Blake and the Arkansas Conference Center for Vitality offers these resources as a resource for others seeking tools for congregational fruitfulness and pastoral development. Many of these tools are utilized through ministry processes developed by the Center and deployed in conjunction with district and conference ministry plans. Other resources were created or curated by Blake as part of his ministry of consulting, teaching, and work within the denomination.
For Downloads referred to in Kay Kotan and Blake's book, IMPACT!, please click on the IMPACT! Book Page. For Simplified Structure Downloads from Kay and Blake’s book Mission Possible: A Simple Structure for Missional Effectiveness, please click the Simplified Structure Book Page.
Downloads and Links
SIMPLIFIED STRUCTURE IN THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Vital and fruitful churches must be governed and led in new ways today so that Christ’s mission for us can be fulfilled! For the sake of Christ’s mission and our mission fields, many churches are discovering that there are simpler ways to provide governance and strategic direction, so that the congregation can be unleashed for ministry.
A simplified single board structure makes it possible for your church to better focus on leadership equipping, missional alignment, and your next steps in ministry. Meanwhile, removing bureaucratic redundancies allows more members to spend their time in service as disciples who make disciples. By consolidating administrative functions into a single board, disciples can focus on using their spiritual gifts and passions for ministry to contribute to the vitality of the congregation as it seeks to reach the mission field.
Pastoral Transition Resources
Visit my Pastoral Transition Resource webpage for links, handouts, and information to assist pastors, leadership teams, and Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committees prepare for the season of simultaneously saying “goodbye” and “hello” to pastors in transition.
Kay Kotan and I have included a chapter on maximizing the potential opportunity for congregational impact during a pastoral transition in our book IMPACT! Reclaiming the Call of Lay Ministry.
S/PPRC Annual Timeline This ARUMC timeline shares expectations for the appointment/assessment cycle and suggested topics of discussion for a full year of monthly S/PPRC meetings.
Checklist for Pastors in Transition The ARUMC Center for Vitality checklist will help the current pastor and the lay leadership begin to gather the basic information that will help the new pastor during the transition.
Outline for a “Baton Passing” Meeting The included questions on this ARUMC Center for Vitality resource are gathered from multiple sources and are designed for a “passing the baton” handoff meeting between the incoming and outgoing pastor.
ARUMC Pastoral Transition Covenant (1 Page PDF) This covenant was approved by the 2014 clergy session of the Arkansas Conference and shares expectations that clergy should have of one another during an appointment transition
Susquehanna UMC, August 22-24, 2019
Navigate 2019 is an equipping event offered by the Susquehanna Conference (UMC in Central Pennsylvania) and the congregational developers of the Northeastern Jurisdiction of the UMC to help current and future leaders impact their congregations and communities for Jesus Christ. I taught 4 workshops.
Busting Through Growth Barriers: Hitting an attendance and participation ceiling? Bust through the barrier by creating adaptive ministries and leadership. Learn how to right-size your congregation’s structures and its expectations for the role of pastor.
Church Size Chart B/W (11x17 PDF)
Church Size Chart in Color (11x17 PDF)
2016 blog post from Taylor Burton Edwards, “Three P’s and Church Size in Worship” from Discipleship Ministries
Second Chair Leadership: Calling all second chair leaders: Associate Pastors, Ministry Directors, Executive Pastors, and Administrators (and senior pastors working with associates for the first time)! Strong second chair leadership can bring fruitfulness and missional impact into a ministry or congregation, and effective second chair leadership requires enormous skill and acumen.
Reclaiming the Role of Lay Leadership: While the early church and the Methodist movement were primarily lay-led, our modern church leadership models have emphasized the role of clergy and have devalued the ministry of the laity. This workshop offers practical and proven plans to help clergy and laity partner together again to spread the Gospel in a new day and age! Learn how intentionality in relationships, discipleship, missions, and leadership formation will enable your congregation to make a God-sized IMPACT in your community mission field!
Aligning Leadership for Growth: Staffing… Governance… Strategic Leadership… Leading in today’s church requires clarity of purpose and alignment of people, plans, and processes. Alignment is stewardship!
COSS #224 POLITY AND ADMINISTRATION Class at Arkansas Extension Course of Study School
I have taught the Polity and Administration Class for the Extension Course of Study held at Hendrix College for several cycles.
Course Description: This course focuses on the pastor’s formation and competency in fulfilling the role of pastoral administrator, so that a unity is achieved between the pastor’s doing and being. The development of administrative skills in keeping with the theology and polity of The United Methodist Church is addressed.
2018 Leadership Institute at the Church of the Resurrection
Pre-Institute Session: Small Church, Big Impact
POWERPOINT DOWNLOAD (138MB PDF)
Most congregations in the nation have a weekly worship attendance under 150. This workshop will assist you in adapting the BIG experience of the Church of the Resurrection and the Leadership Institute to your smaller context. In this Pre-Institute session, author and mission strategist Dr. Blake Bradford will join leaders of smaller churches in rethinking and right-sizing their ministry to make a God-sized impact in their communities. He will share models and practical steps for smaller congregations to simplify their decision-making, rethink community engagement, be intentional about discipleship formation, empower laity, and strategically utilize pastoral leadership.
Institute Workshop: IMPACT!: Reclaiming the Calling of Lay Ministry
POWERPOINT DOWNLOAD (102MB PDF)
While the early church and the Methodist movement were primarily lay-led, our modern church leadership models have emphasized the role of clergy and have devalued the ministry of the laity. In this workshop, Dr. Blake Bradford, co-author of IMPACT! with Kay Kotan, offers practical and proven plans to help clergy and laity partner together again to spread the Gospel in a new day and age! Learn how intentionality in relationships, discipleship, missions, and leadership formation will enable your congregation to make a God-sized IMPACT in your community mission field!
Adapting COR Leadership Principles for the Small Church
2017 Leadership Institute at the Church of the Resurrection
September 28, 2017
Blake facilitated a gathering to assist leaders of smaller churches (Average Worship Attendance under 100) in adapting what they experienced at COR for their local church context. Links for the PowerPoint and the MentiMeter poll are downloadable.
BOM Leadership in the Annual Conference: Recruiting, Developing, and Credentialing the Leaders You Need
Quadrennial Training for Boards of Ordained Ministry
October 5, 2016, in Chicago
Blake led a Plenary Session of teaching and coaching at the GBHEM's Quadrennial Training for Boards of Ordained Ministry. He divided the three hour session into three parts: Purpose, Partners, and Mission Field Impact, and each section included extended times for conference BOM teams to discuss focus questions (see distributed Handout below).
Residency In Ministry Process
BOARD OF ORDAINED MINISTRY
In 2009, I created a Residency In Ministry Process on behalf of the Arkansas Conference BOM, and this process became the focus on my research in pastoral formation for my doctoral project at SMU. I have also presented my research with fellow members of the GBHEM's Advisory Group on the Provisional Residency Process.
It is clear from studies about clergy life that early patterns and attitudes become basic for a person’s self-confidence and view of his/her ministry. A new clergyperson's way of understanding her vocation as a United Methodist Minister is created during this time, and research shows that it will last during the whole of her ministry. This is the time that that clergy set habits, styles, and inclinations for a lifetime of ministry. Through the Residency Committee, clergy mentors, and residency peer groups, the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOM) and Center for Vitality offer provisional ministers a curriculum that supports the practice and work of their ministry as servant leaders, to contemplate the grounding of ordained ministry, and understand the covenant ministry in the life of the Arkansas Conference of the UMC.