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Transformational Church

This update is from Stuart Mahan, senior pastor of the GCI congregation in Toledo, OH.

I was blessed last year in February to become the pastor of Grace Family Fellowship, the GCI congregation in Toledo, OH. My story is somewhat unique, in that I had been a bricklayer for 23 years with “on the job training” as the congregation’s youth ministry leader. Recently I was selected to become the new senior pastor following the retirement of our pastor, Larry Brown.

As part of the process of being hired as the new senior pastor, I was given a pastoral assessment by Church Administration and Development (CAD). Based on the assessment, CAD recommended that I lead our congregation in utilizing CAD’s Transformational Church consulting services. I was unsure what this was but signed us up. The initial step was to lead the congregation through a Transformational Church Assessment, using an online survey instrument that has about 80 questions pertaining to all aspects of our local church (worship, leadership, community involvement and other vital areas of church life).

Following completion of the survey, we held a Discovery Retreat. This all-day event was facilitated by our Transformational Church consultant, who in our case was Ted Johnston from CAD. Ted helped us unpack all the information gathered in the survey. Following the retreat, Ted took what we had learned together in the assessment and retreat and prepared an Action Plan for our congregation. This plan is proving invaluable for me as a new pastor. It summarizes what we learned about our strengths and weaknesses and offers guidance as to the direction we need to be moving as a congregation.

Pastors are to be leaders, helping the congregation see where God is working and encouraging them to join him there. But this can be difficult to do when even the pastor is unsure as to what direction the church needs to be moving. The Action Plan has become a blueprint for building the future of our congregation. After spending 23 years in the construction trades, this approach fits me perfectly. As an inexperienced pastor, I now know what I need to focus on and in what direction to proceed.

As a result of the Transformational Church process, we now have in place a new Mission/Vision Statement. We also have a new leadership team and advisory team in operation. All are aware of where we want to go and what our mission in Toledo is. The feeling of confidence and direction has been encouraging not only to the leadership, but to the whole congregation as well. There is a sense of purpose in everything we do. We have goals and know what we are aiming for.

We may not have all the answers, but then God does not always give the complete lay of the land. That is where the adventure comes into play, and having the faith and knowledge that it is God’s work, not ours.

I would encourage any pastor who may feel the need for an updated “blueprint” to check into CAD’s Transformational Church consulting services It was one of the wisest instructions given to me, and I am thankful for it.

To learn more about CAD’s Transformational Church consulting services, go to http://mindev.gci.org/services.htm (look in the right-hand column), or telephone the CAD office.