What’s better than a full day at the headquarters of Krispy Kreme with an unlimited supply of assorted donuts? It’s spending a full day at the headquarters of Krispy Kreme with an unlimited supply of assorted donuts and my new “faith/learning/coaching community.” Such an impressive combination of skills, backgrounds and interests among them! I’m talking about the new team of coaches and consultants that make up the Center for Healthy Churches. We just spent three days together in Winston-Salem.
Bill Wilson, President of the Center, convened twelve of us from multiple states and multiple walks of life. All of us with a love for the local church and a desire to help congregations through pivotal moments of their history. Many I’ve known for years; others were brand new friends. Yet we connected at a deep level–the kind of connection that comes from a profoundly shared calling and vision. Together we dreamed and strategized and just plain had fun looking to the future of the new Center for Healthy Churches.
For me, this is the opportunity to use twenty-five years experience as a pastor and eight years experience as a missionary for the sake of churches who want to be healthier. It’s not that I got it all right as a pastor and missionary; however, I believe I can use what I learned from my mis-steps to aid those we work with. And, as corny as it might sound, I consider that a real privilege.
Here’s one thing for sure: I never will sit across from a pastor or church leader and make arrogant pronouncements. I never liked it when outside advisers did that for me. I never will assume to know what it is like to sit in their seats or walk in their shoes. I do hope to bring value to their lives and the lives of their congregation by offering a prayerful, well-considered, outside perspective.
And I’m thrilled to be doing that alongside such good and qualified people.
Travis Collins wears two major hats, as Director of Mission Advancement and Virginia Regional Coordinator for Fresh Expressions US and as a consultant with The Center for Healthy Churches. Travis served for twenty-five years as a senior pastor, the last nineteen years in two large congregations. His experience also includes missionary service in Venezuela and Nigeria. He is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and earned the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author of Directionally Challenged (2007) and Tough Calls (2008). His third book, based on Acts 20:28, will be released in the fall of 2014 (Chalice Press). Travis and his wife, Keri, have three adult children.