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Monday, October 1, 2012

Brandon Center Consultation Report

One of the amazing stories of our district has to do with our church at Brandon Center.  Located in a rural community of 600, this church has been impacting its community for Christ.  From a church of 25 just four years ago, Pastor Juanita Brooks has led this church to an average of 60+.  Last year 16 souls found Christ. 

The Brandon Center Wesleyan Church Congregation

The Brandon Center Wesleyan Church

Rev. Juanita Brooks

Recently, Dr. Borden, Andrew Fetter, Marc Watkins and I traveled to the North Country for their consultation weekend.  Here is the report.

Brandon Center Wesleyan Church Consultation - September 21-23, 2012

1.  Beloved Pastor:  Pastor Juanita Brooks is a leader who is committed to making disciples for Jesus Christ.  She is respected, admired and loved for her compassion, care, enthusiasm, energy and preaching.  According to one parishioner, "When Pastor Juanita walked into our church, the Holy Spirit came too."  This spiritual anointing, along with her 'get it done' attitude has led, what was once, a tiny congregation to a powerful moving force in the community.

2.  Ministry to the Community:  Under the pastor's leadership, the congregation is ministering effectively to the Brandon Center community.  The food pantry, the summer feeding program and Zumba are just examples of how this congregation is impacting the area.

3.  Evangelism:  The congregation is seeing many become new disciples of Jesus Christ.  Through conversations at the food pantry, in homes, in places of business or at the church, many are discovering that faith in Christ can lead to a personal relationship with Jesus.  This life change is being noted by families and friends throughout the area.

4.  Morale:  Because of the positive momentum that the congregation is experiencing, morale is high.  This church loves their pastor and one another.  The congregation values their time in God's house and are excited by the new believers and baptisms.  Our lead consultant says that rarely, in hundreds of consultations, has he seen a congregation with such a positive attitude.

5.  Worship:  The people report that the Sunday morning worship experience is the high point of their week.  If they miss the service, which many refer to as Mass, the rest of the week just doesn't go right.  The Spirit of the Lord is in the services, the pastor's messages are anointed, and the musical part of the experience is uplifting.


1.  Mission/Vision:  The vision revolves around too small a geographical area.  Although the mission is stated orally, succinct and clear mission and vision statements will bring clarity to the ongoing ministry of the BCWC.

2.  Space:  It is generally acknowledged that additional space is a must if the church is to continue its growth and ministry to an ever-expanding constituency.

3.  Staff:  If current growth and ministry is to continue, leadership development and a volunteer/paid staff must become a part of the strategic plan.

4.  Community Visibility:  Located at the very crossroads of, what historically was the geographic center, of the community the church must continue to be creative in developing ways to enhance this 'center point' of visibility in the community.

5.  Assimilation:  A system of assimilating new people into the body has not been clearly developed or implemented.  More intentionality is necessary in this area going forward.


1.  Mission/Vision:  The mission statement of the congregation will be, Brandon Center Wesleyan Church exists to honor God by making more disciples for Jesus Christ.  On the day that this report is accepted, this mission statement will be adopted.  All ministries and activities of the congregation will be evaluated in relation to this statement.

In addition, this vision of the church must become more regional, encompassing the areas where God has given the church favor with people.  This region will include many of the outlying villages where community food banks look to the BCWC as a source for supplies and leadership in bringing hope to this area.

The pastor, along with her coach and District Superintendent, will craft a statement to reflect such a regional vision by January 1, 2013.  The pastor and leaders will dream dreams of how God wants to leverage the favor He is giving this church.  Intentional ministries will be designed to help reach an ever growing group of people for Jesus.

2.  Space:  The congregation will borrow up to $25,000 from the Wesleyan Investment Foundation.  This will be used to add square footage for ministry.  This space, which is to provide the largest amount of room for the least amount of money, should be added as soon as possible.  Modular and portable buildings should be considered as well as stick-built alternatives.

It is noted that providing this space for Children's Ministry is vital.  Our observation is that young families and children must be a priority for the long-term health of the church.  New organized children's space (nursery, as well as Children's Church space, plus rest rooms) will greatly enhance the attractiveness of BCWC to the families of the area and will speak volumes that children are important.  The goal is to have enough space that the congregation (with two services) will see at least 150 in the a.m. worship service as an average attendance within the next five years.  The pastor, along with her coach and DS and District Building Committee, will make the key decisions for the funding and the initiation of this project by February 1, 2013.

3.  Staff:  The congregation will raise money to pay a part-time administrative assistant.  This person, who will work ten hours a week, will have the responsibilities of aiding the pastor with the myriad of details that surround a growing church.  By being relieved of the necessary, but time-consuming administrative chores, the pastor will be able to focus on the areas where she is extremely gifted, as well as to give quality time to her family.  As one of the consultants said, "The purpose of the administrative assistant is to free up the busy pastor to serve at max in her areas of expertise and effectiveness."

The DS will arrange for the pastor to spend time with another female pastor that has been successful.  Ongoing coaching with this individual is anticipated.  This trip will be funded by the BCWC.

In addition, a ministry team of paid and volunteer staff will be in place by May 1, 2013.  Attention will be given to recruiting to key areas of responsibilities--i.e. children, youth, nursery, worship and assimilation.  This staff will be seen as an extension of the pastor's ministry.  The leadership development class will begin by January 15, 2013.

4.  Community Visibility:  The pastor and administrative assistant will make a list of key community leaders with whom the pastor needs to meet.  These meetings are to explore opportunities for service to the communities.  Pastor Juanita will meet with civic, educational, medical, first response leaders, etc. on a regular basis.  The congregation will provide a fund so that she can 'pick up the tab' during many of these meetings.  This list and the initial visits will begin by January 30, 2013.

The pastor will lead the congregation to conduct four bridge events during 2013 that will follow the 'next date' training provided by the consultant.  Some of these events will focus on the immediate area, while others will focus on the outlying region. 

The pastor and staff will also continue to strategically plan ways that the new expanded facilities can be used to enhance the position of the church as the center focal point of the region.  The idea of an Internet Cafe that will give children a place to do their homework and folk to come who do not have access to high-speed internet, is brilliant.

5.  Assimilation:  The pastor will recruit and gather an assimilation team.  This team will create and begin implementing a system that intentionally connects people who are new to the congregation with the rest of the body.  The formation of this strategy should use Nelson Searcy's resources and prior DTP church leadership to help craft the assimilation for BCWC.  This team will be assembled and the system will be implemented by January 1, 2013.  The pastor will begin regular lunches with the new people in order to help them meet other new people.  These will begin by January 2013!


Submitted by:

Dr. Paul D. Borden
Rev. Paul James
Rev. Marc Watkins
Rev. Andrew Fetter

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