The Power of Tools

Posted on: February 7th, 2012

Cumberland Baptist Church, Cumberland, WI

By Pastor Gary Dorn

When I accepted the position as Senior Pastor at Cumberland Baptist Church in 2008, I came to a church that was struggling and in decline.  This congregation of wonderful people was experiencing much dissatisfaction and conflict.

One evening, as I spoke frankly with my elders, I told them we needed to pray that no new person would walk through the doors because our church was sick.  We knew our mission was to make disciples, but we had no idea of what we were doing.  We were not a healthy community. We needed help.

It was then that our elders made a commitment to figure this out.  We knew we could do it. We also knew it might take us many years.  But, by God’s Grace, we would figure it out. We were committed.

Shortly after this meeting, Dr. Stu Dix told me about The Retool Kit.  My first reaction was that it was simply another new program. Stu reassured me that this was not a program.  It was a process and we needed to get more information.

In January of 2009, I went with an elder to a weekend retreat where we learned about the Retool Kit.  As we drove away, the elder said, “Those are the tools we need!”  Immediately, we knew what we needed to do.

In the fall of 2009, we began the Retool Kit Process.  It began with renewing our community, rebuilding our leadership and gaining a burden for our community.  We did not discuss vision until the second year of this process. By the time we began to discuss vision, we knew who we were as a church and we knew our community.

We realized that we were an older congregation and that was not a bad thing.  Using Ttius 2 as a guide, older Christians began to love on younger Christians.  We became a generation bridging church.

We also discovered that our community was overwhelmed with addictions. We need to love these hurting people.

We also looked inward and realized that we had much work to do in the area of our music.

Using these three issues as our starting point, we have a new vision.

Cumberland Baptist Church is called to be Christ centered, broken people, bridging generations to discover God’s direction and healing, using our God-given gifts to focus our hearts in worship.

The effects of the Retool Kit process were evident long before we launched our new vision in the fall of 2011.   In the summer of 2011, our attendance doubled over the previous year.   At the end of 2010, we were $10,000 behind in our budget.  As of the fall of 2011, we are $8,000 ahead.

More importantly, we have a new reputation in our community.  In 2008, when I arrived at Cumberland, if you had asked people about our church, most may not have even known we were in the community.  For those who knew about our church and where we were located, many thought we did not care about our community.  That has changed.

A member of our congregation that works at the local hospital overheard a comment from someone who is not a member of our church.  She said, “Cumberland Baptist Church is a place that hurting people can go when they need love.”

The Retool Kit is about the power of tools.  It provides the tools that churches need.  It is not a program but a process.  It doesn’t make cookie cutter churches, but helps your church find out who God wants you to be.