Awakening the Sleeping Giant: How Temple Baptist Church Is Getting Unstuck

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When Pastor David Whitten became the senior pastor of Temple Baptist Church in July of 2019, it was a church in desperate need of revitalization. 

After 10 years of declining worship attendance, our staff and leadership was forced to deal with the painful reality that our current way of doing church was no longer successful in reaching our community.”

Overall giving numbers were strong, but the money was being used to fund programs and events with no strategic purpose. Due to staffing retirements and transitions, the church was losing almost a century of pastoral tenure. It was clear that the church was in need of a vision for where they were going and the kind of staffing roles they would need to get there.

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Though he had been through strategic planning processes with similar organizations, Pastor David decided to reach out to the Unstuck team to help Temple Baptist find their vision for the future. “I felt the need to partner with The Unstuck Group because their strategy isn’t just to reveal what’s stuck, but to reveal what’s stuck and then provide a detailed plan to help the church get unstuck,” he said. Experiencing a new process allowed Pastor David to see with fresh eyes, and he felt that the onsite visit, secret shopper report, key metric dashboard, and leadership profiles the consultants provided him with all combined to produce a well-rounded and in-depth analysis of their church and staff.

But the process wasn’t always easy. Just a month into their consulting journey, COVID-19 hit, causing both The Unstuck Group and Temple Baptist to pivot and recalibrate. (Eventually, we jumped back into and completed the consulting process via Zoom.)

Pastor David shared with us that there were challenges internally as well, as staff members “struggled to honestly evaluate their current ministry initiatives and look at things from a new perspective” and had questions surrounding the need for a vision-clarity process altogether. There was a strong resistance to change as the church assumed hiring a new senior pastor would solve the issues they were experiencing, without requiring any other shifts. But David knew that “once the newness wore off, the decline would continue… because the ‘How’ in how we were doing church wasn’t working.”

After persevering through the process, David said that the Temple Baptist team “emerged stronger and with more clarity about our church and how the LORD wants to use us to make a big difference in our local communities.”

The goal of the Unstuck Process is not to simply renew your vision and strategy, but to put real, practical plans in place that get your church unstuck and empower you to reach your community for Jesus. Temple Baptist experienced just that. But we’ll let you hear it from them…

Where do I start? A new staffing and organizational structure, a clear 5-year vision, a zero-based budgeting process, a healthy ministry event checklist, better stewardship of resources, and fresh commitment to love and serve our communities are all “wins” our team celebrates daily. We’ve had over 230 first-time guests join us for worship in the last 3 months. We’ve had over 60 people attend our “Discover Temple” New Members Class in the last two months. We are currently running 78% of our pre-COVID attendance, and in the last year, have onboarded 4 key staff members to help us fulfill our new 5-year vision! There is a great spirit of excitement within our church in regards to the days ahead. I like to say, “The sleeping giant of Temple Baptist Church is starting to awake.” To God be the glory and many thanks for the entire Unstuck team and process.

Learn more about The Unstuck Process and how your church can start executing your plan and achieving wins in the first 90 days.

Jordan An

Jordan is our Digital Marketing Manager. She graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University and, prior to joining The Unstuck Group, worked in social media and marketing communications for a Christian non-profit media ministry. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband Sam, and enjoys leading worship at her local church.

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