Replacing a beloved pastor after 40 years of pastoral care and biblical preaching is never easy. The Center for Healthy Churches and Bill Wilson guided us through the transition process that gave us great insight into who we are and who we want to be as we serve our God in the years ahead. The Congregational Profile and Pastor Profile served as a constant reminder of the traits our church deemed most important in our next pastor. The guidance and encouragement provided to our Pastor Search Team by CHC helped us stay the course through a 10-month search that ultimately led us to a pastor who matched our profile perfectly. To say we’re excited about what God is doing in our church today is an understatement. As chair of the Pastor Search Team, we enjoyed our partnership with CHC and would recommend them to any congregation.
Dr. Kirk Lewis Chair, Pastor Search Team
South Main Baptist Church Pasadena, Texas
The pastor search committee of Farmville Baptist Church was very pleased with how the Center for Healthy Churches helped us navigate the waters of finding a new pastor. After many meetings, questions, and soul searching, we were able to discern what we wanted and needed in a pastor. I believe what we appreciated most was the fact that the committee did not have to wade through so many applications. The applications/references we did receive had already been vetted and this process saved SO MUCH valuable time and effort for us. Adam Tyler brings to our church his gift of spiritual knowledge. Adam encourages us to grow within our church walls and outside of our church walls for the good of the Kingdom. He is very caring about our past, but also able to guide us to our future.
Jannett Southall, Chair of the Search Committee
Farmville Baptist Church, Farmville VA
After a long and successful pastorate, our beloved Pastor of 27 years felt the need to retire. The timing of this announcement in February 2021 left us feeling very vulnerable in the midst of the recent pandemic. Our church had been fortunate not to have conducted a pastor search for many years and we were in need of professional guidance and a systematic approach to a search and discernment process in very uncertain times. Upon learning of the wonderful consultation offered by the Center for Healthy Churches (“CHC”) we were relieved that there was help and assistance available as we sought to find God’s next spiritual leader for our church. We decided to seek CHC’s services for help with the development of a new church profile, advanced pastor search, and Interim pastor assignment.
Our Interim Pastor, Bill Owen also served as our Pastor Search Committee Coach. The advice and counsel we received from CHC and in particular, Bill Owen, was absolutely outstanding. Our committee and our church evolved from the fear of the unknown to great confidence that with CHC’s help and Bill’s cable and loving coaching we would be successful in our journey and discernment to find God’s intended leader for our church. The commitment from CHC and Bill’s consistency and preparation from the pulpit each week allowed our congregation to feel a part of the process and instilled quiet confidence and credibility in our search process. The instruction and coaching our committee received provided the road map and skills we needed to do the job we had been called to perform on behalf of our church. God provided the vision and the peace we needed to identify the candidate that had been prepared to serve our congregation and the CHC process gave us the courage and confidence we needed to move forward when the time was right. Our partnership with CHC was respectful at every turn and our committee felt God’s leadership throughout our process. We are so thankful to additionally have Bill as our friend for life. Thanks be to God!
Roger L. Bates
Chairman, Pastor Search Committee, Vestavia Hills Baptist Church
CHC became partners and then quickly friends. Dr. Matt Cook not only served as our interim pastor but also fulfilled the role of consultant and held our hands from start to finish. Always available and easy to work with, Dr. Cook was a wealth of information for a job that was unfamiliar to our search team. Their vast network and the time they invested in vetting candidates made our job manageable and we could not be more grateful for their work! We trusted the Lord with an unwavering commitment to prayer and felt the love and support from CHC during the entire process. “Not to us Lord, but to Your name be the glory”- Psalm 115:1
Pastor Search Committee Chair, University Baptist Church, Houston TX
“Upon the announcement of our pastor’s retirement after over 40 years of service, our leadership agreed wholeheartedly that guidance would be needed to navigate the ensuing transition. The Center for Healthy Churches helped us make the most of the transition time. We studied our church, documented our strengths, our needs and our dreams for the future. Being able to define the qualities needed in our new pastor through facilitated churchwide conversations provided clarity and focus to the search committee as we sought the pastor our church needed. The Center for Health Churches provided just the right amount of support through each step of our journey. Beginning with the congregational conversations and working through the advance search we were able to gain the interest of top candidates. We are now in the First 100 Days of coaching with our new pastor, Rev. Kristen Tucker. She has been received with enthusiasm and is already positively impacting the lives of our church family! We appreciate the support and thought partnership provided by CHC during this pivotal time. Frank Creech, Pastor Search Committee Smithfield Baptist Church, Smithfield NC
Pastor Search Committee, Smithfield Baptist Church, Smithfield, NC
“Long before the challenges of COVID, the CHC guided our church through the cultural shifts that have changed the landscape for the church. This process of charting a course for the next decade was such a positive experience as we looked at strengths and ways we can build upon them. As our leadership team heard about this new terrain and road for ministry, they understood like Dorothy “We’re not in Kansas anymore.” The planning process that Bill Wilson led us through gave birth to the HOPE CENTER. It is a $6 million project in downtown to ministry to the working poor, homeless, a counseling center, affordable childcare and to create a network of non-profits.”
Dr. Phil Christopher, Pastor
First Baptist Church, Abilene TX
“What impresses me most about The Center for Healthy Churches is the way the team of consultants and coaches use their understanding of pastors and churches to help congregations see better, bigger, more Christlike possibilities than they saw before. When church leaders are looking for advice, recommending they talk with CHC is the best guidance I give.”
Dr. Brett Younger
Senior Minister, Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, NY
“In our over twenty years of pastoral ministry, one truth we have learned to rely on is… When we need help, call CHC! Bill has been a friend for many years and the work of the Center for Healthy Churches has been invaluable to us. On multiple occasions the CHC has provided the wisdom and vision, experience, and energy we, and our church leadership, have needed. Whether related to finance, personnel, capital, or church vision, we have come to trust the counsel of the CHC. You can, too.”
Park Road Baptist Church, Charlotte NC
“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, CHC 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!”
Dr. John P. Chandler
Leader, Spence Network, Richmond VA
Pulpit Committee Consulting
“I attended a session CHC led at one of the National conferences for The Church Network on staff conflict and succession planning. From there we were blessed to engage The Center for Healthy Churches in a visioning process for our church. Through Covid-19, Bill and his team have helped shepherd churches like ours through the pandemic with weekly webinars that have been impactful and relevant.”
Church Administrator, Westminster Presbyterian Church, West Chester, PA
“The CHC process helped our church to determine what kind of leader we needed to be the church we aspire to be in the decades ahead. The discussions our church held during the process helped us to identify key elements of our history, mission, and vision that continue to shape who we are becoming, and the kind of courageous leaders we need at Greystone. It wasn’t an easy process – but growth often emerges out of a willingness to be vulnerable, embrace dialogue, and honor our past while embracing a new future. As a search team leader, I was grateful to have Bill Wilson’s support all along the way, and I’m thankful for the lessons we learned and the pastor we called in the process.”
Chair of Search Committee, Greystone Baptist Church, Raleigh NC
“From the fall of 2009 through December 31, 2013, Bill served as the President of the Center for Congregational Health, and I served on the Board of Directors of the CCH. For the past eighteen months, I have served as the Chairman of the Board of the CCH, and during that time I have worked and communicated on a regular and consistent basis with Bill. Also, during the period from November, 2011 through December, 2012, I served as the Team Leader of the Ardmore Baptist Church Pastor Search Team (“PST”). Bill was a consultant to the Pastor Search Team and thus I had the pleasure of working with him in that capacity.
Bill’s advice and counsel to the Ardmore Baptist PST was instrumental and invaluable in our successful search for a senior pastor at Ardmore. Bill is also done great work as a counselor and advisor to church congregations on many issues, and especially to those churches experiencing internal conflict. He has helped and led these congregations to respectfully confront, address and begin to heal such conflicts. He is dedicated, committed and called to that service. It is a worthy calling.
I am excited about Bill’s role as the Director of “The Center for Health Churches,” where he will have the opportunity to continue consulting and helping restore spiritual health to church congregations so they can more effectively carry out their mission of building God’s Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven.”
David Niblock. Esq.
“The coaching our search team received was invaluable. Much had changed since our last transition period, so understanding the current trends and methods was critical to our success. As chairman, I learned the perspective and expectations of candidates, how best to approach prospective pastors, and ways to effectively communicate our vision. CHC provided guidance through the entire search process, from our initial research phase through “call weekend” and beyond.”
Chairman, Pastor Search Committee, First Baptist Huntsville, AL
“The need was clear, but not the path. The desire was there, but not the unity. The attitude was prevalent – “We did this before and nothing changed.” CHC was the answer we needed. Four big dreams! Hundreds of members engaged. Our “Game Plan” was created and implemented. The process worked!”
Senior Pastor, Central Baptist Church of Bearden, Knoxville
“The process that the Center for Healthy Churches used to help our church enter into meaningful intergenerational conversation, discern common values and congregational identity, and communicate our needs with candidates was invaluable. Our church had the uniquely challenging experience of entering the Covid-19 pandemic in the middle of our pastor search process, and I don’t know what we would’ve done without the guidance of our CHC transitional pastor during that time. Their organization represents decades worth of collective wisdom and experience, and the guidance they provided was both reassuring and beneficial as we watched God work alongside us through the process.”
Search Committee, FBC Murfreesboro TN
“The search process that Bill Wilson and the Center for Healthy Churches used to guide our committee through a significant pastor search enabled us to move that work from a tedious and anxiety-producing time to one of excitement and discovery. We learned things about our church as well as the candidates during that time that enabled us to be confident in our selection and for that person to quickly be accepted by and engaged in our congregation. I know that we would not have achieved the levels of effectiveness and professionalism that were recognized and acknowledged by many of our candidates during and after our work.”
Dr. Thomas Hallman
FBC Aiken SC
“Our church just concluded a 10-month search for a new senior pastor, most of which was done on ZOOM during a pandemic. Dr. Bill Wilson and the Center for Healthy Churches were a “God-send” for us. They were thorough, professional, and attentive. After detailed training sessions with the CHC, we were ready. All candidates the CHC sent to our committee were very qualified. We followed the recommended process and when it came to final decision time, the seven of us were 100% in agreement. I fully endorse the CHC.”
Frank Mayo, co-chair
Pastor Search Committee, First Baptist Church, Burlington, NC
“Re-envision. Re-invention. Re-invigoration for continuing ministry! Thank you, Bill Wilson, for bringing your experience and wisdom into our processes to keep our ministries vital and relevant in today’s world. You are a friend to the future we all need for times like these!”
Dr. Bill White
Christ Journey Church, Coral Gables FL
“The Center for Healthy Churches (CHC) has a great process for helping churches find the pastor God has chosen for them. They were fully engaged with our Transition Team and Pastor Search Team every step of the way, helping us identify the character traits our church was looking for in a pastor, and then sent us high-quality candidates who possessed those characteristics. As we interacted with the candidates, the CHC coached us through the vetting process with as much (or as little) assistance as we wanted. Our team is extremely grateful for the CHC and how God used them to help our church find our next pastor!”
Chancellor Baptist Church, Fredericksburg VA
Co-Chair, Pastor SearchTeam
“As co-chair of the First Baptist Church of Princeton WV, I can not express how helpful Bill Wilson and the Center for Healthy churches were in aiding us to find a pastor in especially trying times. In the very worst of the covid pandemic, their guidance in the self study of our church and our needs and their proven program of searching for a pastor, not based on who needed a job, but who would fit the needs of our church was outstanding.
We were able to review and do initial interviews without ever leaving our church. We did these via Zoom sessions We had a group of highly qualified prospects, none of whom were looking to leave their church but all were willing to follow God’s guidance, and at least speak with us.
The time NOT spent pouring over resumes of pastors who were dissatisfied for one reason or another saved our committee weeks and possibly months. The guidance in the types of questions we needed to ask, based on a survey of our church members was invaluable.
I highly recommend their services and their help. It is obvious to me that they are Spirit led and guided by prayer in all they do.”
Co-Chair of Search Team, FBC Princeton WVA
“Using the Center for Healthy Churches to help our search team identify a new senior pastor gave us access to a professional consultant in Bill Owen who led our congregation in three listening sessions, guided our team in creating a Congregational Profile and Senior Pastor Profile, and showed us the how-tos on corresponding with and interviewing potential candidates. This assistance with the mechanics of the process freed up our search team to spend more time in prayer, seeking God’s will for our church, as God did an amazing work over 18 months in the lives of the10 people that served on our team and within our congregation. Generally after this type of process, you have the chance to reflect back on what God has done, but especially in the latter stages of our search, I felt that God invited me along to watch as he knocked down barriers and blessed our plans and dreams. It was an amazing experience.”
Search Committee Chair, Central Baptist Church of Fountain City, Knoxville TN
“In addition to your friendship during these past months, your expertise, experience and caring for First Baptist Church, Burlington has certainly been a blessing. We experienced first hand how The Center for Healthy Churches fills a need for churches during a very important time in the life of a church.
We learned so much about ourselves thanks to your leadership as you guided us through our transition. Our team came together and we are all thankful that the thoughtful approach you brought helped us avoid the pitfalls we could have encountered. Our God works in marvelous and mysterious ways.
Your recommending David Hull was no small blessing for us. We can’t thank you enough for leading us to Dr Hull.
Dr. Ralph Harwood
Chair of the Transition Team, First Baptist Church Burlington NC
“We were very blessed to have chosen Bill Wilson and the Center for Healthy Churches to lead our congregation in a visioning process. Bill’s deep understanding of “church,” coupled with his winsome way, led members of the congregation in several engaging conversations, and guided them as THEY began to dream new dreams and see visions for the future. We clearly ended up with the CONGREGATION’S vision – not Bill’s, not just the staff’s – and continue to be energized by where it has taken us. I have strongly recommended Bill and his team to numerous congregations.”
Dr. Don Lincoln, Pastor
Westminster Presbyterian Church, West Chester PA
“The challenge of being the pastor of a local church or the leader of a church-focused ministry is that you have to be a jack of all trades. The problem is that no one person can be an expert in all these trades. That’s why I look to the Center for Healthy Churches. If they don’t know the answer, they know someone who does. We are fortunate to have a multi-disciplinary, deeply experienced and committed organization such as the Center for Healthy Churches as a support and an encouragement during these challenging times.”
Dr. Michael Glenn, Pastor
Brentwood Baptist Church, Brentwood TN
“Several years ago, when the leadership team at Mountain Brook Baptist Church felt led to consider God’s vision for our fellowship as we approached a new decade, we approached Bill Wilson and the Center for Healthy Churches for assistance. Our experience was a most productive one. Bill worked with us to identify our ministry assets and then to leverage them in ways that might enable us to reach our greatest level of faithfulness. What resulted was something purposeful, contextual, and applicable. We continue to be blessed by the initiatives that came from our work with the CHC, and without them managing this present pandemic would be an even greater challenge.”
Dr. Doug Dortch, Pastor
Mountain Brook Baptist Church, Birmingham AL
“The Center for Healthy Churches describes itself as having an ecumenical, innovative, and entrepreneurial spirit and I have certainly found that to be accurate. In two churches where I have served, Bill Wilson has helped immensely by using his deep knowledge about the church to help us develop vision and to clarify mission and purpose. I often refer to and share with others the definition CHC uses to define a healthy church which is “a community of Jesus followers with shared vision, thriving ministry, and trusted leadership”. I firmly believe, and as my very positive experiences with The Center for Healthy Churches have shown me, that when parish ministry is approached in this way, it brings a renewed sense of purpose and meaning to a congregation.”
The Rev. David Hodges
Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, St. Louis, Missouri