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Pastor Steve Bradshaw: Part 2

Pastor Steve Bradshaw: Part 2

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Pastor Steve Bradshaw: Part 2

This is Part 2 of the Revite Pastor Spotlight: Pastor Steve Bradshaw. Read Part 1 Here

 

What was your biggest fear?

I did not want to battle an entrenched and dying church,  subject my kids to poor quality ministry and burn up prime years of life and ministry on a sinking ship.

What was your biggest mistake?

As we are adding to the team, we need to continue to mobilize the body for service and ministry, rather than just getting things done with staff. The tendency is for people to let the staff do it…and we have to teach, lead and train rather than just doing things ourselves.

What was your biggest hope?

That my kids would thrive and our efforts would be effective. 

Is there one trait or list of traits that you believe are absolutely necessary for a Revitalization Pastor to have in order to be successful?

  • Tact
  • Wisdom
  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Outside experience (different setting)
  • A wide range of skills/knowledge

What was the key to seeing things turn around?

Leadership. This church was primed to begin a new season and needed the hard times to get to that point. Then it was a matter of leading in a way that was easy to support and follow.

What was the turning point for your church?

A few early wins really slanted the playing field for us and made us trustworthy for the church.

  • Outreach events were a success
  • Early renovation projects were a significant improvement
  • Change in Sunday night structures was possible and effective because they trusted us

Is there one resource or one practice/habit you believe helped you in the process?

Timing is key. When I saw a need, I would create a few solutions and bring those options to my board with no decisions to be made right away. We would talk about it one month, go deeper the next month, and by the third meeting/month they would be itching to move on it. This was crucial to making significant changes as a team rather than the pastor telling them what he wants to do.

What resource would you recommend to another Pastor going through the Revitalization process?

  • “Visioneering” by Andy Stanley
  • “Turnaround Pastor” by Donald Ross
  • Our Excel group was a tremendous asset in giving me insight and perspective early on

What is your next goal?

We are addressing our kid’s area with a renovation of an unused part of the building. Our current kid’s area has poor function and aesthetics, no bathrooms, clunky check-in setup for families, etc. Hoping to be up and running this fall.

What’s next for you?

We added staff this year, so I am engaging the process of leading them in their first ministry role while hoping to leave most of those responsibilities in their hands. My role as “lead” pastor will be more prominent on my schedule and efforts as this team finds its alignment.

Who was your champion?

A few of the board members and their spouses did a great job supporting us from the onset. Speaking highly, defending and promoting us faithfully. A few other connections that had ties to this church also helped establish a trust level that would have taken several years to gain on our own.

Who kept you going?

My family. We enjoy each other and embrace our call to ministry as a family calling. The kids had challenges in transition, especially my son. My wife is an all-star that has gone above and beyond in this process…not only embracing the ministry challenges but ones of friendship and personal goals. Our church is significantly thin around our demographic, and pairing that with becoming the “lead pastor’s wife” it has been hard getting socially acclimated to our new city. We have really leaned on our family unit as a place of health, security, and joy.

What did you know, what did you feel or what made you believe “this could be good!”?

In our interview process we presented our true hopes for what we would desire to accomplish, assuming that those details and goals would likely scare them off or lead them to rule us out. Instead, they seemed to resonate with the board and gave us hope for the opportunity.

Would you do it again? 

God has been gracious enough to give us tremendous clarity in both of our ministry transitions over 19 years…I would lean on His direction for whatever steps He guides us into. Church plants have certain challenges, as do established churches and restart churches…none of them are easy.

Why this church?

That’s hard to pinpoint. We knew God was leading us from Youth ministry in Western PA to a lead role in the Midwest, ideally Southern Missouri. Timing was critical, as it always is in ministry transitions. The down side was the size, track record, finances, lack of leaders, demographic, facility complications, debt, etc. The upside was friends and colleagues in common, support of family and district, extensive upward mobility (nowhere else to go but up!), suburban community with city options, and ultimately…God held the door open for us.


Steve and Brooke Bradshaw have been ministering to the community of Independence, Missouri as the lead pastors of Central Assembly. If you would like to learn more about their ministry, check out their Facebook page, or their website.

Pastor Steve Bradshaw: Part 1

Pastor Steve Bradshaw: Part 1

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This is Part 1 of the Revite Pastor Spotlight: Pastor Steve Bradshaw

Healthy disciples create a healthy church, and that is something that impacts the community around it.

What were the conditions/circumstances when you arrived?

Tired. The church had been without a pastor for 14 months, no staff, everything managed by volunteers with a guest speaker each week. The facility was clean and cared for…just significantly dated and functionally challenged. Attendance was around 70, no kid/nursery check-in procedures in place, with about 20-30 attending evening services.

What did you do first?

Preach, assess, and outreach. We dove into understanding the way things were and why…so we could understand the people, the church, and what adjustments needed to be made. We canvassed and hosted a fall fest outreach within our first month. First steps (about 6 months in) involved new exterior lighting…our building and parking were terribly dark, which is not good in our area of Independence/Kansas City.

Do you remember what was going through your mind as you began this journey?

I recall the overwhelming list and trying to juggle that order, while simply accomplishing basic ministry systems and services.

What were your initial road blocks?

Manpower. The same small crew of volunteers did everything from teaching, to nursery, to cleaning, to maintenance, etc.…and had been doing them for a long time. Some never went to the main service because they were the only ones willing to work with the kids. Some stepped out when they got a pastor, handing the reigns over…which added to the struggle. Finances were on the mend, but we were “part-time” and it seemed like too many things needed funding. We did have some cash in hand, but no real evidence of cash flow moving forward.

When you accepted this assignment, what did you envision happening as a result of your ministry here?

Health. Ultimately we are seeking to make disciples that make disciples. Healthy, living things grow and reproduce…and we expect the same from the church. Healthy disciples create a healthy church, and that is something that impacts the community around it.

What was/is your most significant challenge in your time here?

The juggling act of visionary leadership and practical tasks. I have to be way out in front, with long-term, big-scale plans, goals, vision, and direction. But I also have to do tasks that I would ideally delegate, but there is nobody around to delegate to. It was like a church plant, without the team and without the excitement and energy. It was a 55-year-old church plant in the wrong part of town with dysfunctional facilities, fatigued volunteers, and leaders, unbalanced demographic that didn’t resemble its surroundings, that needed just about everything…right then.

What would you say was the key to seeing things turn around?

Support. The one factor that I could say had the most impact so far was a group of believers that were willing to support us in every decision we made. I felt fully supported by the board, the treasurer, and key families as we began to make changes and move in certain directions. Their willingness to follow and accept our leadership has given us a unity that many turnaround churches have struggled to experience.

Did you ever feel like quitting?

I can’t say that I have…the closest thing I can say is wondering how long would we be here.

Why didn’t you?

I believe in long term ministry. You can hardly measure impact in a couple years. You haven’t established relationships, learned your setting and history and community, identified patterns, instilled values, and culture…it’s too soon to say this can’t work.

What kept you going?

Not having ridiculous battles over things goes a long way to hanging in there…the support we have had so far has been energizing. Some of that credit goes directly to the families and leaders that buy in to what we are trying to accomplish. I also know that we took careful and calculated steps to bring people to the decision-making table rather than just barking directives from my holy mountain. So to speak. When I had ideas or plans, I would bring options to the table and ask for input, rather than decide and pass down my edict.

What have you learned about yourself in this process?

I can see how God has prepared us through mentors, through previous roles/situations, for this current role. He is leveraging all our skills and abilities and experiences to flourish in this season. I am learning more about what makes me tick, what really matters, and how significant seasons of life are.

What have you learned about your church through this process?

I am trying to learn everything about this church…to better understand and relate. Their history and experience have tremendous overlap with my personal experience…but it also has drastic differences. I feel like I can see their side of things much easier than they can collectively see what I am shooting for. They have not seen and experienced different settings of ministry that I have, so it is challenging to communicate what could and should be.

What did you learn about ministry?

People and relationships are key. We all know that, but I can only go so far on title and position…relationship and personal connection opens the door. Logging miles and sharing life make every part of ministry more productive…and rewarding!

What do you wish you would have known before coming here? (or while you were going through this)

I honestly think that there were things that we were better off NOT knowing before coming in. Some passwords and ID issues would have been nice to have instead of playing detective or starting all over on some things.

What part did core values/vision and mission strategy and planning play into your success here?

Our mission statement is nothing new (Connect, Grow, Serve) but it did help us to refocus the church on its purpose. Small churches struggle to invest significant funds and energies into outreach and growth…sadly, that keeps them small.

If you could give another pastor a piece of advice as they consider taking on a plateaued/declining church…as they are pastoring a plateaued/declining church…what would it be?

Rediscover the purpose of the church. Services demand tons of time and attention but ultimately they are not what we are called to produce. We are called to equip the saints for the work of the ministry and not just during services. That happens outside the church, in between Sundays, in ways that God has gifted them.


Steve and Brooke Bradshaw have been ministering to the community of Independence, Missouri as the lead pastors of Central Assembly. If you would like to learn more about their ministry, check out their Facebook page, or their website.

Coaching Rocked My World

Written by: Greg Colegrove, SMD Network coach, ACC Level 2

His Journey

About a year and a half ago, I began a journey that has been so beneficial, both to my life and many others. Allow me to briefly share my journey:

I have had the privilege of pastoring for over 25 years and being a part of Rural Compassion for almost 5 years. If there has been one thing I have dreaded the most in my 30 years of ministry it has been my weak attempts at counseling. Oh, don’t get me wrong-it didn’t start out that way. When I was young in ministry, I thought I could fix everybody! Yes, I was naïve and full of the Messiah complex! Then reality set in and over the next 29 years or so, all I wanted to do was “refer” people to go get the help they needed. If my preaching couldn’t fix their problem, there was nothing else I had to offer!

SMD Coaching Network

Then, along came coaching. When the Southern Missouri District Coaching Network offered this opportunity to take some classes, I jumped at it. The classes taught me how to be a better listener and how to help people discover things for themselves. I didn’t have to have all the answers! Coaching has given me the opportunity to invest in rural pastors and to see people’s lives enriched, encouraged and challenged. It has created intentional friendships and accountability. I have seen my clients have that “aha” moment as they have discovered areas of their ministry where they have been stuck in their thinking and actions. We have had powerful conversations about where they are and where God is leading them as they discover a passion for God and his work. Marriages, parenting, finances, church growth, personal growth, and decision-making are all a part of our sessions.

His Advice

Today, my advice is two-fold for all pastors: First, coaching is a great tool. With coaching you are not having to come up with all the answers for people – they get to discover that on their own.  Secondly, you need to have a coach of your own. It is amazing what happens when you start to unpack and confide in someone what you are thinking. You get action plans for your future! Progress is taking place. Hope is being renewed.

Go ahead. Give it a try today. It may change your life and your direction!


Greg ColegroveGreg Colegrove is a minister through Convoy of Hope Rural Compassion. He has been a part of the SMD Coaching Network since 2015. With his Assemblies of God Level 2 coaching certification, he has ministered to rural pastors in the District and enjoys investing in others for the glory of God. If you are interested in getting connecting with him, visit the SMD Coaching Network website. 

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