Following up on the meeting on Sunday, February 25, we will be asking for a congregational vote regarding a potential partnership with The Unstuck Group, a church consulting group which will be working with other ABC churches in Michigan.  You can download the letter which was mailed out to the congregation here.  Below is a letter Pastor DJ sent to the congregation one week ago, addressing questions or concerns.

Informational Meeting Review

Last Sunday about 30 Chilson members stayed after the worship service to ask questions and learn more about the proposed partnership between Chilson Hills Church and The Unstuck Group, a church consultant group that specializes in helping churches- you guessed it – get “unstuck.” Some of the questions asked during and after the meeting were as follows:

  • What is The Unstuck Group’s “track record” or success rate?

I answered this based on the success reported to me by David Rice, who is the pastor of Markey Community Church, an ABC congregation in Roscommon, Michigan. They reported that the money invested in the “unstuck process,” was the best money they had ever spent.

  • Why did we rush the process and press for a congregational vote so soon before the fiscal year runs out?

We were given a March 1 deadline by David Rice who is recruiting churches to be a part of this ABC-MI cohort. We decided to push the official congregational meeting back two weeks in accordance with church bylaws, and in order to give people more time to process this information. David Rice approved of this decision and told us to work through our process.

  • How can we afford this when we aren’t meeting our budget?

While we are not meeting our budget, we are paying all of our bills and we are in a strong financial position. Our expenses are being covered and overall, we are in the black. So, Chilson – financially speaking – is stable.

  • How will the payment plan work?

Payments (to ABC-MI) will be flexible. We would need to put down $1,000 at the beginning, and then we will go on a monthly or quarterly payment plan.

  • Shouldn’t we spend the $8,000 (over two years) on something else (like another staff member or a massive marketing campaign)?

What the Unstuck Group proposes to do is help us look at the bigger picture before taking actions like finding staff members or taking on a massive marketing campaign. I think everyone would agree, it’s a bigger waste of money to do something without a clear direction.

  • “I’ve been in a company that hired a consultant and they gave us reports that didn’t really make much of a difference.”

Every situation is different. There is no guarantee that The Unstuck Group is the cure for our ills. By entering into a partnership with The Unstuck Group, we are asking for an outside perspective about how we “do church.” They will tell us what they think, and then they will ask us to honestly assess ourselves. They will help us create an action plan based on the assessments. The Unstuck Group will encourage us, direct us and help us take steps forward. But success is ultimately up to us.

  • Have I called “The Snow Birds” yet?

I have heard from Jesse Ping and Wally Qualls.  I am in the process of calling the other snow birds.

  • Why are we proposing this when four years ago, we rejected the proposal for another consultant?

The consultant that was proposed back in November 2014 would have been contracted to help mediate conflict in our congregation. This consultant is being brought in to help us pull back and look at the big picture and create a ministry plan for church growth and congregational health. Their observations will most certainly compel us to evaluate the way receive visitors, the programming offered for children and youth, discipleship strategies, staff needs and pastoral leadership.

We will be having another meeting on Sunday, March 11 at noon to discuss this further and then take a vote. I am always open to hearing from you.

I also made a commitment to those who were present that if we had a significant minority who opposed the partnership with The Unstuck Group, then we will take more time to discuss a solution that the congregation can agree upon.


D.J. Reed



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