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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.

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