Sunday, February 9, 2014

Learning and Growing Together

University Baptist Learning Team
In 2009, I was called to pastor a church deeply committed to the work and name of Jesus.  She was honest in assessing the decades long decline in attendance.  One of her previous turnaround efforts brought a consultant to inform University Baptist Church that vision was lacking.  Discerning vision and uniting in pursuit of goals seemed a simple next step, but how?

Through prayer, we were brought to the Continued Excellence in Church Leadership Program (CECL Program).  Over two years, our teams traveled to the Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, WI to learn about congregational transformation.  We prayed, dreamed, wept and laughed together.  I was brought to painful realizations about my false attitudes about race and the Church.  Over and over, the Holy Spirit reminded me I was not the center of the Lord's work in this church; He was the center.
Milwaukee, WI from the Ferry
Because of the CECL Program, our ministry decisions are brought over and over again to the plumb line of vision.  Does what we are considering bring us to "see all peoples of the world know, worship and grow (KWaG) as disciples of Jesus Christ,"?

Because of the Lord using CECL, we have migrated away from a 40 year old governance model and adopted a more nimble decision-making model.  I am held to a higher level of accountability but I also have a greater level of freedom to respond to Holy Spirit driven initiatives, in a team environment.  We have seen students at Michigan State University come to a deeper knowledge of the Savior.  We have seen assisted living residents laugh and cheer as our ministers served. We have seen school children encouraged through mentoring relationships. There is still much work to do and many questions we haven't answered.  We have however begun to lean into the work.  We go together, convinced that the Lord is leading us.  
Appreciating sculpture at Green Lake, WI
Five years after first being introduced to the CECL Program and the Green Lake Conference Center, I am thankful to be leading a church that is still deeply committed to the work and name of Jesus.  We are continuing to take honest assessments of the realities we share.  The difference is that we are leaning into the next five years with a sense of expectation.  We're fasting together; going on retreat together; developing strategic plans together; creating ministry internships together; praying and discerning together; studying the Word of God together; teaching children that Jesus saves, together.

Together, we are seeing all peoples of the world know, worship and grow (KWaG) as disciples of Jesus Christ.


  1. We know where there isn't a vision the people perish! God is certainly working through you to fulfill His plan!

    1. We're keenly aware of the options and are choosing life and vision. The stakes are high as we obey, pursue and trust the Most High. You're a part of the plan as you continue praying with us. Appreciating you Sis'!