NISKAYUNA WESLEYAN CHURCH CONSULTATION
APRIL 11 – 13, 2014
- Pastor and Spouse: Josh and Jessica Woods are providing excellent leadership. Some people we talked to expressed that the church now has hope. Many are impressed with Josh’s preaching.
- Location in the Community: The congregation is located in a place of great visibility. The Church is also located in a growing community in which there are few evangelical churches.
- Room For Growth: The facilities and grounds, while needing work, provide ample room for a growing congregation.
- New People: Even though the new pastor has only been in place seven months, a number of people new to the church are attending.
- Beginnings of Change: The congregation is accepting the initial changes brought by the new pastor. Such changes include: bringing an end to a Sunday school that was not functioning well, new life groups, discovery groups and a more dynamic worship experience.
- The Great Commission: The church has failed to fulfill the Great Commission with regularity and consistency for a number of years.
- Limited Resources: The church alone, does not have the resources in terms of both people and dollars, to make the required changes for health and growth.
- Need for a New Beginning: This church has lost its ability to minister with effectiveness to the community in which God has placed it.
- Lack of Community Engagement: The congregation has been focused inward for an extended period of time and therefore unable to fulfill God’s mission for the Church and achieve a compelling vision.
- Inadequate Staffing: The church is currently not staff led and therefore there is not the marriage of responsibility, authority and accountability.
- The Great Commission: The pastor will call the congregation to a day of prayer for repentance and forgiveness. This time of prayer will occur during a Sunday morning worship service. Prayers will be offered asking God to forgive the congregation (both individually and collectively) for failing to make new disciples for Jesus Christ on a regular and consistent basis. People will pray that God will break the hearts of the congregation for lost people and those in the community who are far from God. Others will pray that God will give the congregation a passion for the lost. Prayers will also be prayed asking God to help the congregation achieve a mission and vision that is focused outward. This service will be led by the District Superintendent. Once it is over the congregation will be organized to walk and drive the community praying for lost people. This day will occur by June 8, 2014.
- Limited Resources: The church and the District will enter into a Transformation Partnership. The church, on the day this report is accepted (should that be the case) will go into Developing Church Status with the District. The District will help the church increase its current note with WIF to $100,000 in order to raise $30,000 for facility needs. The District will also invest some thousands of its own dollars in the church to help with ministry needs. Finally the District will recruit three pastors and/or lay leaders from other churches to be a part of the new LAC along with two current leaders of the congregation. This new LAC will adopt the Kaiser model of governance, where the board governs, the pastor leads, the staff equips and the congregation ministers. The District will also recruit David Norman (a Wesleyan pastor in the district with strong financial training) to come and help the church move to Church Management software in order to bring added knowledge and wisdom to the church’s handling of its finances. This consulting will be accomplished by July 1, 2014. The pastor will become an adjunct staff member with Fusion Community Church in Cobleskill, NY. His coach will be Andrew Fetter. The pastor will be able to learn in a unique environment about leadership and how healthy congregations function. This will occur by June 1, 2014.
- Need for a New Beginning: It is time for this church to re-invent itself in order to bring freshness to the implementation of its mission and vision. The pastor with the help of his coach, the District, the DS and the new LAC will develop a prioritized plan for refurbishing the grounds and facilities. This will not only include painting, remodeling, de-cluttering etc. but a change in signage to enable the thousands who pass the church building each day to finally see it and know it is here. He will also be developing a new ministry plan related to staffing and prioritizing ministries. Part of this plan will include a name change. During this time there will be a period when the church prepares for the new day by meeting at different times and locations during the weekend in order to appear closed while refurbishing. The new launch will take place after Labor Day. The refurbishing will have to be done in accordance with the dollars mentioned in prescription two becoming available for use. Hopefully most of the refurbishing work will be done by the end of the summer in order to re-launch in the early Fall. This assumes that the ministry plan will also be concluded by August 31, 2014. Once the ministry plan is concluded the pastor will conduct a mission/ministry audit that will begin in the Fall. In the audit every ministry of the church will be evaluated in light of the mission. Every ministry will be required to demonstrate how it helps people far from God know Jesus. Ministries that cannot demonstrate mission purpose will then need to be changed so they do or they will be canceled. This audit will begin September 1, 2014 and be completed by February 28, 2015. The pastor with the help of his coach and the DS will set two number goals as part of the vision. The first number will be the number of conversions that the church will target in the next five years. The second number will be the number of people the church will touch with the love of Jesus over the next five years. These numbers will be established by September 1, 2014.
- Lack of Community Engagement: The church will conduct three bridge events based upon the training provided during the consultation weekend. These events will occur from September 1, 2014 through August 31, 2015. The pastor will target six leaders in the community that he will meet with in order to develop sustained relationships (if possible) during the next twelve months. These people might be school principals, city planners, police officers or officers with the fire company etc. The purpose of these contacts is to determine areas in which the congregation might be led by God to meet needs on a continual and regular basis. The pastor will also join one civic organization to again develop such contacts. Once God opens a door of ministry the pastor will, with help from his coach, develop a strategy to determine how members of the congregation can serve in order to demonstrate God’s love to the community. This prescription focuses the pastor as the pastor to the community rather than just the church body.
- Inadequate Staffing: The pastor will develop a staff to oversee the key ministries of the church. These staff members (both paid and unpaid) will be given the overall responsibility for their area of ministry. They will be given adequate authority to carry out their ministry. And they will be held accountable by the pastor for goals. Each staff member will have different goals but all staff members must set goals in three common areas, as well. Those three common areas are evangelism goals, leadership development goals and growth goals. Staff members that achieve their goals will be honored, those that do not achieve their goals, will not be allowed to oversee those areas of ministry any longer. Staff members will be recruited to oversee worship, children, the connection of new people, bridge events and youth. This staff, also known as the ministry team, will be in place by September 1, 2014. By that date a connectional system, helping new guests become part of the congregation will be established. Also the children’s ministry will be one that attracts new guests because of the excitement it creates within children.
The pastor will conduct leadership development training at every staff meeting. He will also recruit eight to ten people that he will meet with regularly to disciple in terms of leadership development. He will meet with these people, in either a group or individual setting once a month. This will begin by October 1, 2014.
THOSE WHO ATTEND THE CHURCH REGULARLY WILL VOTE TO ACCEPT OR REJECT THIS REPORT AND ITS PRESCRIPTIONS. IF ACCEPTED THE DISTRICT WILL MEET THE OBLIGATIONS LAID OUT FOR IT IN THE REPORT AND PROVIDE A CONGREGATIONAL COACH FOR THE PASTOR AND CHURCH. IF REJECTED THE PROCESS IS OVER SINCE THE CONGREGATION WILL HAVE SPOKEN. THIS VOTE WILL OCCUR BY MAY 18, 2014.
Dr. Paul D. Borden
Rev. Paul James
Dr. Mark Gorveatte