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Good Grief!

Good Grief!
Blog by Interim Pastor Charlie Worley
March 15, 2018
Recently, at a Town Hall meeting of our church, I said that when a pastor leaves a church for any reason, both the pastor and his family and the church will experience grief. Let me go deeper on that topic.
First, what is grief?
I define grief this way: grief is the largely emotional response one has to loosing something or someone that has shaped one’s life. It can also include mental, physical, social and/or spiritual responses to loss. Healthy grief involves a process, and individuals respond to loss at their own unique pace and way.
Whenever there is a loss of any kind, people need to go through a grieving process. The same is true of churches that go through the loss of a pastor. As with humans, an abrupt or unexpected departure of a pastor from a church is a loss that makes the grieving even more difficult or even divisive in the church. Churches can grieve just like individuals or families.
It is widely acknowledged that the grief process involves stages of resolution and recovery. In 1969, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross introduced the now famous “five stages of grief” from her observations of terminally-ill patients. It is predictable that churches who “lose” a pastor for retirement, resignation, dismissal, leaving for a call to another church or ministry, or death will experience some or all of these stages.
Stage one of the grieving process is denial. Some people in the church may think or say, “This can’t be happening to us.” If it’s not clear why a pastor left, rumors tend to form as a way of denying that there may have been good reasons for the loss. Pointing fingers of blame at others or leadership may also be a way of denying the truth behind what happened.
Stage two is anger. This is the “Why is this happening to us?” stage. People in the church look for others to blame and strong emotions and reactions prevail. Some even leave the church because they blame others in the church for what just happened.
Stage three of the process is bargaining. In stage three, people or even groups within the church will try to bargain with the church leadership to correct or reverse what happened that caused the pastor to leave. “We’ll do this if you do that,” comes to mind.
Stage four is depression. Depression grief may cause people to back away from leadership or ministry roles. The church may lose a sense of hope and vision. Sadness prevails and people tend to feel lonely and rejected.
Stage five of the grieving process is acceptance. If the church is able to get to stage five, people in the church become at peace with what has been lost when the pastor(s) left the church. At this stage, a hope and future for the church can re-emerge and a vision and passion for the future can be regained. This is a goal for the Transitional Interim Pastor as he helps the church to grieve and heal from the loss it has sustained. The church family comes to terms with their “loss” and begins to look forward to the new pastor and future for the church.
Here are a few additional thoughts about grieving of the “loss” of a pastor.
A sudden or abrupt departure or death of a pastor tends to create stronger emotions or difficulty in working through the process. Churches need some time following a resignation to process the emotions and reasons behind the loss of a pastor for whatever reason. Time may also be needed for resolving any conflict and saying “goodbye” in a healthy way.
When one loss is piled on another such as we have experienced at our church, it makes grieving more difficult but still very possible with God’s help. We may need to address these losses together so that our new pastor can come to a church that has grieved well and is ready to move on toward a new hope and future.
The pastor and his wife and family will also be experiencing some or all of the stages of grief, so they will also need time and support to process grief in a healthy way that is uniquely tailored to their needs.
Going through grief in a healthy way can best happen when done with others. In Galatians 6:2, the Bible says, “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” And in Romans 12:15b, the Word declares, “…weep with those who weep.” Just ask those in GriefShare, our grief recovery support group, about what it means to share with others who are also grieving.
Good grief is possible with God’s help and by joining hearts and hands with others in the church. Have you been able to experience good grief over the “loss” of several of the BMBC Pastors and come to a “clean break” between the past and the future?
#grief #pastors #BMBC

What is Empowering Leadership?

What is Empowering Leadership?
By Interim Pastor Charlie Worley

Recently, a church health survey called Natural Church Development (NCD) was completed by 68 people involved in and committed to our church. This church evaluation tool is designed to measure how our church is doing in each of eight characteristics common to healthy churches: holistic small groups, empowering leadership, gift-based ministry, passionate spirituality, effective structures, inspiring worship, need-oriented evangelism and loving relationships. To date, this valuable survey has been used by over 70,000 churches of various kinds in six continents of the world. In fact, the NCD Survey was used once before at Buhler MB Church when Pastor Brent Warkentin was the Senior Pastor.
A result of particular interest to all churches that are evaluating their health is what’s called “the Minimum Factor.” Of the eight church health characteristics, this is one on which the church scored the lowest. It is also the one characteristic that needs to become a focus of work for our new Transition Team.
Before we discuss our “minimum factor,” we need to mention our strong point of the eight characteristics. The survey results indicate that our highest score was reported on “Holistic Small Groups. This characteristic measures four dimensions of our church life and ministry including developing spiritually-oriented community; the multiplication of disciples, leaders and groups; integrating newcomers and group relevance. Way to go, church. We’re far from perfect in this ministry, so let’s keep improving and growing our small groups and classes.
Where we need much work is on our minimum factor of “Empowering Leadership.” It is not
empowering the leadership but it is about the leadership, whether pastors, teachers, or
ministry leaders, empowering and equipping others for ministry as stated in Ephesians 4:11-14.
In other words, all the church leadership equips, supports, motivates, and mentors others so
that they too can become leaders. It’s about leadership development, multiplication,
delegation, training, coaching, mentoring, shared leadership, teamwork…you get the idea.
And so, our church NCD profile looks like this:

The new Transition Team will be spearheading consideration and work on empowering
leadership on our church so please give the members of this team (names to be announced
soon) your ideas. There is much work for all of us to do, so pitch in and help Buhler MB to
become healthier and grow in our effectiveness to reach more people and make more
disciples in our area and beyond with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
#BMBC #NCD #church health #empowering leadership #church leadership

News from the BMBC Leadership Retreat

News from the BMBC Leadership Retreat
By Interim Pastor Charlie Worley
March 1, 2018
On Saturday, February 24th, a BMBC Church Leadership Retreat was held at the Dillon Nature Center in Hutchinson. Over 35 people from our church were led through some exercises designed to use good communication and a realistic understanding of our church culture.
In the morning, the Church Council and their wives discussed how churches have lifecycles covering the stages of birth, growth, maturity, plateau or lost vision, maintenance, decline in attendance and eventual closure. Our Church Council members were asked, where is Buhler MB on a typical lifecycle? and the consensus was we are on the downward side where some apathy, questioning and polarization are present. It was shared that if nothing is done to reverse the decline in attendance, our church will not be able to survive in a few years.  Although the consensus was that BMBC is declining in attendance and many people have questions and concerns, we are in a season of opportunity to begin growing again. Your church leaders and pastors want to seize this opportunity.
It was observed in a video by church consultant Ed Stetzer that a big need in our church is for good, visionary leadership that equips people to do the work of ministry (see Eph. 4:11-14).
The Council also discussed my initial report about the Natural Church Development survey results. This study, involving over 60 church members at BMBC, revealed that we need to work hard at developing church leadership that empowers our congregation for ministry. To do that, leaders will need to learn about and lead by guiding, equipping, supporting, motivating, mentoring, coaching, delegating and multiplying new and existing ministry leaders throughout our church. An initial report was also given about the results of my informational meetings with 30 couples and singles. The results that you will hear more about later were also confirmed by the Church Journey Wall exercise by all the church ministry leaders who were present with the Church Council in the afternoon.
The Journey Wall was composed of a time line from the beginning of Buhler MB Church many years ago to the present day. On this time line chart, participants were asked to place Post-It Notes on which were the leaders wrote significant events or times when one of three things happened: positive events that encouraged and built up the church, negative events that got the attention of the church and affected its life and special events when it was obvious that God showed up and the church was greatly encouraged. Look for the Journey Wall to be posted somewhere in our church building.
The retreat ended with a good, open and honest discussion of what your leaders were seeing about our church culture, life and ministry, both positive and negative. I believe this open communication was used of God to begin opening the door for some healing in our church and revitalization of our ministry. Please continue praying for that.
Don’t forget to come to our Potluck meal and Town Hall meeting next Sunday, March 4th, to find out more about what’s happening at Buhler MB Church. Bring your questions for your church leadership.
#BMBC #Leadership #Leadership Retreat # Journey Wall #Church Council #Natural Church Development #Interim

Transitioning with Prayer

Transitioning with Prayer
Interim Pastor Charlie Worley
I just returned from the Monday night Prayer Meeting at Sunshine. In case you haven’t been, this is a Community prayer time. The original idea was to provide an opportunity for people from the various Buhler churches to gather at a neutral site to pray for our Buhler community. Four of us met this week at 7:00pm. How about adding four more next week? Talk it up and invite others.
Our church needs renewal and revival, but so does our greater community. God’s word in Jer. 29:7 says, “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” The Monday night prayer gathering is just one opportunity we have to seek God’s transforming work by his Holy Spirit in Buhler and beyond. But this is only one time and place to pray.
Our church also has a prayer meeting for those who will come early before Sunday School and pray for our church and its needs and ministries. Why not come at 8:15am and join Maxi, Pastor Dustin and Pastor Charlie for a sweet time of prayer fellowship with Jesus in the Church Office Conference Room? Those who cannot come and be physically present can pray in your room or residence during this time. There’s room for growth in this important ministry.
On Wednesday night at 6:15pm there is another opportunity to join others for a chat with our Lord after you enjoy our Wednesday evening dinner in the Fellowship Hall. The Prayer meeting is located in the Prayer Room just off the Foyer area.
Why not take advantage of your group meeting and ask for 15 – 20 minutes of praying together? It’s a great opportunity and an even greater need.
And why not start your own prayer meeting with two or three friends. Decide on a time when you can get together in person or a private place for 20 – 30 minutes of conversing with God.
Ministry leaders alert! Why not schedule regular group prayer times as a vital part of your ministry. Prayer is the greatest and most important ministry you can have.
Parents, teach your children to pray from their hearts. You may find that they end up teaching you to pray. Teach them to pray for their church and their community needs. Help them to learn how to praise the Lord and give thanks in all situations.
Everyone, use the new “40 Days of Prayer for Open Minds and Open Hearts” to pray daily for your church. You can find the prayer guides in the bulletin, on the BMBC website, linked on the BMBC Connection and also available on your smart phone as a daily reminder.
Let’s ask with the early disciples of Jesus asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
#prayer #BMBC #church blog #transition

The Eyes of an Interim

The Eyes of an Interim
Part of my role as the Intentional Interim Pastor of Buhler MB Church is to look at a lot of things in the church in order to get a picture of what’s working and what’s not working. I keep my eyes wide open at our church for that reason. In fact, I believe evaluating the health and effectiveness of a church requires more than one pair of eyes. Perhaps you’ve heard the old saying, ”Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,” made famous by Mark Antony in the play “Julius Caesar,” by William Shakespeare. You can help me coach the church through the transition time and pastor search by answering a similar call, “Friends, Buhler MB Church family and church people, lend me your eyes.” Here are some ideas on how.
You can help by looking at the positive “points of light” and “God-sightings” you see happening in and through our church. Make a note and e-mail me or give me a copy to me.
Keep your eyes open for what we can do better. Send an email to Julie or Bonnie in our church office and she will make sure I get your note.
Watch for how we relate to guests or visitors when they show up. Let me know what worked to make them feel welcome and how we could do a better job. In case you didn’t know, we have seen a few “guests” show up in the past few weeks.
Look for people in our church who are using their gifts and talents for the glory of God and share their names with me and what you saw. Also, I’m sure they would appreciate knowing you used your pair of eyes to see what they did for the Lord.
Observe how we serve our children and youth at BMBC. What can we do better? What is missing or what did we not do that we should have done?
Examine how the leadership groups at our church work and work together, especially the pastoral staff, the Church Council and the Deacons. Look for positives and negatives, what’s working and what’s not. Let us know what you see.
Look at the externals: the signage used on and in the church building and in the rooms, the parking lot, the gym, the church offices, the restrooms and storage areas, the use of our facilities and lot, our main meeting and worship room, our foyer and kitchen and our fellowship hall. What do you see and what can we do better?
Observe our seniors and elderly folk in and out of the church building. Go visit them and see what they need and appreciate. Let us know what you see. They have so much to offer our extended church family.
By now, you may be getting the idea of how your eyes can be added to my eyes and those of others to help make our church facilities and our church family the very best and most caring and loving in our area. So, what can you tell me that you see? Oh yes, keep looking and sharing. God is at work. He wants us to see his future for our church and get excited about it.


As a way of improving church communication at our church, I thought I would share some FYI with you. For those of you who do not know what FYI means, it is a common abbreviation: “For Your Information.”
Beginning this Sunday, February 11th, we are having a trial period of using no “greet your neighbor” time in the Sunday morning worship service. There are several reasons the Worship Board, Worship Leaders and I want to try this out for a couple of months. First, the “greet your neighbor” time is a very awkward time for our first or second time guests at BMBC. In fact, this exercise has been shown to be a top reason why many people stay away from visiting a worship service in any church. Another reason is the public greeting time is an interruption in the worship experience. We gather for worship on Sunday morning to praise and worship the Lord, not to get to know people in the service better, catch up on personal news or meet new people. Third, when the flu bug is circulating, it is good not to give illness any unnecessary opportunities to spread. Forth, we televise our worship services to those who cannot attend and this time of greeting is a break in the worship with no meaning for those who may be watching on their computer. So, let’s give this break a try and then evaluate it together as a congregation in a few weeks to see if it’s something we want to keep or return to a part of our BMBC. Let’s give it a try.
In the next few days we are sending many of our church members an on-line survey called Natural Church Development to complete. This is a survey on church health that is part of the Church Self Study that is part of the Interim Pastor Ministry process. The survey will measure how BMBC is doing on 8 characteristics of healthy churches. The Church Council, Transition Team and Pastoral Staff will use the results to help improve the life and ministries of our church. A brief summary of the results will be presented to the congregation at a Town Hall meeting. If you do not get an on-line invitation but would like to participate, please let the church office know and we will do what we can to include you in the survey.
Beginning this Sunday, February 11th, Pastor Charlie will be doing the welcome at our church worship services. The Worship Board and Team leaders feel that this will help our church do several things: start on time with more people in the auditorium, introduce your pastor to those who come to worship and help your pastor better communicate with the congregation.
A Church Leadership Retreat led by Pastor Charlie is scheduled for Saturday, February 24th, at Dillon Nature Center. The Church Council and wives will meet with Pastor Charlie in the morning for some interaction and training best suited to the needs of the Council and that leadership ministry. After a lunch all church ministry leaders and their spouses are invited to participate. Included in that time will be the creating of a “Journey Wall” covering the history of the church that will help us see how God has led the church and why we are the way we are as a church.
I will lead our first Town Hall informational meeting after a church lunch on Sunday, March 4th. This is not a business meeting but is designed to be an opportunity to interact on transition issues in the church. I will limit this meeting to one hour. All are invited.
If you haven’t taken advantage of meeting with your new Interim Pastor and his wife, please feel free to call the church office to schedule a visit or come by the church office for an appointment.
#BMBC #natural church development #transition #interim pastor

Bringing Home Ephesians 1:3-14

Bringing Home Ephesians 1:3-14
Read Eph. 1:3-14. What you find in this passage of Scripture is much more than a description of how God has blessed followers of Jesus with the abundance of his love, grace and peace. It is also an encouragement of why we should treat one another in our church as beloved members of the family of God.
Let’s review what we find in these verses. Read this passage and you discover seven ways we are blessed by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  
(Eph. 1:3) He has blessed you with every spiritual blessing.
(Eph. 1:4) He has blessed you when he chose you to be in his forever family.
(Eph. 1:5-6) He has blessed you with a present and future destiny.
(Eph. 1:7-8a) His death made possible your redemption. 
(Eph. 1:8b-10)  His Word has made known to you the mystery of his will.
(Eph. 1:11-12)  His will for you included your salvation inheritance.
(Eph. 1:13-14) His Holy Spirit has guaranteed your share of his heavenly wealth.
All true believers in Jesus as Lord and Savior have experienced and continue to experience all these blessings and more. Let’s share these blessings with one another by bringing them home to our church, Buhler MB Church.
Try giving thanks for one another as you see how God has blessed each one. This may just remove any desire to criticize others in the church.
Reflect on these blessings from God and it just might encourage you to share the gospel of Christ with those who do not yet follow him as his disciples. God wants to bless others as much as he desired to bless you.
Show grace to others just as God has shared his undeserved grace with you.
When you come to worship, study and serve with others at BMBC, tell others how God has blessed you the past week, maybe even through something they shared with you.
When you join with others and gather with the Buhler MB Church and before you say anything to them, remember that you are with the family of God and are therefore brothers and sisters in Christ coming to a meeting with your Father who loves you.
Make it a daily habit to “count your many blessing and name them one-by-one,” especially on Sunday.
God has richly blessed you so that you can be a blessing to him and to his family, the church. So how will you bless others this week?
#BMBC #Blessed by God #family of God

Who does what in the church?

Who does what in the church?
It hasn’t taken me long into my service as the Intentional Interim Pastor of Buhler MB Church to realize that good communication is not one of our church strengths. And one of the ways this reality shows up is in the lack of understanding about who does what in the various ministries of the church.
I’m speaking of a lack of what is commonly known as job descriptions, or the term I prefer, ministry descriptions, for ministry leaders.
So, during the interim season at our church, BMBC church leaders will be asked to review or write a draft of a ministry description that they can follow in serving the Lord in and for their particular area of service. Written ministry descriptions when done well can greatly help all of us to do ministry better together, support and encourage one another and pray for one another. I’m sure all of us want that.
A good ministry description answers the following questions.
What is the mission of the church and how does the ministry you or your team help fulfill that mission?
What qualifications are required to do your ministry effectively for the Lord and the church?
To whom are you accountable and to whom do you report? What does regular reporting look like for you?
What general duties or responsibilities are you expected to fulfill? And, what training and coaching do you need to do that?
How will you recruit, train a team and apprentice another team leader to assist you in fulfilling your ministry leadership role?
How long are you expected to serve in your ministry leadership role?
How often will you have ministry leadership reviews and by whom?
I will be coaching and helping church leaders develop these important documents and use them. I will also be encouraging all the ministry descriptions to be published and available for everyone who requests them.
One note to all of us about ministry descriptions: let’s use them for mutual understanding, recruitment of new leaders, prayer and encouragement, not discouraging criticism. Let’s make encouragement a hallmark for our church.
We are serving the Lord together for God’s glory!
#BMBC #job descriptions #ministry #church leadership

Transforming Our Church Through Prayer

Transforming Our Church Through Prayer

A.T. Pierson once said, "There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer." At Buhler MB Church, we are going through a season of transition leading to transformation in which we seek ministry evaluation and renewal leading to the calling of a new Lead Pastor.  

Perhaps we need some needed reorganization and new church health and vitality. We will need a new Lead Pastor who will “fit” our church and community well. Most of all, we need a spiritual awakening sent from God. All this plus all our other regular church needs will only happen if we are united in fervent prayer. To find out more about praying through our transition, study the prayers of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:15-23 and in Chapter 3:14-21.  

But study will not be enough. All of us who call Buhler MB Church our home church need to pray specifically for our transition needs that will lead to personal, church and community transformation.

Every one of our church small groups needs to make prayer for the transition a priority for every meeting. Spend time in conversational prayer that reflects the pray requests found in the book of Ephesians and in our 40 Days of Prayer initiatives.

Every worship service and church meeting needs to also make prayer for church transition part of the order of worship or a top agenda item.

Every church leader, whether an Council member, Deacon, Trustee, small group leader, teacher, pastor or any other leader of any church ministry, needs to pray daily for help and wisdom in making necessary transitions.

The soon to be formed Transitional Team and after that the Pastor Search Team need to make prayer for the transition and transformation needs of the church their top ministry priority.

To help continue the building of this church-wide prayer journey, I would suggest the following specific requests for intercession.

Read Luke 10:2 and ask God to answer this prayer for BMBC, specifically for a new Lead Pastor for our church.

Use the 40 Days of Prayer guides for your daily prayers. We are currently on the 40 Days of Prayer for Unity.

Ask the Lord for wisdom, integrity, transparency and unity for your pastors and church leaders during this transitional season.

Pray for our church leaders to have a sense of God’s priorities for BMBC.

Pray for church unity as we experience some needed changes to help make BMBC become healthier and ready for new leadership. Ask God to also help our church leaders to be good communicators.

And, pray for your Intentional Interim Pastor, that he will remain fervent in prayer and the study of God’s Word. Also pray that he will have the wisdom of Solomon for the church and the individuals, board, committees and teams that he will help shepherd.

Let’s continue our season of church transition and, Lord willing, transformation through united prayer.

#prayer #BMBC #40daysofprayer #transition #transformation #interim


Why Meet?

Why Meet?
Why meet? That’s a good question for me to answer and you to know.
One of the priorities of the first couple of months of an Intentional Interim Pastor’s ministry is to have some important meetings.
In order to get to know how the church works and how it is governed and led, your Interim Pastor goes to Council meetings since the Church Council is the main leadership body for BMBC. These meetings also provide hints as to the health and effectiveness of the church. I am also interested in how the current form of the Church Council help meet the needs of the Deacon and Elder roles for the church. That does not appear to be clear at this time, but help is here.
Other meetings to go to and observe are staff meetings every Tuesday morning. I go to see how the paid staff of the church work as a team and communicate. What do they do and how can the Pastoral Staff help them do their ministry. Deacons meetings and Trustee meetings are also important. I also will meet with Worship Team leaders to hear from those on the Sunday morning platform and listen carefully to hear what and how the order of worship and songs are selected. Of special interest is how can I help the Worship Team develop and be guided by a theology and philosophy of worship ministry for BMBC.
Other meetings are also needed including those with our small group leaders and Sunday School teachers and leaders. This is done to determine training needs, what is working and what is needed and how to improve communication and build up the church on the foundation of our mission for Christ and the gospel message.
A high priority for your Interim Pastor these first months of transition is the “get to know you and the church” meetings with individual couples or singles. These informal meetings are designed to develop good relationships between pastor and people. They are also a time to answer the following questions:
What makes this church unique or special among the churches in this area?
Give me a brief description of the state of the church as you see it?
What are the church’s strengths (Do well)?  If I lived in the community, why should I
   come to this church?
What are the church’s weaknesses?
What opportunities are before us?
What are the problems in this church?  What caused them?
Who are the people that have the greatest influence in the church?
What can we do in the church to increase good communication and build unity and 
   trust between the congregation and your church leaders?
These questions will be asked of all who want to participate. Please feel free to call the church Office to schedule an appointment with Pastor Charlie.
#transition #interim pastor #church #BMBC #church leadership #church communication #meetings
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