From Dysfunction to Discipleship

Posted on: February 7th, 2012


Mentor Baptist Church, Mentor, OH   Pastor Brian Landrum

Mentor Baptist Church is sixty years old.  When I came from California to be pastor of this small-town church not far from Cleveland, there were many challenges. In spite of these challenges, God has been doing a wonderful work in this church.

Thirty years ago, a group of teenagers ran over and killed a deacon in the church parking lot.  For thirty years, we have been known in our community as the church where the deacon was killed in the parking lot.

Overcoming this identity has been difficult.   We knew that before God could use us we needed to clean up the dysfunction and conflict that accompanied this identity.

Gary Schroeder and Dan Peterson from the Converge MidAtlantic office suggested the Retool Kit process for our church.

As we began the Retool Kit, we wrestled with who we were as a church.  We struggled with unhealthy relationships and dysfunctional behavior.  As we moved through the process, God began to reshape us.  Our DNA dramatically changed.  We dealt with our conflict issues.

Eventually we were healthy enough to look towards some goals for the future of our church.  Beautiful posters in our sanctuary continually remind us of these important goals.

Our first goal is to Experience Authentic Relationship. “Hi, how are you?” will no longer do.  We want authentic, accountable relationships that encourage people to follow Christ.

Our second goal is to Engage Our Community. SON Ministries (Serving Our Neighbors) is reaching out in this small town.  No longer are we waiting for people to come to us.  We are out in our neighborhoods serving and loving people.

Our third goal is to Enhance Our Visual Presentation.  Set back from the street, tucked away, we were barely noticeable.   Today, new landscaping and signage give us greater visibility in Mentor.

The Retool Kit process has changed who we are.  It put us back on the map.

No longer are we the church where the deacon was killed in the parking lot.

 Now, we are the church that is out serving God in our community.