Training pastors at boot camp
Training Pastors at Boot Camp in Craigsville, W.Va.

The last week of April 2016 was a milestone for Turnaround Pastors. Not only was it a blessed opportunity to serve pastors at our Boot Camp, hosted at the Craigsville Campground, we made a giant step forward in moving our research findings using The Birkman Method deeper into the training.

A common refrain, repeated by the pastors time and again, was a profound appreciation for the rich insight they gained into how God had “wired” them. It provided them the foundation to become more effective leaders.

Gary recalls training pastors fondly.

This past week I was blest to be with a group of eleven pastors at a Turnaround Pastor Bootcamp.  I am always amazed at the distinctives of the movement or denomination with which we are working.  The Body of Christ is so rich and diverse!  This week it was a movement within the holiness tradition.  They have so much to teach us – a passion to pursue Christ and Christ-likeness.

While that is their strength, so many of them were grateful to have us pour into them additional training.  It was a powerful experience for them to bond with one another in their ministry.  A burden shared is a lightened burden.  The relationships built will last for years.  Every pastor was desirous of ongoing involvement with Turnaround Pastor Inc. over this next year.

That was such an affirmation and we look forward to supporting them in their priorities this next year.  I so look forward to a “virtual” conference in a month when we get to visit with one another and encourage each other in ministry.  This kind of investment supersedes any other impersonal “conference” they could attend.  The pastors were exceedingly grateful for learning about how God has “shaped them” according to their Birkman Profile, and how they could apply vision, change management, and conflict resolution.  These are crucial to Turnaround Leadership.

Bud enjoyed training pastors to use a few practical ministry tools.

I was delighted by the way that the pastors grabbed hold of the simple strategy to lead the church in discovering vision, the mashup of S.M.A.R.T. + B.H.A.G. goals, and the need to “stand apart” from the church while still being connected to it in order to help their churches resolve chronic anxiety.

These are things the Lord provided to me the hard way (I guess that’s how I learn best!). It felt great to offer these things to the pastors so they could avoid the remedial classes in the “School of Hard Knocks” that I had to endure.

But the greatest blessing to me was that these pastors trusted us and allowed us into their lives. They permitted us to serve them by providing an opportunity for deep reflection on how God has wired them, providing great strengths and great challenges to their ministries.

I look forward to working with each and every one of them in the future.

Gordon thought the training pastors went remarkably well…

Anxious pastors gathered with an air of uncertainty. They already laid themselves bare when they completed a battery of personal assessments and showed us how their churches have experienced either growth, decline or stagnation.

Most felt stuck with a sense of frustration evident in their varied ministries. “Complete strangers” describes a number of these church leaders. As they took their seats around the tables, tense conversations and nervous laughter caught our attention. The scene is familiar. This is the normal posture of uncertainty as we launched into another Turnaround Pastor Boot Camp.

Not only could we sense uncertainty with the shepherd/leaders, we sensed it as well. We never know the outcome of such a venture but prayer marked years of preparation for this moment! As one friend puts it, “God always shows up.”

God did!

We added tools to their ministry tool boxes—tools to begin to shift the inward focus of pastor and congregation to outward, productive ministry. We helped them learn to navigate the challenging world of conflict while adjusting their schedules to include time for effective ministry largely missing from many day planners.

Lessons and best practices found receptive hearts. The promise of continued coaching left these shepherds with a sense of hope that ministry competencies can be mastered and churches moved toward renewal. We thank God for His direction and leadership with these gallant souls who desire to grow in their ability to lead Christ’s church.

To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Look out, West Virginia! The Lord has unleashed 10 more turnaround pastors. Training pastors leads to churches renewed and more people brought to faith in Jesus Christ through their ministries!

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