Last month Kingswood University held the Growing Healthy Churches conference with speaker Dr. Paul Borden. Over 115 pastors, lay church leaders, ministerial students, and educators gained practical insights for casting vision and creating a sense of mission within the local church.
Dr. Borden is on staff with Growing Healthy Churches and author of Hit the Bullseye, Direct Hit, Assaulting the Gates, and Make or Break Your Church in 365 Days. Few in the North American church scene have as much experience with local church turnaround as he does.
In his conferences Borden gives church leaders steps with real-world application that can motivate vision and change in the local church. He discussed topics such as the typical life-cycle of local churches, the Lego principle of relationship connections, change, transition, discipleship, evangelism, culture, and congregational care.
“For the church to gain a sense of worth in the community, it needs to be doing good deeds to demonstrate a relationship with the community,” said Borden. “Everyone comes to Christ on the basis of a relationship that they already have with someone.”
“Leadership comes from the pastor, not the congregation,” continued Borden. “In creating vision within the church the pastor must do two key things: pray and create an urgency of mission.”
Those who attended the conference came from evangelical denominations across the Maritimes, including The Wesleyan Church, the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches, the Salvation Army, and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.
For Major Sandra Stokes with the Salvation Army, the conference reaffirmed the importance of churches having a healthy focus on mission. As she works with officers and clergy at the local church level, she will encourage them to look for opportunities to serve outside the four walls of their churches.
Ministry couple Jeffery and Sharon White of Digby Baptist Church liked Borden’s “fresh, new approach” to healthy church growth. As they took in his practical steps and advice, they were renewed in their vision for their local church.
Anthony Iluebbey from The Redeemed Christian Church of God in Fredericton, New Brunswick, found the conference to be very relevant. “Our church is growing and we want to change,” said Iluebbey. “This conference is to develop me and my leadership.”
“Kingswood intentionally aimed to keep the cost of the conference as affordable as possible and offered significant discounts to pastors who brought their staff or lay leaders with them,” said Dr. Stephen Elliott, Director of the Pastoral Ministry and Church Planting programs at the university and one of the organizers of the conference. “I heard many, many positive comments from those who attended.”
The Growing Healthy Churches conference challenged church leaders to sharpen their focus as a local church, to be on mission fulfilling the Great Commission. Plans are already underway to offer a similar practical “how to” conference next August.