Both blessing and challenge make up a church. To utilize those differences for unity, the Discipleship/Sunday School department of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board offers Synchrony training.
“Synchrony assists church leaders (staff and volunteers) to develop an integrated vision and strategy for preschool, children’s, youth and college ministries,” noted Dwayne Parker, director of Discipleship/Sunday School. “These ministries often function independently of each other rather than under a shared vision. We believe these ministries can better meet the needs of preschool, children, youth, college students, parents and leaders when they are all working toward the same goals.
“During Synchrony we share the why and how of developing a discipleship strategy for age-graded ministries (known as Next Generation strategy) and guide your team through the Leading from Your Strengths assessment tool.”
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Greg Spencer, lead pastor of First Baptist Church Ellisville for four years, said he utilized Synchrony for staff development.
“Synchrony has helped me learn how my staff makes decisions,” he noted. “On the flip side, however, it has also allowed my staff to learn how I make decisions, and we better understand each other. It helped us reinforce the vision and values of First Church Ellisville, together.”
“In the Next Generation strategy,” Spencer noted, “we were asked, ‘What would you like your next generation to look like, and how do you get there?’ Our staff talked through that and identified characteristics we would like to see in our church, and asked ourselves, ‘How do we get there? How do we reinforce the productive things we are doing, and turn from things that maybe are not as productive?’
“So our staff is working to be cohesive between different age-graded ministries.”
Areas that need growth
“In coming to Synchrony, you do have to swallow your pride a little bit and be willing to learn about yourself, about others, and just be honest before the Lord about the areas that you need to grow in, and in the areas that you need to go, as the church,” Spencer acknowledged. “So it was a great exercise to help us think on the same page.”
Shane Freeman, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church Petal for 12 years, found Synchrony’s focus on next generation ministry to be particularly helpful to his staff.
“Going into Synchrony, I didn’t know what we would be discussing, but anything that the state convention does in our area, I try to support and be a part of,” Freeman said, “because I’m very thankful for them.
The Synchrony training focused on next generation ministry and how to apply what is discovered in the process, Freeman said.
Reaching the next generation
“Every church needs to be thinking about the next generation and how they will sustain and reach them with the gospel, to continue church growth, church mission and church Kingdom work,” Freeman said, “and Synchrony helps ask, ‘Who on staff is best suited by their strengths to handle this or that?’
“Our staff worked together and asked ourselves questions regarding the next generation and how we wanted to accomplish our goals. Then we brought that back to our staff meeting and walked through those things together and developed some plans.”
If a church has never used the Leading from Your Strengths assessment tool, that’s a benefit in and of itself, Freeman noted. “It’s healthy to have a staff of different strengths,” he said. “It’s helpful to have a balance and unite for vision and purpose.
“The focus of the Synchrony training is how we apply these strengths of the staff to reach the next generation — and that’s a great benefit to a church.”