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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Furnace Brook DTP Consultation

This past weekend, Dr. Paul Borden, Dr. Mark Gorveatte, Rev. Skip Trembley and I conducted a DTP consultation in beautiful Vermont.  Joel Tate is the pastor.  Furnace Brook is the church.  The timing was amazing.  Furnace Brook is in the process of relocating, leaving a building that is over 150 years old, that is up on the mountain in a remote location.  The new location, a former furniture store, is on Highway 7, a major north-south corridor for the state of Vermont.  Pittsford is the closest village, although other population centers are nearby.  Here is a report that was presented to the congregation on September 30.
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church, North Chittenden, VT

Rev. Joel Tate, pastor of Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church

Furnace Brook Congregation

Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church - New Building

Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church - New Building


                                    SEPTEMBER 28 – 30, 2012


  1. Love and Acceptance:  The congregation demonstrates love and acceptance to each other and in general to most new people who attend.  They are not judgmental and value people as God’s created beings regardless of their situation in life.

  1. Younger Congregation:  Compared with most congregations of its size, this congregation is populated by younger families.  The congregation has a bright future because of the children, teens and younger parents who attend.  It would be helpful if there were more older people present in order for them to share from their wisdom and experience.

  1. Openness to Risk:  The congregation is on the precipice of stepping out in faith to fulfill its desire of reaching the county with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  1. Pastor and Congregational Growth:  The pastor over a period of nine years has led this congregation from being a small family cell congregation to a small church.  While still a large single cell entity the congregation is no longer made up of a family and friends of the one key family.  Such growth usually does not occur in villages like North Chittenden. 

  1. Pastoral Growth:  A number commented on the growth and development of the pastor.  They value his leadership and his skill in preaching the Word of God.


  1. Mission/Vision/Agenda Harmony:  The congregation has no clear mission statement that governs all it does.  There is no clear vision related to a mission.  As a result there is no harmony on what the mission and vision of the congregation is to be.

  1. Small/Large Congregation:  If the congregation continues to think and act like a small congregation, as opposed to a large congregation, there will not be the Great Commission health and growth required to fulfill the desire of reaching the county with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  1. Finances:  While being open to risk the congregation has not functioned wisely in preparing for the move financially.  Those leasing the property have acted in good faith, thereby creating a moral commitment on the part of the church.  Yet the church is not prepared to meet the financial commitments within a short time frame in order to have the building (tool) they need to fulfill a clear mission and vision.

  1. Ministry Plan for the Move:  The leaders have not planned adequately for the move into the new facility.

  1. Family:  The pastor and his family are facing strains related to the work commitment that comes with leading a growing congregation.  These strains will increase as the congregation moves to another level of congregational ministry.  If not addressed adequately these stresses and strains puts the emotional health of the pastor and his family at risk.


  1. Mission/Vision/Agenda Harmony:  Upon the adoption of this report, should that be the case, the mission of Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church will be, that it exists to make more disciples for Jesus Christ.  The pastor will lead the ministry team to conduct an audit of all ministries to see how each one contributes to this mission statement.  Those ministries that do not conform must then be changed so they do or they can no longer exist.  This behavior will begin to produce alignment and agenda harmony.  The audit must be concluded by June 30, 2013.  The pastor in conjunction with his coach and the District Superintendent will craft the two key numbers that will produce a vision for the congregation.  This vision will be in place by January 1, 2013.  The congregation, once they move into the new building, will conduct a Sunday morning worship service of dedication.  This service will begin with prayers of confession for being inward in focus and not fulfilling the Great Commission.  People will pray asking God to break their hearts for lost people, while giving them a vision of how to reach their community.  Finally, prayers will be offered dedicating the building as a tool to be used in implementing the mission and achieving the vision.  This Sunday of Worship will occur before the end of 2012 and be led by the DS.

  1. Small/Large Congregation:  The pastor will form a staff (volunteers) that comprise his ministry team.  This team will oversee the key ministries that help a congregation grow by reaching non-Christians.  Those ministries include Sunday morning worship, children’s ministries, assimilation and events designed to increase visitor flow.  The pastor will lead the ministry team to focus on these four ministries initially.  This means getting most current leaders who are involved in other things to suspend those ministries to help focus on evangelism growth.  Ministry team leaders who oversee specific ministries will be expected to set goals for their areas of responsibility.  These goals need to include evangelism, leadership development and growth.  The LBA will become a board of three who oversee the pastor and hold the pastor accountable for goals while protecting the pastor and the ministry team as they lead their ministries.  This structure will be in place by January 1, 2013.  The pastor will select three to five people who are not on the ministry team or LBA to begin to develop as leaders.  He will meet with them monthly. This group will begin meeting by March 1, 2013.  The pastor will have his office in the new building and communicate his regular office hours and schedule to the congregation by November 1, 2012.  Beginning January 1, 2013 the pastor will create a list of those in the community who are responsible for education, safety, welfare etc.  He will then begin to systematically visit these individuals finding out their needs and seeing how the congregation might be able to minister well in meeting some of the needs.  He will make a minimum of three visits a week.   

  1. Finances:  The leaders of the congregation will raise $15,000 to $20,000.  This money is to be placed in the building fund for rent as needed throughout the next year.  The congregation will also borrow up to $25,000 to finish renovations in the new building.  Renovations and dates for their completion will be decided in conjunction with the DS, the District Building Group and the congregational leaders of Furnace Brook.  The congregation now has a moral commitment to move and needs to finish renovations of the building quickly in order to be ready to serve well, those whom God will send.  These decisions to act will be made within two weeks of adopting this report, should that be the case.

  1. Ministry Plan for the Move:  The congregation will practice its key ministries that will help it get ready for the guests they are praying that God will send.  This practice will occur from the Sunday the congregation moves in until the last Sunday in December.  The three major ministries to be practiced are the Sunday worship service, serving children and assimilating new people.  During this period of time the pastor will be assembling and training his assimilation team.  He will help them become familiar with the teachings of Nelson Searcy and connect them with Fusion Community Church (the Wesleyan Congregation in Cobleskill, New York) in order to learn how to conduct assimilation well.  The congregation will design one event for guests during Christmas.  This will give the assimilation team a chance to practice with a larger group of guests.  The pastor will schedule regular luncheons with new people, for the purpose of introducing them to other new people, by January 1, 2013.  The pastor and leaders will plan for March 2013 being its Open House Month.   This will be a formal time to invite people to come and see the building and to experience the ministries offered by the congregation to serve the community.  During this month special Sunday worship services will be planned to increase the number of visitors, preparing for the final Sunday which is Easter. 

  1. Family:  The pastor and his spouse, in consultation with the DS, will meet with a counselor.  The purpose is to help them deal with any emotional and spiritual tiredness that comes from leading a growing congregation and deal with the new challenges related to this new chapter in the life of the congregation.  The District will pay for this counseling up to $1000.00.  In addition a coach will be assigned to the pastor for the next twelve months.


Submitted by:

Dr. Paul D. Borden
Rev. Paul James
Dr. Mark Gorveatte
Rev. Skip Trembley 

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