When asked how he would describe the state of New Life Community Church (Carlisle, PA) in 2019, Pastor Ryan Brown explained:
“We were stuck. I wouldn’t have said that if you had asked me then, but looking back, the challenge of being stuck was really quite frustrating. We were still growing and pursuing new opportunities, but we weren’t moving forward in any consistent, strategic kind of way. We would take three steps forward and then several back because we really didn’t have a clear system and a solid strategy, so there was just a lot of confusion.”
When Pastor Ryan first brought up the idea of hiring The Unstuck Group, there was a lot of pushback. “It was a big investment and hiring a church consultant felt pretty outside the box,” he recalled. “Thankfully, we had some people who really believed in New Life and the big dreams and goals we had, and they helped us financially at the start. Years later, I can’t say enough how worth it the investment was.”
Discovering a Clear Vision & Measurable Goals
During the Unstuck process, the New Life team was able to have an open and honest dialogue about where God was leading them next. “Having an objective consultant leading us took the emotion and personal pieces out of it and allowed us to move forward with objectivity. I realized it was better for me to be involved and engaged rather than trying to lead the conversation myself.”
After their consulting was complete, the New Life team “came out with a really clear vision and measurable goals. It was really a very Kingdom-focused strategy and vision that everyone on our team was a part of putting together.”
One of the tools they especially valued was the Ministry Dashboard.
“Being able to set our annual goals and then be reminded of our 90 day action steps has been so helpful and healthy for our entire team. Rather than wondering what their specific roles are working toward or what they are supposed to be doing, everybody now has a sense of ‘in the next 90 days, these are the major ways that we want to accomplish our mission, vision, values, strategy.’ Having the green, yellow, and red markers provides a great incentive. When things are green, everybody feels good about what’s happening and everybody celebrates. It’s not like just one person had some wins, the whole team had some wins. So this big picture framework really helped us align our teams and get a sense of accomplishing a bigger picture.”
Key Wins from the Unstuck Process
Utilizing their Ministry Dashboard has allowed New Life to accomplish and identify several key wins in the last few years:
- “When we were in the very first meeting with Unstuck and talked about leadership and our team structure, we kept saying we needed more people in the right seats. We have over 15 people on our staff team right now, and that’s in a big part due to the Unstuck process.
- We’re seeing hundreds of people connect each week through our many on-ramps. Even the language and idea of an “on-ramp” was a huge result of the Unstuck process—we had lots of things that we were doing to try to reach people, but we didn’t have the language around why we were doing them.
- Our budget has tripled in the last four years. Funding is coming in steadily now—not just from our church tithes and offerings, but from our community as well.
- Our goal was to baptize a hundred people by 2025 and we’re already at 50% of that goal halfway through our five year vision at New Life.”
Since their first time completing the Unstuck process in 2019, New Life has built in regular refreshes and coaching sessions into their annual ministry schedule and operational budget.
“The objectivity of having someone from the Unstuck team come in and be able to say the hard things and push us beyond what’s comfortable is incredibly helpful… It’s easy to stay stuck in what we’re used to, so to have somebody help us to see beyond what is right in front of us is so huge.”
Encouragement for Stuck Churches
When asked how he would encourage other pastors considering the Unstuck process, Pastor Ryan said,
“We often don’t realize how stuck we are until we can step back and look at things through a new pair of lenses. Invaluable is the word I would use to describe this investment. Our whole team is finally on the same page and we have alignment around a clear, concise vision, mission, values, structure and strategy. It’s an opportunity that will greatly benefit your team and your own leadership personally.”
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