Large Church pastors gather to hear about growth and transformation

March 24, 2014

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Pastors of the Iowa Conference’s largest congregations gathered to hear words of encouragement and stories of congregational transformation from Brad Kalajainen. 

The event, held at First UMC, Nevada, brought together clergy leaders who serve congregations with an average of 250 or more persons in worship to be guided by the lead pastor of Cornerstone Church, a United Methodist community of faith with campus locations in Grand Rapids and Caledonia, Michigan.

Kalajainen’s message was direct: “You can do this!”  “I think it’s a better way of expanding your ministry,” he said, speaking of a multi-site approach.  “A multi-site gives you the opportunity to have leadership potential.  You already have children’s ministries in place.”  He noted the importance of “having some systems thought through,” and added that a multi-site ministry “offers so much more stability…there is a stronger partner with you” to help emerging ministries “get on your feet.”

Noting, “there’s a lot of wisdom in the room,” Kalajainen appreciated the event.  “It’s really helpful for us to learn and to troubleshoot together…it’s helpful to get together to learn what the right things to talk about are.”

A group of nearly forty clergy from Indiana have met with Brad Kalajainen and Ken Nash, Cornerstone’s teaching pastor for a two-and-a-half day conference.  “That was really rewarding.  They all went home with a light bulb turned on, they said, with another idea they were excited about.”

Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble closed the day with some scriptural reflection, observations about the recent Pray-In that was held in Washington, D.C., reference to the Strategic Priorities, and some words of encouragement about the “unique and unrepeatable day.”  Dr. Art McClanahan invited the pastors to share communication-related preferences and experiences.  Pastor Mike Morgan presented an update on the work of the Design Task Force.  Pastor Chris Waddle, on behalf of First UMC, Nevada, received the thanks of the group for hosting.