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Monday, April 30, 2012

CrossPointe DTP Consultation

The District Transformation Project is moving full steam ahead.  Morley voted to accept their DTP prescription 37 to 4.  CrossPointe (formerly Catskill) completed their DTP consultation this past weekend and you will find the report, including the prescriptions, below.  And, next weekend, the team is headed for Heuvelton, NY to the Cornerstone Wesleyan Church.  Your continued prayers for the process would be much appreciated.


                    APRIL 27 29, 2012

1.   This congregation has a long term dedicated pastor and family who are deeply loved and appreciated.  Everyone with whom we spoke mentioned the awesome pulpit ministry of their man of God.  Truly Pastor Keith and Lisa are a blessing to the CrossPointe Wesleyan Church and the larger Catskill community!
2.   The recent building and grounds upgrade have been done with excellence.  Over the past two years the pastor has led the church in a beautiful remodeling of the worship center and adjoining office areas, as well as the newly paved parking lot. When one enters this space a quiet worshipful atmosphere makes one feel that he/she is standing on holy ground.
3.   There is adequate space for expansion.  While not yet completed the basement area has more than enough square footage for growth.  The possibilities for ministries in this space are mind boggling.
4.   The weekly worship experience brings the body of believers into the presence of God.  Continual expansion in this area will bring joy to the congregants and a smile to God.
5.   The yearly Halloween event has brought high visibility to the church.  The whole community recognizes the church for this event as well as for the baccalaureate service hosted yearly.

1.   An unclear vision and mission:  Lack of clarity in the vital areas of vision and mission has led to uncertain communication and failure to mobilize the entire body to assault the gates of hell and depopulate the zip code of Satan.
2.   Lack of emphasis on the three growth engines:  Worship Ministry, Children's Ministry and Assimilation are the three driving forces in bringing a church this size to health. Two of these three need immediate and extensive attention.
3.   Leadership: Inadequate leadership development and personal empowerment has led to a congregation of spectators rather than players.  Often the church is described as a "one man show".
4.   The basement area needs additional work to make it usable for the expected growth in children's and youth ministries.
5.   Big events, while attracting large crowds, are not translating into a stream of guests and new believers.


1.   Unclear vision and mission.  The mission of the CrossPointe Wesleyan Church is to make disciples.  This mission statement in some form will be adopted by July 1, 2012.   All measures of effectiveness will be run through the grid of; are we making disciples?  The pastor will lead the congregation in identifying the target area for the church and the number of souls residing therein.  He will lead in setting a numerical goal of salvations for the next five years.  In addition, a goal will be set for the number of individuals to be touched by the church through acts of kindness over the next five years.  These numbers will be in place by September 1, 2012.

2.   Three growth engines.  The children's ministry will receive an unusual amount of attention and resources.  First, the large central room in the basement will be upgraded to house the children's church and the children's midweek program. This means that paint, murals, worship area, learning centers and a large screen TV are a must.  The day that this area is completed the district will deliver a big screen TV to be mounted for the children's enjoyment.   A part time children's director will be employed as soon as possible to lead the charge in this vital area.  A stipend of $100.00 per month will be a start in staffing this crucial area.  The nursery areas will be staffed by regular workers and administered by a nursery director so that children will become used to the same faces each week.  It is expected that by Easter 2013 twenty five children (birth through sixth grade) will be the norm.

 Assimilation will also become a priority.  At least fifteen individuals from CPWC will attend the training day provided by the district this summer (Unleash 2012 will be held on June 16th at Hadley Luzerne WC).  After this training day, a director of assimilation will be recruited.  Expectations will be clearly articulated and  evaluations will take place every 30 days.  The end goal is to take first time guests and turn them into regular attenders of CPWC.  This person will be in place by Sept. 1, 2012.  A monthly stipend of $100.00 per month will accentuate the importance of this role on the team.

The pastor will end his involvement in the weekly Monday night Bible study.  He will institute a weekly practice session for the worship team.  Not only will the team focus on the next Sunday, they will also plan several weeks ahead.  Recruiting additional voices and instruments to add variety in the worship plans should open ministry opportunities for others to serve. These practices will begin by July 10, 2012.  Failure to make the worship team practice means one has forfeited the right to participate on Sunday.

3.   Leadership development and personal empowerment.  Understanding that the changes necessary to become a church of 150-200 will begin with the pastor training, delegating and empowering others.  The following changes need to happen for such to occur.  The pastor will be seen as the leader of the congregation.  His job description will include spiritual leader (preaching and teaching the word of God), the caster of the vision, the leader of the LBA and Ministry Team, the recruiter and trainer of leaders and the church's representative in the community.  The church office will be staffed with part time volunteers at least five hours a day.  Attention will be given to keeping the pastor from interruptions so that he can concentrate on prayer, sermons, planning and training.  The congregation will understand that in most cases an appointment will be necessary to see the pastor.  He is a professional! You don't just wander in to see your doctor or banker without an appointment. The phones will be answered by the volunteers and weekly clerical duties will be defined and delegated to the volunteers as well.  Three volunteers will be trained and deployed by August 1.

The church will operate with a ministry team that meets twice a month for training, planning and accountability.  It will be comprised of ministry leaders such as children, assimilation, worship, nursery, youth, young adult, pastoral care, etc.  Those placed in these positions must understand the commitment necessary to build an effective disciple-making organization.  Responsibilities and authority will be given to these team members and accountability will be demanded. This team will begin meeting in July and must continue uninterrupted from now on!  It is expected that the current assistant pastor will continue to grow in his role as congregational care director.  Also his split schedule will make it possible for him to participate as one of the office volunteers.

Instead of spending his time as the church contractor the pastor will serve as chief recruiter, trainer, motivator and planner.  He will spend at least thirty per cent of his time in the community, meeting and rubbing shoulders with community leaders. (breakfast and lunches with those in schools, medicine, government and civic organizations)  This renewed thrust into the community is symbolic of the fresh commitment to focus efforts on those outside the walls of the church.  It is not about us!  Whenever conflict arises regarding taking care of those already in the church or those who are outside the church, those who are still not believers will get the energy and attention. The church will provide a fund so that the pastor can pick up the check at the lunches. A list of leaders to engage and the necessary entertainment fund will be in place by October 15.

Potential ministry leaders will be targeted.  Twice a month this band of warriors will meet for leadership training.  Everything does rise and fall on leadership.  Therefore, more and better leaders is a must.  This group of at least eight individuals will be identified by Aug. 30 and training will begin by October 1.  Commitment is the key!!!

In order to help the pastor to adapt to this new lifestyle, Dean Brown will be employed as a time management/lifestyle coach for one hundred days beginning with the day that this report is adopted.  In addition a year long coach from a larger church outside our circles will be employed for one year.

The pastor will lead the LBA and finance committee to a financial plan that will fund the measures called for in this prescription.  It is expected that each church family will prayerfully consider stepping up their weekly giving to help build this "disciple-making" team.

4.   Basement usage and other miscellaneous building/land issues.  The old sign out front must be renovated or destroyed by Aug. 30.  The children's church area will be completed by the time school starts.  Attention will be given to providing the same quality and warmth that is evident in the worship center to the basement area.  We must see this area through the eyes of new mothers.

The pastor must not do the work on the remaining renovations.  He must be about the other ministries given him in this document.  The attenders of the church must step forward contributing time, talent and money.  An additional $10,000.00 will be raised to pay for materials and contractors!  This must not be a one man show.  Every one must sacrifice to see the dream come to fruition.  Moving forward, all must realize that our pastor/shepherd must become our pastor/rancher.  He must oversee the many shepherds (leaders) as they minister to the flocks (small groups) in the body!

5.   Big events/guest flow.  During the next twelve months the pastor shall lead the church in at least five bridge events designed to reach into the community and bring guests into the church.  Vacation Bible School (with a goal of 50 kids registered), Halloween (with the goal of getting 20 families to visit the church in the days after the huge event), a children's Christmas program which should be one of the largest days of the year and a large community focused Easter Egg Hunt (designed to get 20 families to return for services on Easter) will account for four of these bridge events.  "Next date events" will be in place to follow up on these outreach endeavors. Fifty signs for advertising throughout the community will be purchased by the district to aid in advertising.  Attention to planning these events must begin immediately.  Preparation for a steady flow of guests must also begin as soon as this report is adopted.  Getting ready for company is the rallying cry! September 9th will be a kick off Sunday for living out the new vision.  This day will be one of prayer for God’s blessing and for God’s people to seek his face in reaching many lost people for Jesus.  After the service, people will be encouraged to take prayer walks and drives through out the community.


Respectfully submitted,
Dr. Paul D. Borden
Rev. W. Paul James
Rev. Dean Brown

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Out of the Dark

I know that many of you tell me that you pray for my travels.  Understanding the amount of miles I drive, I've heard you say that you pray often for my safety, and I'm sure that I don't thank you enough. 

Last night as I headed home, driving north on I-87, at about mile marker 16 a large truck or SUV driving without lights past me at a high rate of speed.  It narrowly missed me.  As I watched it disappear, I glanced in my rear view mirror to see the lights of a Highway Patrol car rapidly approaching, and behind that, other flashing lights.  I counted them as they went by.  Eleven Highway Patrol cars, one right after the other, traveling at well over 100 mph. 

At approximately mile marker 34, it looked like Time Square on Christmas Eve.  A small army of Highway Patrol cars, each with his own cruiser fully lighted, blocked several lanes of traffic.  In the median, among the trees, the truck rested, wheels up.  I haven't yet discovered what would cause such irrational behavior, but was reminded once again that on the highway, it is often a matter of inches that makes a difference in one's future, and so I want to say thanks for your prayers.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Awesome Weekend for ENYNE

During the past few months in Success University, we've been talking about making Easter 2012 one of the outstanding weekends in the history of our district. This morning, I can tell you that the ENYNE team accomplished just that.  Our goal was 4,000 people in our churches for Easter Sunday.  With 42 of 43 churches reporting, our attendance was 4,120.  In addition, there were scores of salvations reported, individuals baptized, hundreds of first-time guests, and outstanding services blessed by the presence of God.  To each of you who worked hard and thought outside of the box to make this a very special day, I say, 'Thank you'.  I'm proud of you, proud of your efforts and proud of the results.

This weekend was the official launch date of our Vantage Pointe Church in Queensbury.  The past few months they have been preparing for this weekend.  On Saturday, they hosted a community Easter egg hunt in a large athletic dome.  While it's hard for us to get accurate numbers, we know that over 420 cars were parked on the property.  If we average four per car (and many had kids from wall to wall in the cars and vans), we know we must have been in the 1500-range.  Cars were lined down the highway and some had to even be turned away.  TV coverage was there and most of all we were able to share the news that a new church was being launched in Queensbury.

Sunday, 154 people were present for the launch service with at least 24 families that were first-time guests.  Pastor Brown and his launch team are to be commended.  Also I'd like to thank each one of you across the district who have prayed for this fledgling church.  As I write, the Vantage Point Church is hard at work following up on their guests.  Click on the pic below to visit their Facebook page to see more photos.

I'd also like to share with you the Easter weekend attendances for our other churches.  To give some perspective on how successful our Sunday really was, I will compare Easter Sunday attendance totals to the average Sunday Morning Worship Services from the 2010-2011 fiscal year.  And, I'm writing this to encourage you and to emphasize that, as a team, we are much stronger than any one of us is individually.

Last year Bakers Mills averaged 50.  Yesterday, 92 people attended the Easter service.  On Saturday, 72 children were present at their egg hunt.  With parents included, over 150 joined in the picnic and other spring festivities the church had planned.

Brandon Center had 45 at a Good Friday Service.  Coming off an average of 43 for the 2010-2011 church year, they had 72 for Easter Service. 

Brant Lake averaged 28 last year and  had 42 at their Easter Service.  Approximately one-third of these were children.

Brookdale averaged 15 last year and had 24 in their Easter Service.  Five were first-time guests.

Cadyville averaged 71 last year and had 131 in their Easter Service.

Fusion Community (formerly Cobleskill) averaged 222 last year and had 382 on Easter.

Colton averaged 30 last year and had 90 on Easter with six salvations.  God has opened the door for them to begin a chapter of the Christian Motorcycle Association, and they are using this open door to reach deep into their community.  Read all about it in the Watertown Daily Times.

Cooks Corners had an average attendance of 51 last year,  and on Easter Sunday they had 83.

Corinth averaged 35 last year and had 57 on Easter with one salvation.

Cornerstone average 77 last year and had 110 in attendance on Easter Sunday.

CrossPointe averaged 62 last year, but had 115 on Easter with three salvations and 20 first-time guests.

East Pitcairn averaged 31 last year and had 35 on Easter.  They are positioned to baptize several next week.

Ellenburg Depot averaged 35 last year and had 41 on Easter.

Ellington averaged 53 last year and they had 54 on Easter.

First (Malone) averaged 47 last year and had 111 on Easter, with four salvations.

Forest Dale averaged 39 last year and had 51 on Easter, with three salvations and seven first-time guests.

Gloversville averaged 41 last year and had 72 on Easter with two salvations.

Hadley-Luzerne averaged 121 last year.  Beginning on Friday evening, they had a sold-out Dessert Theatre, which they also offered twice on Sunday.  They figure that they reached 295 different people over the weekend.

Coming off an average of 109 for last year, Hague had 146 in attendance on Easter with  two salvations.

Hartford averaged 42 last year and had 123 in attendance on Sunday.

Kingsbury averaged 38 last year and had 52 for Easter Sunday with  four salvations.

Lisbon averaged 84 last year and had 125 on Easter.

Living Hope averaged 22 last year and had 35 on Easter.

Long Lake averaged 57 last year and had 40 on Easter.

Macomb averaged 35 last year and had 55 on Easter Sunday.  Over the course of the weekend, they ministered to 66 different people.

Mooers averaged 99 last year and had 134 in attendance on Sunday.

Morley averaged 29 last year and had 74 in attendance on Sunday.

Niskayuna averaged 94 last year and had 125 on Easter with one salvation.  They had 290 different people total attendance for their weekend activities, and this included 62 brand new individuals.

Norfolk averaged 65 last year and had 94 on Sunday with two salvations and five baptisms.

Furnace Brook (formerly North Chittenden) averaged 59 last year and had 65 in Easter Services.

Ogdensburg averaged 35 last year and had 79 in attendance on Easter.  They also had a children's egg hunt on Saturday with 40 children in attendance.

Phoenicia averaged 12 last year and had 15 on Easter.

Southside averaged 56 last year and had 76 on Easter.

Springfield averaged 61 last year and had 85 on Easter.

Turning Point averaged 36 last year and had 75 on Easter.

Turnkpike averaged 148 last year and had 203 on Easter with one salvation.   Their total attendance for all weekend activities is 321.

Waterford averaged 104 last year and had 198 on Easter with 3 salvations and many, many visitors.

Wells averaged 21 last year and had 71 in attendance on Easter with two salvations.

Wesleyan Community averaged 75 last year and had 191 on Easter.

West Chazy Community averaged 36 last year and had 40 on Easter.

Willow averaged 9 last year and had 8 on Easter.

Again, this represents 42 churches reporting 4,120 in Easter Sunday Morning attendance, with about 34 salvations and multitudes of guests and friends in attendance.

As I dictate this to Cam, I am pumped (to use a phrase I heard yesterday from one of the pastors)!  Seeing God at work in the lives of our churches is truly satisfying.  I remind you that one of the tag lines we use is Unleashing a Team of Energized Leaders to Multiply Life-Changing and Community-Impacting Churches.

I'm going to sign off now so that Cam can get this polished for you.  If you have photos of your weekend events that you'd like to send to the office, we would be glad to link them from our Facebook page to your website.

God Bless!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Rest of the Story

A news commentator, Paul Harvey, used to have a program he called The Rest of the Story.  In this program, he shared insights behind the news that were usually unknown.  Today, I'd like to share the rest of the story about some of our churches that are involved in the District Transformation Process.

A few weeks ago, the Morley church went through a consultation weekend.  Perhaps you read the prescription in an earlier blog.  Here are some interesting things that you may not know...

  • Four new families showed up to hear the prescriptions and to see where the church was headed.
  • I preached to 65 that Sunday morning, which was about 25% more than they had been having in attendance.
  • On Monday, two other families from the community called the church just to see what was happening.  They had heard that the church was taking on new life and heading in a new direction.
  • Also, on Monday, an influential man in the community dropped by to see the pastor.  He shared that he thought it was great that the church would be focusing their attention on meeting the needs of those in the community.
  • On that same day, the church was approached by a representative from the Library Association about hosting an event during the Morley Summer Fest.
  • Two days later, a young woman prayed to receive Christ as her Saviour.
  • This past Sunday, she walked the isle, making a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ.
  • A tile layer who was working on projects in the church and heard about the new vision and direction of the church, returned on Sunday and gave a $1500 contribution, in effect, lowering the cost of his tile work.
  • The church is in the midst of creating children's ministry rooms in the basement.
  • This week a large tubular slide was ordered.  The children will be able to go to Children's Church by jumping onto a slide on the main floor and ending up in a rain forest on the floor below.  One of the amazing things about this is that the church is doing this before they have even voted on the prescription!
  • A new cafe/fellowship area has been added in the main church building.
These are amazing God-things that none of us could have anticipated when we started the consultation process.

In a Town Hall meeting last Saturday at Forest Dale Wesleyan Church, Forest Dale, VT, a lady was so excited about the new direction the church was taking that she was literally bouncing in her chair as she offered an interest-free loan to the church to make the necessary changes to 'get ready for company'.  Pastor John McDonald said this in an email today, "The groundswell of positive discussion is building momentum.  Creative juices are flowing with ideas coming from all sides.  Folks are excited, anticipating the work to be done.  Our most positive note is Elijah, a ten-year old, who asked Jesus to be His Saviour on Sunday!!"

And I get texts from the pastors.  This week, the text messages included...

  • Fifteen baptized at Hadley-Luzerne WC, with 212 in attendance.
  • Seven baptized at Malone, with 72 in attendance.
  • Sixty-seven worshiped at Vantage Pointe (Queensbury), with anticipation building for their official launch on Easter Sunday.
  • CrossPointe (Catskill), normally runs about 65 in Sunday Morning Worship, but this past week, 91 attended the service to hear what the consultation would look like in their church.  Again, anticipation was high.
I don't understand all the dynamics that surround the cluster groups, the consultation weekends, the coaching and the lay ministry training events.  I don't understand how this thing we call the District Transformation Project really works.  I have just come to recognize that these are tools that God has chosen to use to help us refocus our efforts and energy impacting the communities in which we live for Jesus Christ.  These have become tools in my toolbox that I would not trade for anything.  Along with Success University (SU), the DTP process is the most impacting thing I've seen in the life of a district.

On June 16, we're having a training event that we are calling Unleash 2012 (previously called Praise Gathering).  Cam will be sending more information on what that day will entail, but for now, I'd like you to plan on bringing 10-12 leaders per church to be trained in Children's Ministry, Music & Worship, Assimilation, and to hear stories of church transformation and gain insight into ways that these concepts can be used in your churches.

I carry a phone and often I receive text messages from our pastors which thrill my heart.  I think that after reading this blog, you'll understand why.  This Sunday is Easter and I expect that all Sunday afternoon I will be receiving text after text after text of positive stories of what has happened in our churches on Resurrection Sunday.  Perhaps there will even be some more rest-of-the-story-type stories I can share with you.