Turnaround 2020

Turnaround 2020 – A Challenge from Clint Cook

2016 marks the first year of a five-year General Baptist initiative called TURNAROUND 2020. Turnaround 2020 will assist General Baptist churches to discover and to achieve their full redemptive potential by the year 2020. What if…

  • What if more of our General Baptist churches would double or triple in worship attendance over the next five years?
  • What if our General Baptist churches experienced the largest number of conversions and baptisms ever in our history? Would we be a healthier church? A healthier movement?
  • What would happen in the communities where our General Baptist churches are located if we went outside the walls of our buildings and ministered to the hurting, the needy, and the underprivileged, just like Jesus did when he walked the dusty streets of his hometown?
  • What if, as church leaders and members, we started praying intentionally for the lost and unchurched people of our communities to come and visit our churches for the first time?
  • What would happen in our General Baptist churches if we wept and prayed over our communities as Jesus did over Jerusalem?
  • What would happen to all of our General Baptist churches if we once again relied on the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives and bring a fresh wind of revival and renewal to every General Baptist member’s heart?

If this initiative called “TURNAROUND 2020” is going to happen, please allow me to challenge our pastors and church leaders in a few areas.


I want to challenge our pastors and preachers to remember God’s call. Go back in your mind and recall what it was like when you first heard His voice, as Samuel did, or as Isaiah did. Do you remember specifically what you felt and how you answered? Can you feel the heavy burden He placed upon your heart? Church leaders, do you realize we only have a limited amount of time to share the gospel?

We must remember that when God called us to preach, or to pastor, or to teach, or to minister, or to start a local church, it was not an afterthought – it was for a specific reason. God does not call a person or start a church without a specific reason for doing so. Continue reading

Turnaround 2020

Turnaround 2020 Launches!

The new Church Growth initiative, Turnaround 2020, was recently launched at the 2016 Mission & Ministry Summit. General Baptist Ministries is pleased to announce the launch of the corresponding website, www.turnaround2020.net!

Turnaround 2020 will assist General Baptist churches to discover and to achieve their full redemptive potential by the year 2020.  Many participating churches will see significant increases in attendance.  Others will double or triple in size as they realize the potential the Lord has placed before them.  Still others will see revitalized programs and more effective ministries. Turnaround, by simple definition, results in something different.  Change can be awkward and frightening or it can be pleasant and rewarding.  Undergirding our overall approach to turnaround in existing congregations are four core principles that will always show up in turnaround.

  1. An outward focus will be regained or intensified.
  2. Members will display responsible, high-expectation behavior.
  3. A clear discipleship process will be in place.
  4. Leadership and relational skills will constantly improve.

Turnaround 2020 is offered to maximize Kingdom impact by equipping and inspiring local churches to accomplish the Great Commission.  Many of these churches are already well down the road of turnaround.  Others are just beginning that sometimes daunting task.  Thus in addition to the plan book, coaching and mentoring opportunities will also be organized for those who are willing to make that level of higher commitment.

Turnaround 2020 addresses three important areas of turnaround found in numeric decline, the lack of evangelism and ministry ineffectiveness.

These will be addressed through a plan book produced annually to provide assistance with assessment, systems development and leadership training.  A storyboard of real life turnaround efforts reported by a variety of churches will also be developed as a companion piece and included on the website.  The plan book will be freely distributed by download and made available to all who request it.

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Shelly Summerfield Team

A Conversation With Shelly Summerfield

Visit with Shelly Summerfield and discover the importance of your prayer and financial support of those among us who serve overseas.

This post was originally published in the 2016 Spring issue of the GB Messenger. Don’t receive the Messenger? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the Messenger website, www.gbMessenger.org

SHelly SummerfieldLet’s begin with the big question: Why did you go to China?

Some people thought I was crazy for going to China but long story short—I was called and I went. I told people I wanted to experience something new—like a new culture, language, or yada yada but the real reason was I wanted to experience God in a new light—different from the typical “American Christian” way. And I did.

So, how was it?

My first year was the best year of my life. I was on a team of seven in a relatively small city. We taught together, prayed together, kept each other accountable and did life together. Students were drawn to us—they wanted to hear about Jesus.  The second year, God did a number on me. I moved to a larger city, had a smaller team, had a hard time teaching, but I got what I asked Him for—an experience that would help me see Him better. In a new way, I realized my need for Him—His love, His identity. It was hard—but I would do it all over again.

What do you miss?

What don’t I miss?! I miss the amazing food (very different from the American—Chinese “buffet” we know here.) I miss the welcoming and hospitable people—caring for me and helping me navigate life in their country.  And I miss the strategic relationships that were so obviously planned by the Father. Like with Cindy. When I met Cindy, she was closed off to the Father. One day she saw my Bible, and said she wanted to read it with me. I still see her face as she responded to the Word and to our conversation and I ask regularly that the Father will capture her heart. Cindy reminds me how God really uses us even when we don’t realize it.

Sounds like God answered your prayer about experiencing Him in a new light.

Yes, I learned so much about myself living overseas. Like, I am sinful, flawed, and redeemed all at the same time. I learned He is passionate about His name being made known among the nations. I learned that serving Him isn’t about me—it’s about Him.  About what He came to this earth to do. About what He did on the cross. About seeking Him first and keeping our eyes on Him daily. Those are lessons I’ll carry the rest of my life. Continue reading


Turnaround 20/20

A Five-Year Plan Helping Every General Baptist Church Reach Its Full Redemptive Potential

Turnaround 2020Beginning in the summer of 2016 General Baptist Ministries will begin a five-year initiative leading up to the year 2020. Turnaround 2020 intends to capture a renewed emphasis on evangelism and church growth so that every General Baptist church may reach its full redemptive potential. Because General Baptists believe in a general atonement—that Christ tasted death for all so that whosoever will may be saved—no General Baptist church reaches its full redemptive potential until everyone in its sphere of influence has heard, understood and responded to the gospel message.

Our strategy will be to produce and distribute turnaround resources for all, to present coaching opportunities to those groups who commit to in-person and/or video venue sessions, and to help mentoring for one-on-one intensive connections.

A Program and A Process

Turnaround 2020 will offer programming content readily adaptable in a variety of local church settings. At the same time Turnaround 2020 will start a process that, over time, will assist participating churches in their turnaround.

Why Turnaround?

Church growth experts continue to remind us that approximately 80% of local churches in the United States are either plateauing or declining in their attendance. A church plateaus when there is no change in the overall participation in its ministries. Plateau sometimes occurs when a group becomes closed to new members much like a private membership club that blackballs all new applicants. Plateau most often occurs when a church only reaches enough new members to replace those lost to death, drop-out or relocation.

If plateau continues for any appreciable length of time, decline becomes inevitable. A declining church counts fewer participants in the current year than were present in the prior year.

Plateau and decline are sometimes rationalized as the result of strict faithfulness to the gospel that discourages half-hearted followers. In many churches plateau or decline have become the new normal. No one seems to remember anything else!

Plateau and decline, however, most often results from the loss of connection to the community and the failure to communicate the Good News in understandable, meaningful ways.

Programming Overview

Beginning in 2016 the annual Mission & Ministry Summit will provide a platform for the distribution of Turnaround 2020 materials. Annually a planning notebook will be released at the Summit for free download or for hard copy purchase. Continue reading

Summit Keynoter Speakers

Meet Our 2016 Mission & Ministry Summit Keynote Speakers

Clint Cook – Executive Director of General Baptist Ministries

Clint Cook - Summit Keynote SpeakerBorn in 1962, Clint was called into the ministry at the age of 16 and ordained as a minister at the age of 20. Graduating from St.Louis Christian College in 1986 Clint began his first pastorate at Real Life Church in Springfield, IL in September 1985. At that time the church was known as First General Baptist Church.

In 2011, Clint was called by the General Baptist Council of Associations to act as the interim Executive Director following the resignation of Dr. James Murray. After less than a year serving as Interim, Clint was elected to fill the Executive Director position on a permanent basis.

As Executive Director, Clint has continued his ministry as Lead Pastor at Real Life Church and continued and expanded the Next Level Coaching Network among General Baptist pastors and leaders.

Phil Cooke – Co-Founder and CEO of Cooke Pictures

Phil Cooke - Summit Keynote SpeakerAn internationally known writer and speaker, Phil Cooke has actually produced media programming in nearly 50 countries around the world. During that time—through his company Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California—he’s helped some of the largest nonprofit organizations and leaders in the world use the media to tell their story in a changing, disrupted culture.

Through his best-selling book Branding Faith: Why Some Churches and Non-Profits Make a Difference and Other’s Don’t, Phil helps churches and ministry leaders understand that they have to “tell a better stories.”

Ted Cunningham – Lead Pastor of Woodland Hills Family Church

Ted Cunningham - Summit Keynote SpeakerTed Cunningham is the founding pastor of Woodland Hills Family Church in Branson, MO. He is the author of Fun Loving You, Trophy Child and Young and In Love and coauthor of four books with Dr. Gary Smalley: The Language of Sex; From Anger to Intimacy; Great Parents, Lousy Lovers and As Long as We Both Shall Live.

He is a graduate of Liberty University and Dallas Theological Seminary. Ted and his wife, Amy, have been married for 17 years and live in Branson, MO with their two children, Corynn and Carson.

Gary McIntosh – President of the Church Growth Network

Gary McIntosh - Summit Keynote SpeakerDr. Gary L. McIntosh, has over 27 years of experience in the field of church growth consultation, coaching of church leaders, and workshop presentations. As President of the McIntosh Church Growth Network, Gary has analyzed over 1,000 churches, representing some 87 denominations throughout the United States, Canada and Southeast Asia. His articles have appeared in Global Church Growth, New Results, the Win Arn Growth Report, Leadership, Church Growth America, Growing Churches, and numerous denominational publications.

Gary is currently Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, where he teaches courses in the field of Pastoral Theology.

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Turning Point pastor Steve Gill

Turning Point Update

Turning Point Church in Bonita Springs, Florida launched in the fall of 2015. We asked Church Planter Steve Gill for an update of the early months of that fresh, new work.

This post was originally published in the 2016 Spring issue of the GB Messenger. Don’t receive the Messenger? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the Messenger website, www.gbMessenger.org

What has been most rewarding?

Seeing new people come to Christ and come to the first church for the first time is pretty rewarding. We are even seeing people who walked away or have given up on the church walk back after being away from for months and even years.

What has been most challenging?

Someone I know once told me that in ministry, ‘all of it is hard work’. Whether you are planting a church, restarting a church or pastoring an established church, it’s all challenging. It’s hard because we are pushing against darkness and darkness always pushes back! But we all know that it’s worth it because we are pointing people to know Christ.

What kind of life change have you seen?

The life change is the most exciting part! We’ve seen people commit their lives to Christ and even 12 people go public in baptism. We’ve already seen families dedicate their kids to Christ! It’s also fun to see people serve together and begin to build relationships with one another. People are starting to talk about Turning Point not as A church in town but as THEIR church.

One church closed in Louisville because their community disappeared in an expansion of the airport authority. They entrusted Turning Point with a large gift. What’s it like to carry that legacy?

It’s a privilege and an honor! In fact, we are grateful not only to that community of believers for their investment, but for many other churches, families, and individuals who have invested their generosity in this work. To all off them, we are proud to not only be a part of a legacy but proud to be have them help us reach people far from God.

Philippine Mission Team to India

Go Beyond Borders – Mission Beyond Ourselves

By Joyce Porcadillia, President of General Baptist Bible College, The Philippines

This post was originally published in the 2016 Spring issue of the GB Messenger. Don’t receive the Messenger? You can always catch the latest digital issue on the Messenger website, www.gbMessenger.org

Philippine missions trip to IndiaThe General Baptist Bible College, Inc. (GBBC) over the years has evolved from a small Bible school of 18 students to a multi-level educational institution. The dream to have a training school has been fulfilled. Through dedication, commitment and hard work this institution was built. We thank our leaders who have gone before us for their leadership, foresight, careful planning, and generosity. If not for their leadership and vision in the past, GBBC wouldn’t even be here today.

Most of us were not around when GBBC started, but we all know that moving towards where GBBC is now has been challenging as well as inspiring. The current reality is that in order for GBBC to be distinct in its offerings, we need to adapt to the fast changing landscape of basic education, theological education, and ministerial training. We need to be proactive in responding to the demands and needs of our stakeholders and the different fields of missions and ministries. Therefore, we need to maximize our physical, human and financial resources and adopt new initiatives to achieve the vision of becoming a premier institution for leadership development in Christian ministries and missions in the Philippines and around the world. Continue reading