PASTORS AFFIRM DESIRE TO MAKE DISCIPLES

by Ken Burrill

Last month, more than 65% of Florida Conference pastors voluntarily chose to attend a seminar affirming their desire to be disciple-making leaders and to help their local congregations “create a new culture of mission and discipleship.” Presenters for the seminar were: Tim Burrill, Chief of Operations at Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children, and Tim Nichols, newly elected Vice President for Pastoral Ministries for Florida Conference who will take up his position in January.

Florida Hospital Mission Shared by Tim Burrill

Burrill explained the hospital mission with pastors: “To extend the healing ministry of Christ to children.” By examples in the hospital system, he showed how to make the mission permeate throughout an entire church so every member is a part of it and not just the pastor and key leaders.

A few years ago, Florida Hospital for Children was near the bottom percentile nationwide in customer service, and now it is at the very top. The turnaround can be attributed to these key drivers for success:

  • Ownership at all levels: executive leaders, front line managers, andĀ front line employees.
  • Continuous reinforcement.
  • Connecting to real “purpose.”

The parallels in the transformation process in hospital work and church work are very similar. Ownership of the mission statement still brings results.

Church Transformation Process Shared by Tim Nichols

“The church exists to be God’s instrument of grace and life transformation,” says Nichols, “as we and others learn how to experience a personal relationship with our Creator, Savior, and God.” He shared eight elements of a healthy transformation process:

  1. Vision Clarity
  2. Communicating Shared Vision
  3. Sense of Urgency
  4. Team Support and Cooperation
  5. A Simple Strategy to Accomplish Mission/Value
  6. Share the Success Stories
  7. Measure Progress
  8. Stay Focused on People

Pastors were given several ideas of how to implement each of these elements in their churches. Nichols also shared that the Ministerial Department stands behind each pastor with prayer as well as providing physical support in the form of small group meetings with pastors, training seminars, church board retreats, video conferencing, and resource materials.

In the end, “the goal is not just to change, but to change with purpose.”