The Unstuck Group partnered with the Friends denomination to help them get unstuck. They have started to see positive changes happening and are excited about their mission, vision, and future as a denomination. We spoke to one of their leaders, Rick Darden from Friends Church Southwest, about the progress they have made and how it has happened.
How was your denomination feeling stuck when you first reached out to us? How are things going today?
Our denomination was suffering from a crisis of identity. I don’t think we had a clear idea of who we were. Like all other denominations, we are thankful for our rich history but at times that history was preventing us from moving forward in building the Kingdom of God. As individual churches grow older it can be easy to slip into maintenance mode. Our denomination leadership was spending more time dealing with crisis after crisis and less time focusing on the vision of “making disciples of all nations.”
Through the help of Tony and the team at The Unstuck Group, we were able to have unity around a vision moving forward. Today, we are focused on the key objectives of building the Kingdom. We are seeing a renewed emphasis on developing leaders, investing in healthy pastors, and seeing new churches getting started.
What were some of the high points of leading change over the last year?
One of the most exciting things over this past year is seeing the enthusiasm of many of our leaders for the renewed vision within our family of churches.
What has been harder than you thought it would be?
One of the challenging parts of this transition to a renewed vision is moving ahead with new initiatives and priorities while operating under a dated system of governance.
How have the churches in your family responded to the renewed vision?
Most of our leaders are excited about working together to pursue greater health and effectiveness in building the Kingdom. Some are struggling with the balance of moving forward with holding onto things of the past.
How has the ministry dashboard played a part in your effectiveness leading change?
The dashboard has been a vital piece in this process. Our denomination leadership was instrumental in developing these key initiatives so the terminology, processes and goals are common in our language. The dashboard stays in the forefront of our minds and meetings.
What else would you want other leaders to know about what God’s doing in the life of your denomination?
Change feels difficult in a church. Change feels impossible in a family of churches! The process of change has not been a quick or easy one for Friends Church Southwest. We experienced several years of fading vision, staff reductions and increased conflict among our churches. The old systems were not working anymore. Today, our denomination leadership and elder board are united in vision. The majority of our churches are excited about what lies ahead. God is working through us more effectively at building the Kingdom of God through new and healthy churches.
The Unstuck Group was vital to this process. Tony and team led us through the difficult task of clarifying vision and methods. We trusted the process and took the difficult steps laid out before us. We are two years into the transition and are excited to see where the Lord is leading!
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