Testimonials

When we hear a good word about our work, we like to share it with you!


 

Congregational Planning/Visioning

 

L. Ted Smith, Senior Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Cartersville, GA

Bill Wilson worked personally with our congregation as we were asking the question, ‘What next?’ We had completed a capital and building campaign and were seeking God’s direction for our future. Bill did an excellent work with us helping us discern, in a process-oriented way, where God was calling us. Through a series of congregational dialogues, he guided us to identify those strengths we could build on and the end result was a strategic vision called “Imagine 2020.” This became a working document for our church committees and Session that has resulted in measurable achievements in ministry. Bill was very hands-on and made numerous visits with our church staff and leadership team. He was a true partner in the process and not simply an advisor. I would recommend Bill Wilson and his team to any church that is planning for God’s future for their mission.

Jon R. Roebuck, Sr. Pastor, Woodmont Baptist, Nashville

Like most older, mainline, traditional, congregations, Woodmont Baptist Church has struggled over the past few years to maintain vibrancy, relevancy, and growth. It became apparent to our church leadership that a study of “who we are and where we are going,” would be a vital piece in helping our church to forge her way into a bright future. As we began looking for a consultant to help with such a task, we wanted to find someone who was sensitive to our heritage, visionary about strategy, and above all, someone whom our congregation would trust. We were not looking for someone to simply roll in and give us all the answers. We wanted an advocate who would join us in our discussions and offer counsel & advice without being overbearing. We found Bill Wilson to be the perfect fit. Bill encouraged us, challenged us, and changed us. His process helped us to develop a multi-faceted strategy that has given us clear insight and meaningful goals as we move toward the future. As a congregation, we are indebted to Bill and his leadership as we continue to dream new dreams and carry forth our ministry.

Jamie Dunham, Deacon Chair and co-chair of R3, our re-visioning team

Bill Wilson has been an incredible friend, mentor and guide for Woodmont Baptist Church. Through his appreciative inquiry process, we were able to lead our church through a period of re-visioning and rethinking. Having Bill, both an experienced facilitator and a former pastor, made the process effective and Spirit-led. He was able to engage with our group frequently – personally, in Town Hall meetings, via Skype conference calls and online. Through the re-visioning process, we activated about half of our members to get involved with teams focused on worship, Bible Study, leadership, outreach, community involvement and PLACE, a gifts assessment for ministry. Our church has started a new college program, a new weekday worship service, a ministry with our local high school, new Bible studies and updated our communications. We have also reorganized our deacon body to include a new Deacon Administrative Committee to help with the administration of committees and business of the church, and invigorated our deacon body to pursue ministry to our congregation. We have new individuals coming into our church and we have a new positive attitude towards reaching our community for Christ. The most important part of this process has been the personal growth of our body of believers and learning to reach outside our church. Change is not easy. But we have begun to change with grace and guidance.

Dr. Robert Baker, Calvary Baptist Church, Lexington VA

In the fall of 2011 and the spring of 2012, Dr. Bill Wilson served as our church’s consultant in a church wide congregational visioning process. Under Bill’s superb leadership, our congregation was enabled: 1) to reflect on our church’s history as a means of identifying the core values that constitute the current “DNA” of our church; 2) to examine and evaluate present church programs and ministries in terms of their effectiveness in “carrying and living out” our mission statement; and 3) to project a “vision plan” designed to guide our church in being the church that God is calling us to be in the future. Dr. Wilson was extremely well received and well liked by our church family. The “visioning plan” which our church developed under Bill’s leadership continues to benefit and guide our church today. Dr. Wilson is a gifted preacher/teacher/communicator. His ability to facilitate small group and congregational meetings – in which each person is encouraged to give his or her input – is second to none! Above all, Dr. Wilson loves the local church, has a pastor’s heart, and genuinely desires each and every congregation with whom he consults to discover and fulfill its God-given potential. I value Dr. Wilson’s friendship and his much-needed ministry to churches. I enthusiastically recommend him and his work through The Center for Healthy Churches to your congregation!

 

Consulting

 

Lay congregational leader

My church underwent a sudden, severe, and potentially catastrophic, change when we lost key leaders due to moral failure. Dan Elash’s insight, wisdom, discernment and love were immediately evident as he provided advice and coaching. We were better able to address the church wide challenges and concerns while at the same time walking through the personal, individual ramifications. We are healthier as individuals and as a body as God has used Dan in our lives.

The Rev. Deborah Wright, Principal, PneuMatrix

Jim Kitchens is way ahead of the curve in understanding the tsunami of changes washing across American churches – he wrote about it over 10 years ago. Jim has a keen sense of the natural lifecycles of a congregation and how that translates into crafting a strong missional response. He doesn’t just talk adaptive change, he rolls up his sleeves and models what it means while walking alongside a congregation.

Neil Rabon, laity

Trinity called on the CHC to help us develop a plan for “right-sizing” our staff. We received a comprehensive report from our CHC Consultant, Jim Kitchens, just two weeks after his face-to-face interviews with our sixteen-person staff. The insights and recommendations (broken down by short, medium, and long term) that Jim offered in his report have proven to be spot on and are yielding the results–lower personnel costs for our congregation and increased efficiency and morale among our staff–that we were seeking and needing.

Teri Lanan, Transition Team, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lansdale, PA

Larry McSwain served as a consultant to the lay-team at our church tasked with analyzing our budget and staffing issues. He was professional in his approach, thorough in his effort, and spot on with his conclusions. Larry did not tell us what we should do to address our problems, but rather walked with us in our own process of setting forth a plan and implementing it. I would highly recommend him and the team at the Center for Healthy Churches for any church that wants to be more effective and successful in their mission.

Neil Rabon, laity

Bill Wilson provided information and insightful interpretation of what was really going on with our budget and staffing levels. He was plain-spoken and thoughtful. He recognized the impact of his words and provided support and encouragement as we moved through the process of developing strategy for our congregation to address the issues in an impactful manner. It wasn’t easy work, but with help from Bill and his team, we are on a much better footing for the future as we seek to be God’s people in this place.

Dr. Jim Somerville, First Baptist Church, Richmond, VA

I agreed to serve on the Board of Directors of the Center for Congregational Health because I am passionate about healthy churches. As the mission of the Center shifts toward working with congregations to keep communities healthy (a mission I applaud), I am delighted to learn that Bill Wilson will continue to focus his considerable talents and energy on the health of the congregations themselves. “This is a time when the world desperately needs healthy churches, and I don’t know of anyone who understands their complicated dynamics better than Bill, or who listens with more wisdom, patience, and insight. He is a skilled helper, and he has helped me and my church at several different critical junctures. I’m excited about his new venture and look forward to offering whatever support and encouragement I can.”

David P. Broughton, Chair, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Long Range Vision Committee

In 2011, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the second largest church in the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, embarked on a long range visioning process to help chart St. Paul’s future. After conducting a thorough request for proposal process for assistance from a consulting firm to help guide St. Paul’s’ process, St. Paul’s selected Bill Wilson and his team at the Center for Congregational Health. Bill and his team did an outstanding job throughout our engagement, which lasted about a year. They provided critical information about the various global dynamics and changes affecting churches, they appropriately guided us in our process without taking it over, and they were masterful in allowing us as a congregation to develop our own thoughts and ideas while effectively challenging us to consider newer, different and bigger, “provocative proposals”. Bill Wilson and his team were available, present, responsive, insightful and a pleasure to work with. I am certain that St. Paul’s Long Range Vision process and outcome would not have been as successful as it was were it not for Bill Wilson and his team. I look forward to an opportunity to work with him again in the future.

Dr. Alan Sherouse, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Greensboro, NC

I have known Bill Wilson as a confidant, encourager, and consultant. Most recently I have seen the results of his work at First Baptist Greensboro, where he and his team served as primary consultants through the church’s 19-month Transition and Pastor Search. Bill provided outstanding consultation that prepared both congregation and pastor for what has been a magnificent start. If my church or I were seeking consultation, facing challenges, or planning for the future, Bill Wilson would be my first phone call.

Dr. Julie Pennington-Russell, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Decatur, GA

The help that Bill Wilson and his team have given here at First Baptist Church of Decatur (GA) in our recent, challenging season of transition has been an absolute game-changer. The new Center for Healthy Churches is a fresh expression of a proven approach to congregational wellness. This is great news for churches of all kinds, and for the kingdom of God.

 

General

 

Rev. Dan Carlton, Pastor of Downtown Baptist Church, Alexandria VA

Dan Elash combines grace and truth in a way that helps individuals and churches reach forward to a new day. He is able to bring a wealth of experience in the corporate and non-profit world in dealing with the unique challenges of churches. I never had a meeting with Dan that didn’t create a game changing moment.

Mr. Jim Morgan, CEO Krispy Kreme Inc., Member, Providence Baptist, Charlotte NC

The Center for Healthy Churches is a resource of which all ministers and congregations should be aware. It is headed up by Dr. Bill Wilson, a man that I have known personally for over 30 years. Dr. Wilson has established himself as a true expert at shepherding both individual ministers and congregations toward a period of greater spiritual and/or organizational health . The Center for Healthy Churches is not simply another consulting group, it represents a source of resolution and peace in a world that so often brings chaos into the lives of churches and their staff.

Ron Crawford, President, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond

Bill Wilson may be America’s foremost authority on local congregational life. He knows congregational life and he has lived it across a distinguished career as a pastor and, in recent years, as a consultant and helper (equipper, etc.) of local churches. Growing out of his service as President of the Center for Congregational Health, Bill’s new Center for Healthy Churches will be an even more effective and helpful resource for churches and ministers. There is no better help for churches than Bill Wilson and the Center for Healthy Churches.

Dr. Jeff Roberts, Senior Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church Raleigh

I am delighted to know the valuable assistance of the Center for Congregational Health will continue through the work of the Center for Healthy Churches under the direction of Dr. Bill Wilson. Dr. Wilson and others have assisted our congregation and staff as we continue to strive to be a healthy congregation. I look forward to working with this new ministry endeavor and recommend their counsel and training for churches and ministers in every stage of church life.

The Rev. Mark Ogren, Director of Congregational Development The Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church

Over the past 27 years, I have witnessed the fruitful ministry of Bill Wilson. From leading three separate congregations as lead pastor to now serving as a consultant and coach, Bill has demonstrated his love for God and his love for the body of Christ. Bill calls out the best in people and I was always energized and inspired to work beside him.

Rev. William J. Key, MMBB

Bill Wilson and the Center for Healthy Churches will address the future needs of the Church by providing resources and solutions filled with hope, integrity and commitment. Bill Wilson has the vision and experience to guide this new Center toward excellence, credibility, and significance. He is a leader who not only sees where the Church needs to go, but he is willing to assist others be the Church through missions, Christian education, preaching, and evangelism. I am confident the Center for Healthy Churches will grow exponentially as it meets the ever-increasing need for churches to relate spiritually, emotionally, and Biblically as the people of God.

Stephen H. Cook, Pastor, Second Baptist Church, Memphis TN

In a time of unprecedented change for congregations and their leaders, the Center for Healthy Churches brings fresh perspectives and creative leadership born out of a lifelong commitment to serving the Church. Those of us who serve in the local congregation look for the insights and perspectives of a Center like this that will help guide our thinking and fuel our passions for the work of the Church in the world.

Dr. John P. Chandler, Leader, Spence Network

Bill Wilson is one of the most polished, down-to-earth, and wise leaders I know. He reads congregations like a book. His tactical and strategic advice for churches and leaders is sound and practical. Beyond quick and simplistic answers, Bill leads churches toward systemic and sustainable solutions. I have encouraged many churches to connect with him and look forward to new opportunities with the Center for Healthy Churches to expand this work. I want Bill in as many of our churches as possible!

 

Search Committee Coaching

 

Cindy Cave, Pastor Search Committee, Co-Chair Farmville Baptist Church

In August 2012, Farmville Baptist Church began its search for a new pastor. The FIRST and WISEST step the Pastor Search Committee took was to contract the services of Bill Wilson, President of the Center for Congregational Health, to guide us through. Initially, Bill met with us to present his five (5) stage pastor search process. He emphasized that the completion of each stage was necessary to get to the next one. While we were all anxious to “get to the resumes”, Bill kept us focused on building the foundation before that. In other words, we needed to recognize, verbalize and market who Farmville Baptist was before we could attract the right fit for us. Although it took six (6) months to create our Church Profile, it was the critical piece in establishing the Pastor Profile by which all candidates were measured, and by which we selected the “right fit” for Farmville Baptist Church. Looking back, our eleven (11) month search consisted of many long hours of study, preparation and activity which Bill Wilson was instrumental in guiding and mentoring. My favorite scripture, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6), was a constant reminder that the Lord places timely guiding forces in our lives. For us, that force was Bill Wilson.

Lynne Felton, Chair

I had the privilege of serving as Chair of the Pastor Search Committee for Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and we made the good decision to select Bill Wilson as our search consultant. We worked closely with Bill over a period of approximately one year. We were extremely pleased with the service which Bill offered to our Search Committee, and the process he designed resulted in calling a very fine person to be Pastor of the church, a person who has been an excellent fit for us. In the opinion of our Search Committee, Bill Wilson was essential to the success of our search. He brought with him a great deal of knowledge about how churches work, and the process which needs to be followed in order to select the right person for an important position. He led us through a church-wide process of evaluating where we were as a congregation so we would be better suited to search for a qualified candidate. Bill was tireless in the work he did for us, and we came to rely on his knowledge and wisdom. Bill is responsive to the needs of his clients, he presents himself well to congregations and other constituencies, he is clear in how he guides the committee through the search process, and he brings with him a wealth of experience. We could not be more pleased than to have had Bill Wilson as our consultant.

Darrell Thompson, Chair, Pastor Search Committee of FBC Tallahassee FL

The First Baptist Church of Tallahassee, Florida had not gone through a pastor search process for almost twenty years, and the only thing more valuable during our search process than the leadership of Dr. Bill Wilson was the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Your expertise, advice, written materials, knowledge, prayer and experience were invaluable to me and the Pastor Search Committee. Your knowledge and training combined with your background as a pastor provides you with unique insight into the pastor search process and other church related issues. Your training, examples, emails, phone calls, facilitation of meetings and services, input, guidance, and genuine concern gave our committee and church the confidence and ability to move ahead efficiently and effectively with our search process. I strongly endorse the services of Dr. Wilson and his team to any church in need of their services! Thank you and may God richly bless your new organization.

Ann Millard, Transition Team, Chair, First Baptist Church Wilmington, NC

When our beloved pastor of 25 years decided to retire, we engage the leadership of Bill Wilson to guide us through our transition process and our search for a new pastor. We viewed ourselves as a “healthy” church; however’ time and again, with Bill’s expertise, he kept us from making unhealthy decisions. He was always available to guide us whenever we needed his advice. His leadership at our 5 Congregational Conversations made them fun and inviting for the participants while enabling the Transition Team to collect valuable data for our church profile. When our search team finally recommended a candidate for our new pastor, we all knew that this was the person that God intended for First Baptist Church.

 

Teaching/Coaching

 

Clergy Client

My coach, Mike Gregg, through pointed conversation and non-judgmental support, has helped me start to focus my dreams. He quickly distinguished a coaching style specific to my needs in order to push me beyond the “I don’t knows” in my way.

Clergy Client

Working with Mike Gregg as my coach over the past 18 months has been such a blessing. With his guidance the power of coaching (listening, asking good questions) has helped me grow both professionally as well as personally helping me to become a better husband, father, and minister.

College Administrator

The conversations with my coach, Joel Snider, have given me great tools to help as I work with very different personalities on our campus. Being prepared with the right questions and rehearsing how best to use them lends clarity to meetings and the types of hard conversations one occasionally has to have with colleagues or direct reports.

Clergy Client

My coaching experience with Joel Snider was invaluable. He allowed me to grow into my identity as a pastor with confidence. Dr. Snider wonderfully balances coaching with both affirmation and challenge, which enabled me to mature in my ministry appropriately.

Clergy Client

Tracy Hartman has been my go-to person for many years when personal and professional challenges arise, and she always knows how to ask the right question at the right time to guide me through the process of self-discovery to help me be a better person and minister. Tracy has the heart of a coach as she listens to your story and encourages with wisdom and sincerity. She has a wonderful gift of caring for the “whole person” while bringing together theology, practical ministry, and spiritual direction in her conversations. My life and ministry are always more focused after a conversation with Tracy.

The Reverend Dr. John P. Chandler, Leader, Spence Network

Having worked with many leadership coaches over the years, I can say with confidence that Dan Elash is the most effective coach I know. I have sent dozens of leaders to Dan in recent years and enjoy getting reports of his transformational work with them. He helps people change behaviors in clear ways that result in measurable changes for the better. In fact, my confidence in Dan is so high that I have trusted him as my own leadership coach for nearly five years. He has made a huge difference in my life and leadership. I recommend him without reservation and with highest confidence.

Dr. John Senior, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Religion and Society, Wake Forest Divinity School

Endorsement for Bill Wilson with regard to teaching: “Bill Wilson knows how to teach the practice of good ministry. In his seminars on time management with our students at Wake Forest School of Divinity, Bill not only teaches the nuts and bolts of effective time management. He digs deeper to show that time management follows from an honest and realistic assessment of one’s most fundamental goals and commitments, the stuff of healthy ministry. He is skillful in getting to know his audience and relating his presentation to their particular interests and concerns.”

Dock Hollingsworth, former Assistant Dean at McAfee School of Theology

Endorsement for Bill Wilson with regard to teaching: For the last five years, I invited my friend Bill Wilson to guest lecture in my Leadership class at the McAfee School of Theology. I want credit here for being thick skinned – because my course evaluation always marked his lecture as the highlight of the course. Imagine how difficult it is to hear year after year that your best class was the one where you invited a guest! Dr. Bill Wilson is magical as a teacher/presenter. I continue to invite him because of what I learn about effective teaching.

Colleague

Endorsement for coach Mike Hendley: I have known Mike Hendley for 17 years. In that time, he has shown unparalleled professionalism. Mike is one that actively seeks learning opportunities to sharpen his skills. He possesses critical interpersonal and analytical skills, strong coaching and mentoring skills and solid human resource expertise. I have also witnessed his being a mentor to the “now” and the “next” generation. I trust Mike’s advice and would recommend him as an expert in his field.

Celeste A. Joseph , 2014 Master of Arts Candidate in Religion and Feminist Theory , Claremont School of Theology

Endorsement for coach Mike Hendley: I have had the very great opportunity of working with Mike Hendley in his capacity as a Coach. I can tell you that Mike’s professionalism and personal ethic are above reproach. His ability to listen and to help bring the semblance of calm in a long, tedious, and often volatile setting were invaluable. One particular skill that impressed me is that Mike does not create a dependency on himself for the people he is working with. His ability to detach and maintain a reasoned trajectory while offering encouragement and critical thought is quite remarkable. Mike was also called on to be a negotiator and was able to maintain my client confidentiality even under pressure. I felt that Mike was “my” coach and that we were able to devise and implement a plan that allowed me do all that I needed to do with more grace than I ever could have mustered alone. I highly recommend that you retain his services and use his gifts and talents often and with confidence.

Heather Entrekin, Central Seminary, KS

When Central Baptist Seminary established a faculty position in congregational health three years ago, the first place we turned for advice, resources, and support was the Center for Congregational Health. Bill Wilson welcomed and encouraged us, providing strategic insights and connections that helped to shape and strengthen our program. We turned to Bill again as we looked for faculty to teach in a new doctor of ministry program in congregational health. He developed and taught a course on entrepreneurial leadership out of his years of pastoral and organizational experience along, scholarship, deep commitment to enabling the church to be faithful to its calling, and enthusiasm for effective theological education. Needless to say, he was an outstanding teacher. We are excited about the potential of the new Center for Healthy Churches. With Bill at the helm, there will be many fresh opportunities for serving and transforming the church as it serves the purposes of God for our day.

Doug Turnmire, Pastor, Young’s Chapel Baptist Church, Mouth of Wilson, Virginia

When I enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at McAfee School of Theology, I was required to consult with a ministry coach for three semesters. I thought, “What is a ministry coach and why do I need one? I’ve been a pastor for twenty years with the same congregation!” God’s providence brings us unexpected guests into our lives for a purpose. My initial resistance quickly melted. I began looking forward to regular conversations with Bill Wilson. His coaching assisted me as I untied knotty problems that surfaced as the D.Min. program required me to reflect on the context of my community of faith. The professional growth I have experienced over the last three years is in a large part due to Bill’s “pregnant” questions. Those questions provided me confidence to enunciate answers that continue to make a difference in my ministry and the life of the church. Experiencing coaching with Bill came at the chairos time in my journey. Thanks Coach Wilson!

 

Transitions

 

Bert Browning, Midlothian, Virginia

After thirty-seven years in pastoral ministry and in anticipation of retirement from an eighteen-year pastorate at Huguenot Road Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, I contacted Bill Wilson for counsel and direction in how to manage the upcoming transition for both myself and for the congregation. Bill is a trusted colleague and friend of many years, and I knew he would serve as a vital resource at this critical juncture for the church. Beginning over a year prior to my retirement, Bill provided professional and personal support – first to me, then to the ministerial staff, and later to the lay leadership and finally to the entire congregation. I could not be more pleased with how his wisdom, knowledge and even-handed involvement with the church at every level have resulted in a positive and productive transition time for the congregation. Bill’s unique gifts in the areas of consultation and coaching, combined with his personal warmth and pastoral sensitivity, have been an answer to prayer for all involved at Huguenot Road.

Darrell Thompson, Chair, Pastor Search Committee of FBC Tallahassee FL

The First Baptist Church of Tallahassee, Florida had not gone through a pastor search process for almost twenty years, and the only thing more valuable during our search process than the leadership of Dr. Bill Wilson was the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Your expertise, advice, written materials, knowledge, prayer and experience were invaluable to me and the Pastor Search Committee. Your knowledge and training combined with your background as a pastor provides you with unique insight into the pastor search process and other church related issues. Your training, examples, emails, phone calls, facilitation of meetings and services, input, guidance, and genuine concern gave our committee and church the confidence and ability to move ahead efficiently and effectively with our search process. I strongly endorse the services of Dr. Wilson and his team to any church in need of their services! Thank you and may God richly bless your new organization.

Ann Millard, Transition Team, Chair, First Baptist Church Wilmington, NC

When our beloved pastor of 25 years decided to retire, we engage the leadership of Bill Wilson to guide us through our transition process and our search for a new pastor. We viewed ourselves as a “healthy” church; however time and again, with Bill’s expertise, he kept us from making unhealthy decisions. He was always available to guide us whenever we needed his advice. His leadership at our 5 Congregational Conversations made them fun and inviting for the participants while enabling the Transition Team to collect valuable data for our church profile. When our search team finally recommended a candidate for our new pastor, we all knew that this was the person that God intended for First Baptist Church.