“I refuse to lead a dying church.
For every faith community
there is a faithful way forward
that will lead toward God’s desired future.”
The Epicenter Group works with scores of congregations and new faith communities each year. When you work with an Epicenter coach, you are working with our whole group. We collaborate and compare notes constantly. We read and study innovation constantly: both in the churches where we are working and around the world. Our team covers the waterfront in terms of skills and specializations – and we commit that if we don’t have the coach or consultant that your church needs for the work before you, we will find that person for you!
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.
Church planting is a rapidly changing enterprise in America and globally. We have coached some of the most fruitful plants in the western world in the last decade. One of the , became the fastest growing United Methodist congregation in America for several years. We have been around the block on house-church networks, multi site plants, vital mergers, and we still even work with a few parachute drops. Every member of our team has effectively planted at least one church, except for Craig Gilbert, our worship development coach (and he has resourced multiple planters in worship design).
Some of our best work is with highly effective churches, which in many cases have seen significant growth. We help such churches look beyond their current ministry paradigms in order to bust through growth plateaus and to the next level in their development. Typically one or two of us come onsite for 2-5 days over a period of 1-2 years, and then we stay in a coaching relationship with senior leaders and key ministry teams as the church lives into new dreams and plans. One might think that the most effective churches would have the least to gain from consultation and coaching. In fact, they will likely benefit the most in terms of the additional gains that we can help them discover and achieve.
Historically, most church mergers have been survival-focused rather than mission-focused. They were about downsizing and postponing church closing. We believe merger can be designed for growth and ministry advance. At Epicenter, we love coaching through the messy, hope-filled journey of two or more congregations joining together in order to reach new people. Our tests of a good merger include these: (1) the merged church functions as a new church in terms of internal practice and in terms of community perceptions, (2) the median age five years after merger is twenty years younger than it was before, (3) weekly worship attendance is higher five years after merger than it was before in all the predecessor churches combined, and (4) the facilities of the merged church are appropriately designed for the current-day ministry.
Paul Nixon, Trey Hall, Paul Moon, Rachel Gilmore and Craig Gilbert have all led multi-site churches as pastors or staff. Beth Estock has led a house church network. We have been pioneers in the multi-site movement in North America, stretching back into the late twentieth century. Paul will work with dozens of churches seeking to shift to a multi-site model in the next year through his work with Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church (the Churches Planting Churches program). Paul’s newest book, Multi, speaks to many of the multi-site ministry challenges that we address in our coaching.
About 90 percent of North American congregations are facing a grim future if some things do not change in the next few years. Lynne Alley-Grant came to Epicenter from a successful turn-around pastorate of an old down-town church in Lynchburg, Virginia. Beth Estock is an expert in discernment and visioning. Craig Gilbert can help your church move toward high impact worship experiences, in any liturgical style! Paul Moon can help your church connect with the world effectively in a digital age. Gary Shockley knows stewardship and how to rally your donors for an effective capital campaign. Our team would love to work with your congregation in discovering a new future that will rally your leadership and change your trajectory. We do not just come in, give recommendations and leave. We design a process over 1-2 years in which we walk with you through the various challenges that appear on your church’s road toward God’s next things.
Paul Moon is our Epicenter specialist in digital ministry. Technology and social media are not just for young adults and techies; it has become an essential part of daily life for all faith communities and for all ages. If a church is not able to work comfortably with social media and web-based platforms, its future will be bleak. Paul Moon can work directly with your church in a consultation/coaching process focused on web ministry essentials, ministry innovation and digital ministry. Or two Paul’s (Paul Nixon and Paul Moon) can team up to provide a broader consultation/coaching. Our two Pauls provide nation-wide summits called “Mobilize Your Church for a Better Ministry Story,” focusing on digital ministry strategy and ministry in a changing culture.
Craig Gilbert is our Epicenter specialist in worship design and renewal. Most American worship services fall short of the excellence required to engage 21st century people. Craig can work directly with your church in a consultation/coaching process focused solely on renewing worship, creating a new service for new people, searching for new music leadership, or working with your architect in worship space design. Craig can also team with other Epicenter leaders as a part of a broader consultation. Craig Gilbert and Paul Nixon recently worked with a leading American church architect in worship space re-design for a multi-site congregation.
Most North American churches will lose half their donor base in the next decade. Gulp. Not most of their people, but half their current income! Major rethink is in order for how we fund ministry. Gary Shockley and others on our team are ready to help your leaders tackle the tough questions of financial sustainability in the twenty-first century. We know the latest best practices in mobilizing giving with younger and newer church populations. We can also coach you in major fund development for the advance of ministry and/or renewal of facilities.
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.
Our seminar leaders will stretch your theological imagination and help bring you, and your church, into God’s desired future.
April 21-24, 2020 Epicenter will sponsor our first Desert Pilgrimage event in beautiful Palm Springs, California (Paul Nixon’s west coast hometown). We are working with a local resort to create a four day event that incorporates learning and playing, fasting and feasting, solitude and community, soul work and ministry pragmatics.
Paul Nixon and Paul Moon lead an ideas-packed day focused on three of four critical areas of ministry competency. These are (1) ongoing culture shift post-Christendom, (2) digital ministry competency, (3) embracing and managing diversity within congregations and (4) taking core ministries beyond the church building.
We are living in a multi world, where there will soon cease to be a majority of anything in the United States. All religions, all political parties, all races will enjoy minority status. And all great movements will bridge such diversity in ways that evoke a sense of Pentecost. Is your church ready to live boldly into the Multi Century? Content based in part on Paul Nixon’s 2019 book Multi.
The Readiness 360 inventory, authored by Paul Nixon and Christie Latona, is one of the most accurate diagnostics of congregational readiness to create new ministry for new people. Over 1000 congregations have taken Readiness 360 – involving tens of thousands of American church members. We have normed the results to teach some powerful principles about what drives…
Join Jason Moore and Paul Nixon for a day of learning about how churches create engaging and multi-sensory worship experiences around culturally relevant metaphors. This is a great all-day event for worship teams.
Tend the Flame is a spiritual encounter retreat for tired, hurting, discouraged, and even burned-out ministry professionals (lay and clergy) who seek renewal, healing, and practical skills for more joyful and authentic living. Gary Shockley serves as the leader of Tend the Flame.
Participants will experience powerful and practical tools for profound life change, discover…
We are not interested in equipping you for ministry in 1995. We are committed to helping your church thrive in 2020!