Helping Churches Get A New Lease On Life! 

FAQs About Local Church Consultations


WHAT IS FRESH START?

Each day an average of 10 churches in the United States close their doors because they do not know where else to turn or what else to do. This mortality rate seems excessive and therefore, Fresh Start has been designed by Bob Humphrey and offered through Mission to the Americas to address this need. Fresh Start is designed along the lines of a medical model.

Fresh Start provides diagnostic evaluations of the church and of the community.

Fresh Start provides a determination regarding the causes for plateau or decline.

Fresh Start provides a recommended course of action that is backed by Mission to the Americas resources.


WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF FRESH START?

The purpose of Fresh Start is to provide plateaued and declining churches with a clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses through proficient assessment and evaluation and to aid churches in developing turnaround plans and strategies tailored to their situation.

WHAT IS THE VISION OF FRESH START?

Our vision is to turn declining churches into dynamic growing churches.

WHAT ARE THE VALUES OF FRESH START?

All Churches Matter to God

Effective Pastoral Leadership is Key

Congregational Renewal is Essential

Integrity and honesty in all matters

Shepherds Need Shepherding

Invest Kingdom Assets in Church Planting


WHAT DOES A TYPICAL APPROACH LOOK LIKE?

Your church would vote to contact Fresh Start

Fresh Start will send you a packet of diagnostic evaluations.

Once the diagnostic evaluations have been completed and returned to Fresh Start, a date will be scheduled for a personal visit by a team of Fresh Start personnel.

A Fresh Start Assessment Team of two to three persons will visit your church and community for approximately three to four days.

Fresh Start health and growth presentations will be made to your church.

A comprehensive report of the Fresh Start Team’s findings and recommendations will be made to your church.

Your church will be asked to vote upon the Fresh Start recommendations.

Fresh Start will assist you in working through the steps of the Fresh Start plan your church voted to adopt.


This process usually takes an average of three to four months to from the time the church votes to contact Fresh Start until the church is asked to vote upon the recommendations of the Fresh Start Assessment Team.



WHAT ARE THE COSTS INVOLVED?

Fresh Start will submit a proposal based upon the location and financial capability of the church. The church is asked to review the total cost of a Fresh Start consultation and then determine the amount they can commit to prior to the Fresh Start Assessment Team’s visit.


Financial assistance from your regional denomination/association is often available for studies like this. You can contact your district office or ask Fresh Start to initiate the contact.

WHO IS THE LEAD CONSULTANT FOR FRESH START?

Gordon Penfold will be the lead consultant. Gordon is in the process of developing a network of Fresh Start consultants.  At this time you should contact him concerning your needs. 

God has gifted and prepared Gordon for this ministry through a number of experiences. From his early years in the local church Gordon has been involved in conflict resolution and biblical peace making.  Gordon has also served four congregations full time.  In each case the Lord brought a measure of turnaround.  In 2003 he was exposed to Fresh Start Ministries through Bob Humphrey, the founder and director of Fresh Start.  Since that time Gordon has worked with a number of churches from different denominations who have asked for his counsel and guidance.  He has also been training pastors since 1994.  This includes numerous trips to the Former Soviet Union.  He recently led a Pastor's Conference in Ukraine where he taught the Principles and Practices of Conflict Resolution and Biblical Peace Making.  Gordon is currently serving as the Pastor of First Baptist Church, Holyoke, Colorado.  Gordon did an assessment for this church and they asked him to serve as their pastor in leading them to a Fresh Start.   Gordon holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in structural engineering.  He has holds a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.  He is currently working on a Doctor of Ministry degree with Dr. Gary McIntosh at Talbot Seminary in La Mirada, California.  His D.Min study tract is Growing and Multiplying Churches in the USA.  Gordon has been in full time ministry since 1980. 

WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC BENEFITS OF FRESH START?

Every church that completes a Fresh Start assessment will benefit in the following ways.

You will have a better understanding of the real and significant factors impacting your church’s health.

You will have a clear and accurate picture of the strengths and weaknesses of your church.

You will receive solid decision-making information that will assist you in planning your future.

You will see your community in a way that will reveal your greatest potential for ministry.

You will have the objective counsel of experienced church growth and health consultants.

You will know the degree of probability for turning your church into a dynamic growing church.

Your church could be a candidate for Fresh Start turnaround and Mission subsidy.

You will receive a comprehensive report that could provide the basis for future ministry.


WHAT STUDIES WILL BE CONDUCTED?

Diagnostic evaluations will be focused on three major areas: LEADERSHIP, CHURCH and COMMUNITY.

LEADERSHIP SURVEYS

The roles and functions of both the pastoral leadership and the lay-leadership will be reviewed to determine the degree of compatibility each role has with the needs of a turnaround church.

Pastoral Leadership Assessment

The tools used to profile the pastoral staff include some of the following. Not all tools are used in every instance.

     DiSC Personality Profile

     Leadership Diagnostic Guide

     Spiritual Gift Inventory

     A Comprehensive Pastoral Profile

     Turnaround Pastor Assessment Profile

     Personal Interviews

Lay-Leadership Assessment

The tools most commonly used to profile the lay leaders of the church include the following.

     Lay-Leaders Interview Guide

     Personal Interviews

     Spiritual Gift Inventory

     Personality Profiles


Church Surveys

The tools for diagnosing the strengths and weakness of the church include the following tools.

     Church Health and Growth Profile – The pastor or a church leader completes this study

     Natural Church Development Survey – 30 Church leaders complete this survey 

     Church Data Survey – a comprehensive church-wide evaluation is sometimes used.

     Church Facilities Evaluation

     Personal Interviews 

Community Studies

The basic tools used for this review are demographic studies, receptivity and attitudinal surveys.

     Fresh Start uses PERCEPT, a demographic research company that specializes in assisting churches.

     We also ask the local church to gather local demographic information from their city, village or   township.

     Windshield Survey of the community

     Community Receptivity Survey

     Community Attitudinal Survey


WHAT DOES THE FRESH START TEAM DO WHEN THEY COME TO OUR CHURCH?

A typical consultation usually consists of three Fresh Start consultants who come to your church and community for approximately four to fsix days. The team usually arrives on a Tuesday afternoon and departs on a Sunday afternoon.

Their work consists of conducting personal interviews with the pastoral staff, lay-leaders and key people in the church. In addition to a windshield survey of your community they sometimes conduct a neighborhood walk survey talking to people in the community about the church. The appearance, location and functionality of your buildings and grounds are also part of the on site study.

The purpose of the on site evaluations is to insure a high degree of reliability and a true reflection of reality regarding the data gathered through the various instruments prior to the actual consultation.

On Saturday afternoon and evening the team would brief the pastoral staff and then the lay-leaders of the church. These briefings would focus primarily on the team’s findings and they would make recommendations regarding the possibilities of future ministry and any assistance that might be available from the regional association and Mission to the Americas

On Sunday the team would brief the members and friends of the church during the Sunday school hour and then cap off the morning with a Bible message during the worship hour.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL TIMELINE LOOK LIKE?

There are many variables when considering a time line. Some factors include the church calendar of events, the consultant’s availability, the efficiency of the postal service, the availability of the other members on the consultation team, the efficiency of the church leaders to complete and return the diagnostic tools. Taking all these factors into consideration, it usually takes between two to three months to schedule an on-site consultation. Below is the outline of a possible time line.

Church votes to consult with Fresh Start Week 0

Fresh Start mails assessment tools to the church Weeks 1 - 1 to ship & arrive

Fresh Start receives assessment tools back from church Weeks 4 – 6 to complete & return

Fresh Start team reviews the assessment data Weeks 2 - 3 to review & study

Schedule on site consultation Weeks 2 – 4 to arrange & arrive

Fastest turnaround of material and consultation 9 Weeks

Slowest turnaround of material and consultation 14 Weeks

For additional information or a personalized proposal for your church contact Fresh Start in one of the following ways.   Call the Fresh Start office at 970.454.5550.  E-mail us at freshstartnetwork@gmail.com  We are not always available on the phone.  You may contact by e-mail and we can schedule a time for us to visit. 

Looking forward to serving you,


Gordon E. Penfold

Pastor and Fresh Start Servant



Copyright © 2003 Fresh Start Ministries
Last modified: 08/03/07