Leading a Turnaround Church

Leading a Turnaround Church

by Dr. Donald E. Ross – Author and Presenter at the 2017 Summit

What is a Turnaround Church? Turnaround Churches experience a decline nearly impossible to reverse, but somehow they do. Most churches in similar situations simply go out of business. What are the critical aspects of a church and pastor that see terminal decline turned into growth?

Let’s begin by defining a turnaround church. A turnaround church has recognized that, due to consistent decline, within a generation it will be out of business. This church has courageously decided to face the truth and make a series of extremely difficult and painful decisions to reverse that trend.


I’d like to say that “Everything rises or falls on mission” but I think someone has already captured that sentiment. Regardless, mission is critical. Understanding that both the leader and the church are part of the mission of Christ gives the needed elements to embrace a turnaround.

Mission says, “This is not about me, it’s about Jesus”. When we understand that nearly 4,000 churches a year go out of business, and we are not planting nearly enough to replace them, we can understand that turning around declining churches as well as planting new ones is very much a part of Christ’s mission.

In many ways, the challenge of a turnaround church was written for us 2,000 years ago in Revelation, 3:1-3. The letter to the church of Sardis says:  “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”

In a very real sense, a declining church may have had a reputation of being alive, but it is not alive now. It is on life support and needs help.

Both the pastor and church leaders need to work together to “strengthen what remains and is about to die.” This is hard work, but possible and needed, if the leaders and church are willing to pay the price to not only survive, but also learn to thrive.


This turnaround is usually led by a visionary leader, often brought in from outside the church’s current culture. The value of bringing in new leaders is that they are not stuck in the current thinking trends or bogged down by the church’s history. Continue reading

LeadNow National Internship

LeadNow National Internship

by Ashleigh Owens – LeadNow Internship Director

LeadNow National InternshipPastors, if you knew what you know now, what is one thing you would change about the way you lead? Picture how it would have benefited your organization to fully understand the importance of empowering culture while driving mission and vision. Imagine a future staff member walking into a leadership role equipped with all the desired competencies.

General Baptist Ministries is super excited to announce this fall we will be launching our very first internship program, LeadNow. LeadNow is specifically designed to provide exposure, experience, one-on-one training, and essential teaching necessary to build leadership competency in the intern’s ministry area. If you know of anyone who would be interested in this program, please give them our internship directors information to learn more about this opportunity. This program will be hosted at Relevant Church and is for 18-30-year-olds who are looking to take a giant leap towards reaching their full potential in leadership. Applications are being accepted for 20 interns from August 2017 through May 2018.

Are you 18-30 years old and looking to take a giant leap toward reaching your full potential in leadership? If so, General Baptist Ministries has some exciting news. This fall we will be launching our very first internship program, LeadNow, that will be hosted at Relevant Church in Locust Grove, Ga.

This program is unlike any other you’ve experienced. LeadNow is specifically designed to offer exposure, experience, one-on-one training, and essential teaching necessary to build leadership competency in the ministry area of your gifting. No matter what you do here, you’ll be on your way to reaching your full potential in the leader God has called you to be. Applications are now being accepted for 20 interns from August 2017 through May 2018. Check out the opportunities at www.leadnow.today.

A Calling to Go - Launch GO

A Calling to Go – Launch GO

by Kaebra LaGrange, LAUNCH GO Intern

Finding your purpose, or calling, in life is a difficult task. Many of us go through life searching for it. What is our purpose, and how are we as individuals best able to serve God? That was a question I had been dealing with until recently. It was not until I went on a life-changing trip that I truly found my calling and what I wanted to do with my life. I went to Saipan on a missionary internship opportunity and left changed.

For most of my life I had sort of just glided through. I went to school and decided to settle with an easy major. I felt no calling toward the degree I was pursuing. I was simply doing it to finish school and to be done. I knew it was a fast track way to a decent and easy life. I wouldn’t venture out of my comfort zone. I had everything planned out. That was until God threw me a curveball and my plan crumbled. It felt as though my whole life had crumbled. I now had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or how I was going to do it. I was searching for God, for answers, and for my purpose.

God then proceeded to open doors for me and He led me to General Baptist International Ministries. I applied for a missions internship and was thrilled when I got accepted. I was going to go overseas and serve somewhere. It was scary. I had no idea what to expect. I was sent to a school in Saipan. I had no idea where Saipan even was, but I was excited to go. I knew this was God’s plan for me and I was eager to go where He led me.

God orchestrates trials and tribulations in life to grow us, deepen our faith, and to push us where He wants us to be. If it wasn’t for my trials I wouldn’t have ended up in Saipan and I wouldn’t have found my calling and love for teaching. In Saipan I felt God truly speaking to me and showing me what He wants for 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

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

Mission & Ministry Summit Workshop tracks

Mission & Ministry Summit Workshop Tracks

Summit workshop tracks provide focusIn 2007 leaders of the General Baptist denomination took intentional steps to re-engineer the denomination’s annual meeting.  The meeting originated in 1870 when a General Association of General Baptists was organized in Junction, Illinois.

For many years this General Association functioned as a convention of sorts where various independent General Baptist agencies made their annual reports to the assembled delegates.  With the creation of the General Baptist Council of Associations in 1996 the business portion of the annual meeting was, for the most part, unnecessary for the denomination to function since the operational detail of denominational life was assigned to the Council of Associations and the executive staff that comprised the Leadership Team.

A new format that utilized powerful worship, practical training and intentional missionary contact caused the attendance at the annual meeting to double in just two years!

Now in its 10th year of operation the Mission & Ministry Summit continues to provide missionary connections and to offer powerful worship in large group settings while also providing practical training in workshop environments grouped into workshop tracks. Continue reading

Join us for the 2016 Mission & Ministry Summit

The 2016 Mission & Ministry Summit

The 2016 Mission & Ministry Summit is July 18-20 in Bowling Green, KY at the Holiday Inn University Plaza and the Sloan Convention Center.

Hotel Information

Join us for the 2016 Mission & Ministry SummitBe sure to make your hotel reservations as soon as possible, we have almost filled our hotel room block at the Holiday Inn and have set up a second block at the Hilton Garden Inn. The Hilton Garden Inn is located less than a block from the Holiday Inn and the Sloan Convention Center – just across the street. Our rate at the Hilton Garden Inn is the same as the Holiday Inn, $107 for single or double occupancy.

The New summit website is up and running and has all the hotel and registration information. www.gbsummit.org

Summit Registration Information

We have a new style registration form geared towards young families and makes registration much more convenient and less costly.

Family/Individual Registration

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