December 4, 2006
Pat Jones, Mark Ralph, and I spent this past weekend at Banner of Christ UB church in Grand Rapids, Mich., conducting our first Church Consultation Weekend. The initial response was very positive. These consultation weekends are a crucial part of the Strategic Transition Plan developed to transition our churches into becoming healthy, vibrant congregations that are missional in mindset with an outward focus on reaching lost people in our communities. While I realize that the consultation weekend is just the first step in the process, it is an important first step that gives a congregation a snapshot of where they are, where they want to be, and a roadmap for the journey.
This consultation weekend is not–and I repeat, not–something that we require for all of our churches. It is not a program you must buy. Rather, it is a service we provide to any church that desires our help in evaluating where they are, where they want to be, and the steps to get there. So, any of our churches that want such a service may contact my office and we can discuss further what is required and a time frame.
Right now, the consultation team is myself, Pat Jones, and your cluster leader (Mark Ralph, pastor of the UB church in Sunfield, Mich., is Banner of Christ’s cluster leader). Both Pat and I received training to conduct these weekends, and in January we will expose all of our cluster leaders to some initial training in the process.
A second consultation is already scheduled for another Michigan church. Again, this is entirely a service we provide to our churches. Some churches may never need such a service, and that is great and fine. But others might see some real benefit from it. I’d be happy to talk with you.
But here is the bottom line: whether or not you schedule a consultation weekend is not an issue with me. Seeing our churches become healthy, missional, with an outward focus in reaching their community–that is a serious issue with me. What I want from our churches is not the issue, either, but what God wants. And he has told us what that is: make disciples (Matt. 28:16-20) by evangelizing, educating, and enlisting. If this office can help you become engaged in this great task, all you need to do is ask!