the spiritually lost of the community.  The whole worship service will be geared around this theme.  Following the service the leaders will rent a bus to take the congregation on a vision ride through the communities to provide time for people to pray for those that do not yet know Jesus Christ.  These events will take place by December 11, 2011.  The pastor will take ten weeks in Jan, Feb, and March of 2012 to lead the Sunday morning congregation through the ALPHA course.  This training will replace the Sunday morning worship service.  The pastor will contact Rev. Gilbert Foster of Redeemer Church for training.  The congregation will remunerate Rev. Foster for the training.
  1. Mission/Vision:  Upon the acceptance of this report the new mission statement for the congregation will be:  Waterford Wesleyan Congregation exists to honor God by making more disciples for Jesus Christ.  The pastor in consultation with his coach and DS will develop a vision statement that is specific and produces accountability.  This vision statement will be presented to the congregation by January 8, 2012.  The pastor and his staff will conduct a ministry/mission audit between January and December 2012.  The purpose of this audit is to demonstrate how every ministry of the church meets the mission of the church and its overall strategy of start, stay, serve and send.  Those that do not align with the mission will be changed or discontinued.  The congregation will change its programming from a Sunday school/small group model to a small group one, with one exception.  This also means that Wednesday night will become a small group for people who are not in one already.  These programming changes will occur by September 1, 2012. 
  1. Staffing/Leadership Development:  The pastor will assume five main roles of responsibility.  These roles are:  A. Spiritual Leader (preaching and calling the congregation to address major issues that affect the entire body), B. Producing and Directing Worship, C. Developing Staff (developing staff as leaders, holding them accountable, conducting leadership development), D. representing the congregation to the various communities the congregation serves, and E. over seeing bridge events.  This job description, while being developed during the Spring of 2012 will be in place by September 1, 2012.  The pastor will begin meeting with his staff on a regular basis by March 1, 2012.  He will hold them accountable for goals, including evangelism, leadership development and growth goals.  He will expand his new leadership development initiative to include the LBA, staff, and ten other people in the congregation by September 1, 2012.  The pastor will employ Rev. Dean Brown for $1500 (total) for 12 months to provide coaching in setting up key systems, for leading staff, and for overseeing key ministries of the congregation.  This coaching will begin by February 1, 2012.
  1. Worship/Assimilation:  The pastor needs to become the producer and director of worship.  The congregation has very good musicians and music leaders; however, the over all plan for how the entire worship service is structured is the pastor’s responsibility.  Much more must be done to make the entire service a participatory worship experience appealing to the heart through multiple senses. He needs to begin to assume this role by February 1, 2012.  The pastor is also to be the key assimilator of new people into the congregation until a team can be put together to do this.  The congregation will pay for him and two others to attend the Nelson Searcy seminar on assimilation in NYC November 18, 2011.  A new assimilation plan must begin its initial implementation by December 18, 2011.
  1. Finances/Facilities:  The pastor and a capable teaching partner will teach the Financial Peace seminar (or an equivalent) to all adult Sunday school classes from April 16 through the end of May 2012.  He will lead the congregation in a capital campaign to raise $100,000 in the Fall of 2012.  The trustees will begin work as soon as possible to remove pews from the back of the worship center and to make room for a cafĂ© type greeting and reception area at the back of the center.  This should be completed by Feb. 1, 2012.   A permanent wall needs to be placed to make a closed in nursery.   This should be completed by May 1, 2012.  Room dividers, of excellent quality need to be installed down stairs to provide flexibility in the usage of that space.  This should be done by September 1, 2012.  The pastor will recruit a key leader to raise $1000 each from ten to twenty families by December 31, 2011 to cover some of the costs required to implement this report.  The leaders will also place quality, visible and guest friendly signage throughout the church building and grounds.   The signage will be completed by December 31, 2012.  The pastor is to be given extra time off over the holiday season, including the first Sunday in January in preparation for leading all the change prescribed in this report.  In light of the consultation team’s concerns the pastor will consult with his coach and the DS about future location for children’s ministry and office space.

Respectfully submitted by:

Dr. Paul D. Borden
Rev. W. Paul James
Dr. Dan Berry
Rev. Buddy Rampey