Epicenter Group coaches leaders to discern ways forward for relevant, community-based Christianity, and to birth new the new things God is up to in the world.
A pastor, church planter or judicatory leader assuming a new and challenging task is wise to secure a competent coach, one who can stand back from the task and help the leader focus on the most important moves, and to sharpen the most critical skills.
Most of our coaching these days falls into EIGHT categories, across a broad range of challenges:
(1) Those who are planting new faith communities – We have coached some of the most fruitful recent plants in American Christianity.
(2) Those who are seeking to lead major transformation of stagnant or declining congregations. Some of this work happens in clusters of leaders from several churches (see Learning Communities). Other times, we simply work directly with one pastoral leader, or with that pastor and her team.
(3) Those who are seeking to lead a healthy church to a new level of excellence – these may be leaders of middle and large sized congregations. Often they invite an Epicenter leader in for an onsite consultation and then work for 1 – 2 years with us to bring their dreams to life.
(4) Those who are seeking to lead two or more churches through the journey of merger.
(5) Those who are seeking to plant or adopt new ministry campuses and thereby shift to a multi-site ministry model – along with those who are seeking to make their multi-site church function smoothly.
(6) Those who desire to significantly advance the quality of their worship services.
(7) Those who desire to lead their church in raising funds to advance their ministry to the next level. This may relate to facility development or significant ministry expansion in their community.
(8) Those who work as judicatory or network executives, seeking to lead and resource a region of churches, with a focus on new and renewing congregations.
The Epicenter Group has offered clergy learning communities to scores of clergy across the United States. Our facilitator/coaches excel in various ministry disciplines, from which they lead peer-based learning focused on ministry growth goals. The process lasts one year – and can be extended into a second year where the group discerns value in doing so. We customize a reading list of around six books for each group, in dialogue with the group itself. We begin with a retreat, followed by 10 gatherings across the year. Each gathering focuses on our reading, on particular ministry questions in each participant’s setting, as well as prayer and fellowship. Some groups gather face-to-face each month. Other groups mix face gatherings with on-line gathering, especially where wide geographic spread is a factor. An Epicenter Group coach serves as guide and facilitator for each group.
Our cohorts help pastors discern strategic next steps toward realizing God’s vision in the places where they serve. We can cluster churches and leaders by shared mission field (such as PCUSA pastors in small town upstate NY), by church size, by suburban or rural themes, by church paradigm, or by the area of focus (such as preaching, small group development or launch of a new worship service). We can work with a regional church leader to organize cohorts for a set of pastors or we can work with any pastor who wishes to gather several clergy colleagues for a shared year of learning and ministry growth. We encourage a lay component and partnership in the design of each cluster experience, but we will negotiate this according to the particular goals of each learning community.