g. BUZZ

The following are statements from pastors from the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) who are engaged in the revitalization training and consulting ministry offered through the GO Center. Some have been engaged for several years while others are only a few months into an online GO Cluster. The ministry content of the GO Center is offered outside of the EPC through The Ken Priddy Group, Inc.

Dr. Rob Buchanan

EPC of Elkton, VA

Elkton, VA

Medium size church (220+ members, 150+ average attendance)

Nature of the training received: attended live trainings, read the material, listened to the CD’s, implemented the material at several levels in the church, and just recently participated in an online GO Cluster and phone consultations (all I don’t have is a t-shirt!)

Value of GO Center Ministry: This ministry has greatly helped to keep us on track as a leadership team, Session, and church. We have steadily seen our church grow with more and more people visiting and attending as we have made “people contact” of high priority, seeking to create “people flow” in order to reach lost people.  During the time I have known Ken and gleaned from his ministry our church has grown 20% and we’ve added a Fellowship Hall and more classroom space. More than the growth, this ministry has kept our focus on the Lord and His mission to make disciples of all nations, the harvest is truly ripe!

Rev. Dr. Ed Pettus

Princeton Presbyterian Church, Princeton, WV

Small Church (150 membership)

Currently in process – G.O.1.X training with Ken Priddy through online training every other month and monthly one-on-one consultations opposite months:

Our church has been in the EPC for nearly two years transferring from the PCUSA.  We lost approximately eight families from our move and have been searching for ways to revitalize our church beyond our excitement of being “home” again in the EPC.  Thus far the training has been helpful in considering ways to initiate strategies for growth and renewal.  My goal is to change the culture for the church from the settled “if you build it they will come” attitude to a Great Commission attitude of going out to meet people where they are.  I have begun one-on-one discussions and teaching time with individuals who may be interested in this ministry of revitalization.  The process is perhaps slower in our setting due to so few having a vision for the lost and a vision for the church that would exceed our current comfort levels.  Having Ken available and this training has given me and our church the tools we need to become more effective for ministry and revitalization.

My only fear is that this training will be viewed by some in the church as just one more thing to do or as just another program to “try”.   I believe it will take more one-on-one conversations to get us equipped to fully implement the GO1X Matrix.

Rev. Rob Chambers

Garden Memorial Presbyterian Church, Charlotte NC

63 active members, average 35 for worship

In the past year I have attended conferences with Ken Priddy and other speakers whom Ken has lined up. I have participated in Go clusters online. Ken and I have talked one on one on the phone. Ken has come to my church and spoken to my session which was extremely helpful. The excitement that I had received from attending the conferences I finally saw on the faces of my session members.

I have been ordained and at Garden Memorial for a little less than four years. We have an older membership and the church has been in decline for years. Our odds for long term survival do not look good. Our members tend to be set in their ways and have difficulty dealing with change. However I have not given up hope and neither has our session or our church. Ken has given us some ideas of what to actually do with this hope. He has gotten us to focus on our community more and to reach it with community service. We have made baby steps in that direction, and need some more guidance in practical ways to achieve that. The difference is that now I believe my session understands the importance of this and it isn’t just me. We still have a long way to go, but I think we will have concrete steps to take to begin to make inroads into our community.

I look forward to continue working with Ken. He is a consultant that does more than give you some ideas that look good on paper but you never quite know what to do with it, he comes back and helps you think through the implementation. That is huge for us. Taking abstract ideas and turning that into ministries in our church and community that will renew our church are essential for our future. They are essential for us to be the church God has called us to be.

Rev. Don Neighbours

Northampton Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia

Small Church

We attended a live training seminar several years ago.  Dr. Priddy has met with our Vision Team and congregation a couple of years ago and recently he has come again to meet with our Vision Team. I am currently engaged in the online GO Clusters and bi-monthly phone consultations.

We are a church that has an aging congregation and it has been difficult to motivate ourselves to evangelize the neighborhoods around our church. Dr. Priddy has been inspirational to get us moving in that direction.  Our folks have moved from never mentioning evangelism to increasingly talking about making it the centerpiece of our church family life!  I know with continued prayer and faith on our part and effective leadership, and the ongoing assistance from Dr. Priddy, we will one day be a church with evangelism as the priority of our souls!

Pastor Steve White  (1 year in this pulpit)

Church:  Woodside Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Address:  2321 Roanoke Ave. SW, Roanoke, VA 24015

Size of Church:  Currently 20 members.   Was 200+/- 40 years ago.

Nature of the Training and/or Consultation We Have Received: 1 live training seminar, 3 online GO Clusters, 2 phone consultations, printed materials

When: Began in the Spring of 2014

Value of this Ministry for me and our Church:  It’s a little too soon to tell.  I took several members of our church to hear Dr. Priddy explain the G.O. program of church revitalization.  We decided to try it.  After we signed up we received the materials by email. Our Session reviewed the evaluation graphics and quickly decided that our church was in the final Decline and Death category.   I began preaching on the 4 areas suggested: 1) Preemptive Prayer, 2) Basic Bible, 3) The Cost of Commitment, 4) Missional Multiplication.  Session met and prayed several times and then chose 3 people to lead a “Vision Team” who were then tasked with praying and coming up with an Action Strategy.  Each member of the Vision Team gathered up his or her own set of prayer partners: 3 Prayer Teams.  Given the small size of our congregation this involved almost the whole church.   We prayed for several weeks and the V-T met over lunch to try to hash out a strategy.  We are now planning a BBQ and Bluegrass Outreach Event on our church grounds for our neighborhood on Saturday, September 13th.  That’s still a month away.  The project really seems to be coming together with cooperation from the merchant community, $ contributions, and from a general enthusiasm.  We are still praying earnestly that God will move in and through us.

Rev. Glen Holman, Organizing Pastor

Hope Community Church in Waynesboro, Virginia.  We are a small church (average weekly worship attendance of 70).  While we are a mission church in the EPC, we began our journey together when a large group from First Presbyterian Church, Waynesboro (PCUSA) left after a protracted discernment process and the subsequent challenges we experienced in leaving the PC (USA).

In the early stages of our life together (spring of 2013), Dr. Ken Priddy consulted with us providing a very meaningful full-day seminar introducing some of the principles of the GO training (Building Your Church’s Great Commission Matrix).  This training provided significant thought-provoking material, which challenged us to look at our life cycle as a new mission church, as well as the need for every ministry to have the same strategic design . . . GO . . . MAKE . . . DISCIPLES.  He also introduced us to the Vision Team concept surrounded by prayer teams.  We initiated this process shortly after the presentation.  It has proved to be quite effective in helping us focus on God’s vision for us, moving from thinking only about what brought us together (shared theological commitments) to focusing on what God is calling us to be for Him and His Kingdom now (a congregation committed to being and making disciples)!

Since this March, I have been engaged in one of Dr. Priddy’s GO Clusters.  These bi-monthly GoToMeeting video conferences have provided more specifics to the initial training. One specific gleaning from our most recent conference was to learn how to minister THROUGH our congregation rather than just TO our congregation.  As a leadership team we are discerning how to move people to be agents of ministry rather than just recipients of ministry based upon this teaching.

The ministry Dr. Priddy is providing is a true blessing for me and our church as we continue to seek for ways to apply these ministry principles to our life together.  I pray more of our EPC congregations across the country will benefit from this excellent training.

Rev. Jeff Smith, Pastor

Mebane Presbyterian Church in Mebane, NC.

We are a medium-sized church that has participated in a live training seminar conducted by Ken. This training helped team leaders at MPC understand what it means to be a Great Commission church, and a follow-up consultation enabled our leaders to develop vision and leverage events already happening in our church to better serve and evangelize those in our community. I am also currently participating in a GO cluster online with Ken and several other pastors. The presentations are timely and thought-provoking, and the one-on-one follow-up phone consultations have proven to be extremely valuable in contextualizing concepts to move me forward in changing the culture of our church.

Rev. Rob Westlund

Englewood Presbyterian Church, Rocky Mount NC

Membership 200 Worship Attendance Avg. 135

We are currently receiving Live Seminars through Go Clusters and Phone Consultations from Ken Priddy.

The Go Center of the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic is providing Englewood Presbyterian with resources, clarity of vision, a platform for transformation, encouragement, and a connection to the presbytery.

  1. Resources – The GO1X training manual and Narrative have provided much needed insight into where Englewood Presbyterian is (RECLINE) and path/process to catalyze transformation. We particularly thrive on the “action points” of the manual.  Ken Priddy is also a resource to provide leadership and wisdom in the process and to share ideas and situations about the process.  We are hoping in the near future to get Ken to do a church wide seminar or at least a speaking event.
  2. Clarity of vision is provided by the GO1X’s weighty focus on the Great Commission. This highlights and drives a discernment process into the Biblical mandates, promises, and foundations rather than pithy vision statements, marketing schemes, and technology.
  3. Platform for Transformation – the GO1X has confirmed what we were already trying to do at Englewood Presbyterian, change the scorecard. Numbers have always been the churches go to for evaluation.   We are trying to get past numbers and evaluate our ministries in a narrative form describing what we have discerned God is doing and how effective we were/are in participating with Him.
  4. Encouragement/Individualization probably relates to the resource part of this piece. Having a one on one phone conversation with Ken Priddy has given us the handle to be the church God has called us to be; individualization.   The GO1X is not a large, medium, or small church program.  It is a process for every church to go through to discern what God is doing in, through, and with our church.
  5. Connection to the Presbytery – Coming out of the PCUSA we had separated ourselves from the presbytery and the larger church. The GO1X has given us a solid positive connection with the PMA.  It is a pleasure to speak and write about how the PMA is actively involved in congregation.   This piece alone is worth going through the process for those of us coming out of the PCUSA.

Final Comment – The GO1X is giving us a revitalization touchstone, but more than that God is engaging us face to face in this process and we are hearing His Spirit inviting us to be the church in our community to proclaim Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Rev. C. Powell Sykes, Teaching Elder

Westminster Presbyterian Church
Burlington, NC (central North Carolina)
Small (80 members)

My training in church revitalization began with the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic even before I had completed my transfer from the PC(USA) in 2013.  Over the course of the year, I went through the GO Cluster book several times, in on-line meetings and at face-to-face events.  In 2014 Ken Priddy came to Westminster for a weekend of revitalization training for our Session and congregation.

This training has been very valuable at Westminster, as well as for me personally.  For a long time I have been saying that, over the past 80 years or so, Presbyterians have expected to grow through three main means: births, marriages, and transfer.  What I did not understand was the difference between outreach, which I was good at doing, and evangelism, which, outside the pulpit or the Sunday School room, I have not been good at doing.  Ken helped me to understand the difference.  He also helped our church not to look to big events as a means of evangelism, but rather, the long-term, hard work of building relationships and sharing our testimonies and lives with people outside the church.  One of the most helpful things Ken shared with us was the story of a Presbyterian Ruling Elder who told him that their church was not an “entry level” church.  Wow.  Jesus, help us to become an entry level church, and to carry the gospel to people where they are, not simply expect them to come to us.

One wonderful change that has happened in the past few months has been the closing down of a 15 year old teen Bible Study in the church, which met in the homes of the kids, and moving it to the neighborhood McDonald’s.  All of the teens still come, but now the parents do too.  And we have raised our profile in the neighborhood; the folks from McDonald’s love us, and, while it’s hard to tell exactly what the other customers think, they know we’re there, and they listen to what is being said.

Our Vision Team was set up in May.  We gather to discuss other means of evangelism, but also to pray and seek God’s guidance.  Our Sunday evening service has been converted to a time mainly for prayer and testimony as well.  We are learning to evangelize our neighborhood and our community for Jesus!

Rev. Steven J. Mattis

Sr. Pastor, Myrtle Grove EPC

800 Piner Road

Wilmington, North Carolina 28409

I serve a church with approx. 400 in worship each week.

  • I have studied with Dr. Ken Priddy through the online GO Cluster Consultation over the past year.
  • Ken also joined us for a weekend GO workshop at our church for our leaders and members.
  • Ken has preached to our congregation.

I have benefited as a pastor by the in depth training and biblical study through the On-line Go Cluster.  This was the beginning of refreshing and resetting my own understanding of the priority of the Great Commission.  Subsequently, our leadership has adopted a more biblical “mission and vision” for our congregation.  We realized that we did not need another “creative mission or vision” but rather needed to embrace God’s mission and vision for his world through his church.

Our elders continue to work through Ken’s material and are seeking to bring our church into better alignment with “Great Commission” principles and practices.  We are evaluating every ministry in light of these principles.  We are beginning to see real vitality in and through our congregation.

Recently we began to realize that God has already given us many ways of reaching out to our community.  We have purposefully reorganized our summer ministry called “Power Camp” (www.MGPowerCamp.org) to effectively serve and reach our community.  We have given many hundreds of dollars of scholarships to families in our community and also distributed them through the public school system.  This summer we were able to lead over 175 primary and middle school children to receive Christ as Savior and Lord and to begin the discipleship ministry to them and their families.  We served and influenced over 1000 children and their families through Power Camp 2014.  The momentum is building and the community is taking note of our service to them.

We highly recommend Dr. Ken Priddy’s material, consultations and conferences. I look forward to working with him in the future and gaining from his vast experience.

Dr. Bryan A. Slater

Grace EPC, Hampstead, NC

We are brand new church and averaging 130 in attendance this summer, and 98 members.

I have been to the High Impact (now G.O.1.X) seminar; the seminar for church planters with Dave DeVries, and I have been mentored by Tom Harcus. I have received all of these things in the last 3 years through Ken’s leadership.

These training times have been extremely helpful to me.  I never planned to become a church planter; but that is where the Lord placed me in this season.  The content of the seminars has rearranged my understanding of the priorities of a church planter, and has ingrained in me a philosophy of ministry which I have found to be life giving and effective.  The most helpful thing to me was being mentored by an experienced church planter.  Each time we would get together, he would ask about things, and then push me to try something else.  I would listen and seek to implement because I knew I would meet with him again in a few weeks.  We formed a friendship which was excellent, but Tom’s modeling and challenges are what the Lord used to get Grace EPC off the ground and vibrant right now.  I love engaging others in the community with the love of Christ and discerning ways to impact the community around us.  As I trained new elders, I have used Ken’s material, because I want the DNA of Grace to be an inclining church, who mentors young Christians, and who impacts the whole community.  People at Grace know that we are called to bless others and they are starting to do this on their own, without my prodding them.  This is the most fun I have had in church ministry!

Rev. Tom Clymer

Waterbrook CommunityChurch

Longs, SC (North Myrtle Beach area)

Size – Medium: My primary training has been with GO Clusters under Ken Priddy’s leadership.  I have been a participant since March, 2014 and expect to continue on an on-going basis.

After leaving the PC(USA) 5 years ago, the Lord led me to plant Waterbrook Community Church with a lot of faith and 17 people.  The church is located in a shopping center and is now a congregation of approximately 400. Though that sounds good (we have been deeply blessed), I have been amazed at how rapidly a congregation can transition from an inclining movement into a reclining position.  Though I have extensive experience in church redevelopment, I felt that I and our leadership needed a lens and process to help us continue as a vital church.  The GO Center has been perfect for that due to the terrific information provided and the step by step process it provides for a pastor and leadership team with ongoing professional leadership guidance.

As a note, I have done the ministry of revitalization in several churches and would have given anything to have had this type of personalized resource.  I would have avoided several minefields and I believe that I would have been much more productive.

Dr. James Banks

Peace Church, Durham, NC

Small Church

GO Cluster participation as well as phone consultation with Ken Priddy and Tom Harcus within the past 2 years.

The training we received through individual consultation and GO Cluster participation was absolutely invaluable for our church.  Rather than a “one size fits all” approach, this provided specific, detailed attention necessary for assessing the Spirit’s unique work here.  Peace is attempting a “prayer based model” for church growth, which is not part of a standard “church growth” paradigm.  Ken and Tom did not “despise the day of small things;” both recognized that what God is doing here is impacting lives not only in Durham and nationally but in many countries (I have been blessed with a writing ministry in the area of prayer—especially prayer for families with prodigals—and the church embraces this ministry as their own).  The outstanding consultation and insight provided enabled us to investigate the relationship between prayer and evangelism in practical ways that have helped us reach deeper into our community.  Further encouragement in a missional outlook through regular training at Presbytery meetings has also been indispensable (a recent presentation of “Christianity Explored” was very well received, and we will be launching our first outreach effort with it this Fall).  Peace is now exhibiting positive numerical growth, financial stability, and fresh vitality and enthusiasm for a true Kingdom ministry.

Rev. Anthony Rodriguez

Isight Church, Black Mountain, NC

Small Church

We’ve received both live training and G.O.1.X.

The training that I have received from Ken Priddy and the GO Center has been invaluable. I’m a young pastor with plenty of people that have a heart to be on mission with Jesus, but that’s all we really knew. Ken was able to put flesh and bones to what we were looking for and point us in the right direction. There are times that we’re trying to make decisions about where we’re going that I still hear Ken’s voice ringing in my ears. Whether the training has been a single day or over the course of months like with GO Clusters, I’ve always found a rich resource in what was on offer. The GO Center is both challenging and encouraging, a perfect balance to strike as Jesus’ Church is spurred on to take on His mission. This isn’t for big churches or wealthy churches. This is simply for churches. I love that this resource is planted in the EPC.