Friday, February 15, 2008

Pastors Comment about Change Without Compromise Conference

On February 7 and 8, more than 20 Grace Brethren pastors attended the annual "Change Without Compromise" conference at Northridge Community Church in Plymouth, Mich., which is pastored by Brad Powell. (Powell was keynote speaker at Equip09, where he dealt with the basic issues facing leaders who attempt to create change without compromising the mission of the church.)

The Change Without Compromise conference centered around leadership principles from the book of Nehemiah. Below are some testimonies from the conference (submitted by Tom Avey). The next Change Without Compromise Conference is May 14-16, 2009.

... I was hoping this wouldn't just be another conference at a big church trying to say that if I do what they do, our church would grow by leaps and bounds. And it wasn't. Brad shared his heart and soul about what he went through. It took hard work, lots of trial and error, lots of pain and hurt, and a stick to it no matter what mind set. I believe God blessed his faithfulness to the Word and his determination to see his church reach people for Christ. Several of us had lunch with a couple who came to the church several years ago, found Christ, and their lives were radically changed, and we got to hear some of their testimony. Hearing them gave even more credibility to what Brad shared. I pray God gives me a willing heart and determination to do the same and leave the results up to Him. -- Ron Sheranko, First Grace Brethren Church, Dayton, Ohio

I thought the Change Without Compromise was awesome. FGBC pastors can relate to his ministry because of his stand on the Scriptures. His message is extremely relevant to the postmodern generation that our churches are trying to reach. He gives you much food for thought and it's right from the Word of God. I purchased a copy of his book, Change Your Church for Good: The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping, for each of my elders and staff. I also purchased a copy of the conference DVD's. I plan to use them at our Elder Retreat this Spring. It's good stuff and we Grace Brethren need something to help us reach our world for Jesus. -- Ron Smals, Woodville Grace Brethren Church, Mansfield, Ohio

I appreciate Brad Powell's book and conference because it is not a person trying to tell you (or sell you) a model or program for ministry. Brad shares about the heart of the mission (to love and reach lost people). He clearly and repeatedly emphasizes that it is about reaching the unsaved to give them the clear and unchanging gospel message and see them be discipled to be like Jesus. I appreciate His clear biblical basis for his approach and his desire to see the greater Church, the body of Christ following Christ's example. He backs up everything he does in ministry with scriptural principles from the gospels, and Acts but also highlights other areas of Scripture. I left the conference very encouraged to see clearly the ministry God has called me to and what I needed to do in my ministry to change to strategically focus on lost people and properly change the status quo of ministry to be life-changing. Excellent conference and I would highly recommend it to every pastor and church leader. I plan to take my elders next year. -- Rick Clark, Pike Grace Brethren Church, Johnstown, Pa.

Change Without Compromise was a unique conference. ... (It) provides a comprehensive atmosphere that is based on principles not programs and practices. The conference is not a ‘model’ conference where you end up feeling like you have to become like them. CWC gave me a healthy picture of the church and what we should be striving for -- holiness and relevance, character and culture, set apart and sent into. Every church needs this conference. Brad is right on in his theology and he does a fantastic job of teaching on relevance. More than that, he practices these principles. The entire staff was there to serve those who came to learn. We were given an inside look into any area that we desired to see. This is a conference worth attending. Your only mistake will be to go alone. I highly recommend taking your entire leadership team. You will not be the same. Change will take place! -- Dan O’Deens, Gateway Grace Community Church, Parkesburg, Pa.

The Change Without Compromise conference was very beneficial. I came away with the conviction that the greatest change I need to pursue is a change in my own heart. My problem is that my own first love had grown cold. I need to grow in my love for Jesus. I need to love the things that Jesus loves. I need to allow God's Word to guide and motivate my values and priorities. I confess that recently I have found myself following the sheep rather than following the Shepherd. The first session about dependence on prayer was worth the trip. The session devoted to worship was one of the best worship experiences I've had in a long time. Sometimes it was because of the music, sometimes it was in spite of it, but I felt God's presence and His Spirit ministered to my soul. -- Steve Makofka, Centerville Grace Brethren Church, Ohio

The CWC conference ... affirmed the change process that we have been going through as a church over the last several years. We have sought to build health back into the church, and the biblical principles that were offered, while not necessarily new and groundbreaking, were good reminders that what we are doing ... is at the heart of God as well. If you want to work through change with your church, this conference is a good one to attend. I signed up for the seminars too - only went to one because of weather issues for me and travelling. I actually was more interested in the second one that I didn't get to. The one I attended was on recruiting and keeping volunteers. As with the conference itself, there were some good reminders of practical things to do along the way. I was reminded that I need to celebrate them more and honor their work and commitment to the church and the Lord in that way. -- Jason Carmean, Grace Brethren Church, Lexington, Ohio


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