As the country began to shut down last year because of COVID, Pastor Taylor Burgess and his leadership team at Cross Community Church in Beaufort, South Carolina, made an important decision. As a church, they would not lie down and die. They committed to facing the future with courage. Cross Community has been working on transitioning from a portable to permanent space, plus navigating a capital campaign, all amid the pandemic. I spoke with Taylor, who serves as lead pastor, to see what advice he would offer other churches in the midst of a building project or other major change.
Recently, I spoke with Pastor Ricardo Smith, also known as Pastor Ricky, the founder of Classic City Conference, and Josh Gregoire, Aspen's Church Relations Coordinator, to discuss this sold-out in-person event, still open to virtual attendees. Designed to reach pastors, ministers, church leadership teams, and community leaders around the country, the Classic City Conference features top-level speakers that will challenge, encourage, and equip attendees.
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
At the beginning of the COVID experience, within the Aspen leadership team, we discussed the importance of pacing ourselves as leaders because we had a sense that the pandemic was going to be its own marathon. Perhaps this season has felt like that for you, too—a marathon with more miles than you ever anticipated.
Last week our team at Aspen Group hosted Design Week—a five-day focus on some of today’s most pressing challenges for churches and how design can provide solutions. It was an inspiring week! We discussed and provided resources about how the design of your church’s building and spaces (interior and exterior) can create culture and address—even solve—some of the most pressing issues facing churches today.
At Aspen Group, we believe lobbies should be vibrant, mission-critical space for churches. However, right now, your lobby needs to support your church in new ways as you relaunch in-person worship services and begin to phase in key ministry functions. It won’t look exactly like it did earlier this year, but you can still use it effectively.
This month, we had the privilege of hosting a conversation with Monty Kelso, President and CEO of Slingshot Group, a team that helps churches and nonprofits hire well and coach existing leaders. The topic was timely because October is Pastor’s Appreciation Month. Whether you’re a pastor or a church member, Monty shared tips on helping pastors maintain their resiliency, fight off discouragement, and stay focused in this age of COVID.
During our Equipping Frontline Leaders series, I connected with Aspen Group’s Ministry Space Strategist Greg Snider and Church Multiplication Specialist Jeff Beachum from Portable Church Industries to discuss how ministries could multiply faster and more affordably by integrating the strengths of permanent and portable church solutions.
At Aspen Group, our heartbeat around the projects we do with churches centers on so much more than seeing a building going up. We love to see how the Lord is working within the church, in local communities, and through teams. Our adaptive reuse project with Faith Assembly in Walterboro, South Carolina, was a recent opportunity to see God working through three different congregations that joined to form a new faith community. The church’s purchase of an abandoned Food Lion grocery is a beautiful example of what can happen when teams collaborate to breathe new life into a community.
As churches across the country reopen for in-person gatherings, one question has been percolating in many churchgoers' minds: We’re excited to get back to church, but will there be coffee? Amid a pandemic, some might feel hesitant to ask about coffee, while others have opinions as bold as espresso about coffee being part of their church experience. Recently, Kaysi Stanley, the Director of Sales and Marketing for HOPE Coffee, joined me on Aspen Group's Facebook Live, "Equipping Frontline Leaders," Monday episode. Through church partnerships and providing quality Honduran, Guatemalan, and Mexican coffee, Hope Coffee shares the love and message of Christ while helping fund projects focused on providing clean water, education, and safe housing for the poor. During our time, we talked about why church coffee matters and how congregations can keep the carafes flowing.
Three years from now, what stories do you hope to tell about your church as you reflect on 2020? Perhaps you’ll share how your congregation served your community in new ways. Or how your leaders found creative ways to gather for worship, more committed than ever to helping people grow in their faith. Maybe others will be telling stories about your church—how it proved to be an unexpected source of hope for them during a difficult time. Lately, we’ve heard from church leaders who are trying to write their relaunch story but are facing facility challenges. As you think about your ministry’s mission and the stories you want to tell, is your current facility proving to be an asset or an obstacle?