Joy May Anselmo: Our church recently had a Visioning Workshop led by Rev Tom Barlow. It was all day Saturday and Sunday after church until 5 0’clock. Most of us were not looking forward to a workshop telling us how good secular leadership could help our church, and fortunately that is NOT what we got. Rev Barlow started with prayer asking for God’s discernment and asked throughout the weekend for God’s leading.
Everyone I have talked with was moved by how Rev Barlow asked for God to lead us and we all felt that is exactly what happened. By Sunday afternoon we had a statement of our Core Values, our Mission Statement and our Vision Statement.
I would really encourage all churches to go through this process with Rev. Barlow. He allows God to lead him and the members of the workshop to a clear understanding of what God wants for each particular congregation. Each congregation has its own strengths and weaknesses. Only The Holy Spirit can sustain a spiritually healthy congregation, but when we lose sight of our core values, mission and vision we stagnate.
The body of Christ is us and we need to keep Christ at the head and not allow ourselves to become complacent in a world that is so very much in need of Christ’s healing and grace. We need to stand up for our beliefs in a strong and loving way. To fill the need for compassion and comfort in a hurting world where only God can lead us into His way. He told us to be His messengers and I don’t feel we are doing that as earnestly as we should.
Rev. Rick Carpenter: Rev. Tom Barlow’s visioning seminar excites lay-church leaders and secular not-for-profit boards to see beyond themselves to better define who their church or organization can and will become in the future. At both my small church setting, and for the board of directors of a 21 church association dedicated to helping people raise themselves out of poverty, leaders were energized to see the future and develop processes to make their visions realities. In both instances the “buzz” created by Tom’s consultations has continued for over two years.
Mary Ann, Lay Leader: Tom Barlow’s training seminars are fascinating, relevant, successful, and fun! The visioning session united us and set our focus on achievable goals. People attended that first session out of curiosity. They attended the follow-up leadership training because they didn’t want to miss out on it. Tom’s training ignited the growth process in our congregation and was foundational to the increase in membership and in personal and church-wide commitment. I’ve never seen such spirit, such vitality.