The original vision and mission of the Transforming Center was to "call forth communities of spiritual transformation that discern and do the will of God." This seemed a little grandiose, and we realized that such communities could only be cultivated by pastors and leaders who were on a journey of spiritual transformation themselves. So we took a step back from this original mission to take time to develop the two-year Transforming Community® experience designed to strengthen the souls of leaders. These communities have been so transformative that we now have a cadre of leaders committed to staying in community with us while leading transforming churches in their own settings. We now feel ready to walk more fully into this aspect of our calling.
The rallying cry of the Transforming Church® Initiative is this: “The promise that human beings can be transformed into the image of Christ is central to the message of the Gospel and therefore central to the mission of the Church.” And yet many church leaders have lost sight of the centrality of this aspect of the Gospel message. We believe that "the best thing you bring to leadership is your transforming self."
Many church leaders today are expressing a desire to be more intentional about their approach to spiritual formation in their congregational settings. Our response is the Transforming Church Initiative, which offers pastors and leaders the opportunity to explore strategic approaches to congregational life that keep the main thing the main thing. This initiative provides relationships and resources that help pastors and ministry leaders envision what it might look like for their community to become a transforming community.
The Transforming Church Initiative includes:
- The Transforming Church Network—providing relationships among like-minded senior/lead clergy (or executive leaders of ministry organizations);
- Teaching and learning opportunities, such as the Pursuing God's Will Together: A Discernment Summit for Leaders and the Becoming a Transforming Church Retreat;
- Published resources to utilize in congregations; and
- On-site coaching and consulting for congregations, when possible, to provide needed spiritual companionship, hard-won wisdom, and ongoing support to those seeking to lead transforming churches.
The Transforming Church Network
The Transforming Church Network* is made up of senior/lead clergy (or executive leaders of ministry organizations) who have participated in a Transforming Community and are seeking to be intentional about leading their community to be a transforming community. These leaders choose to remain in an ongoing relationship with the Transforming Center for the purpose of mutual encouragement, shared learning, and ongoing discernment together. Together we are championing a new reality for the Church and living it into existence.
Our purpose in providing this network is to further our sense of community with one another. We are often asked where someone might find a like-minded congregation or community that is on a transforming journey together. This listing reflects our desire and intent to help facilitate connections between transforming churches and the people seeking them.
*The listing is neither an endorsement nor recommendation of individual churches. It is a listing of leaders known to us who are seeking to lead their communities in a certain way while remaining in relationship with the Transforming Center and its network.
Rev. Julie Gray—Phoenix Light & Life | Phoenix, AZ
Rob Lowe—Pilgrim Community Covenant | Granby, CT
Biz Gainey—Pillar Community Church | Vero Beach, FL
Rev. Chris Romig—Venice Presbyterian Church | Venice, FL
Tim Reist—Resonate Church | Dunlap, IL
Jarrett and Jeanne Stevens—Soul City Church | Chicago, IL
Rev. Dr. S. Randall Gooder—Indy Vineyard Church | Indianapolis, IN
Rev. Diane Hoppe Hugo—Mid-Coast Presbyterian Church | Topsham, ME
Revs. Doug and Adele Calhoun—High Rock Covenant Church | Boston, MA
Clare and Scott Loughrige—Crossroads Church and Ministries | Marshall, MI
Rev. Patricia Stetson-Warning—First Presbyterian Church | Gordon, NE
Vincent Rife—Grace Christian Church | Tinton Falls, NJ
Rev. Prince Raney Rivers—Union Baptist Church | Durham, NC
Jackie Matisse—St. Patrick's Episcopal Church | Lebanon, OH
Rev. Phaedra Blocker—Eternal Life Missionary Baptist Church | Philadelphia, PA
Rev. Dr. Jeanne Thomas—Newton Square Presbyterian Church | Newton Square, PA
BJ Woodworth—East Liberty Presbyterian Church | Pittsburgh, PA
Rick McCall—Church of Christ | Conroe, TX
Rev. Sue Beadle—Christ Lutheran Church | DeForest, WI
Rev. Mike Bellanti—Northbrook Church | Richfield, WI
Rev. Dr. Jonathan Haley—First Presbyterian Church | La Crosse, WI
Janice Gutierrez—Lifesprings International | worldwide