Transformational Church

I attended an event today about “Transformational Church” by Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer. The book was written based on research Stetzer coordinated in churches throughout the U.S. After writing the book they developed an assessment tool and other resources designed to help churches develop strategies to become more like the transformational churches in the study. For more info, go to

In the six-hour seminar I attended, I didn’t hear anything new. In fact, I came away feeling pretty good about the church where I recently stepped down as pastor to work for the Peninsula Baptist Association. I feel our church would score rather well in these categories as they were described to us. I know most of Lifeway’s constituency is in more traditional churches, and their products reflect this. Stetzer and Rainer are probably the two most cutting edge folks working on the denominational level with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Topics covered included:

Missionary Mentality, Vibrant Leadership, Relational Intentionality, Prayerful Dependence, Worship, Community and Mission

Before passing judgement on this new tool, I’d like to get some feedback from a church that has taken the assessment survey and gone through the consultation process. I’d be curious as how it stacks up to Natural Church Development, and the Church Health assessment tools. I spoke with one of the consultants who is available to come into a church to walk them through this process. It didn’t sound like their training was as rigorous as the training for NCD (which I went through several years ago).

Visionary Pastors

It was very refreshing this morning to worship in a healthy, growing church with a visionary pastor Lynn Hardaway has been a very effective tool in God’s hand to turn this church around and get it moving in a great direction. What I was struck with this morning was the clear vision that Lynn was communicating to his congregation.

Most sermons I hear are directed at individuals (you need to get right, do this, believe that). A visionary pastor, on the other hand, communicates where “God is calling us.” His message is clear, understandable and challenging. It is corporate and personal.

A visionary pastor has won the trust of his people so much so that the vision has an authentic ring to it. It’s not rhetoric or hype. This doesn’t necessarily mean that his whole congregation will immediately jump on board. The vision will need to be cast and recast, and communicated in various ways. Slowly, as small victories are won and momentum is gained, the vision will come to be owned by more and more of the congregation.