Archive for the Waypoint Services Category

A Healthy Eldership: Waypoint Can Help Point the Way

Posted in Waypoint Services on July 25, 2016 by Waypoint Church Partners

Multi-ethnic men talkingWaypoint exists to help churches and leaders navigate uncharted ministry waters. Much of our time and energy is spent with ministers. We also advise and equip elders to chart the course and navigate through ministry challenges.

Here is a quick list of some of the services we provide to elders:

Elder Meeting Coaching
Waypoint staff can visit your elders’ meetings to give feedback and advice for creating a more effective leadership environment.

Elder Retreats
Waypoint staff can help you plan and deliver a great Elders’ Retreat designed to help your church elders focus and stay on track for the important mission entrusted to them.

Hiring Service
Waypoint staff can coach elders faced with the task of creating a comprehensive process for hiring a new senior minister or associate staff.

Strategic Consultations
Waypoint staff often advise elders about specific topics to provide broader perspective and wisdom. Recent consultations have included same-sex/transgender issues, bylaws revisions, long-range planning, incorporation & 501(c)(3) filing, merger discussions, and more.

For more information on how Waypoint Church Partners can help grow and serve your elders, contact Tim Cole at

Tim Cole headshot - circle smTim Cole
Executive Director

This article was originally published in The Waypoint Endeavor: Spring 2016 edition. If you would like to receive future printed editions of the VEF Quarterly, please send your name and mailing address to



Fusion Groups: Following Jesus’ Example In Leadership

Posted in Fusion Groups, Waypoint Services on September 15, 2015 by Waypoint Church Partners

A new wind is blowing across the VEF landscape these days – the Fusion Group wind. This fall as many as 200 ministers will begin gathering monthly in 30 Fusion Groups, and we will continue to start new groups monthly. Like Jesus’ early peer learning community, these groups will have three over-riding goals: 1) To offer practical peer learning, 2) To provide authentic pastoral care to each other, 3) To produce prayer-empowered leaders.

Reggie McNeal, in his book Revolution in Leadership, describes a key element in Jesus’ strategy to develop and sustain leaders. He says, “With the whole world to save, Jesus decided to create a learning community.” While Jesus ministered to thousands, he gathered a small group around him in the first Christian peer learning community.

Could it be that Jesus knew something about leaders that we’ve missed today? And could it be that Satan knows something about leaders that he desperately wants us to overlook?

Growing up in a solid church under the leadership of a very capable minister was a blessing. But I must admit I developed a very skewed view of ministers. To me, ministers were people with inexhaustible energy, capable of answering every question, ready to meet any challenge and solve any problem. While I never actually saw any ministers change from their street clothes into Super-Man outfits, in my mind as a little boy I was quite sure they could when needed.

But after almost 40 years in ministry and after spending a life-time rubbing shoulders with ministers, can I tell you a secret, just between you and me? Your minister may not want you to know this secret and I’m certain Satan doesn’t want you to hear it, but here it is: Ministers are only people, just like you! There! The secret’s out. Ministers don’t have all the answers, they are often lonely and hurting, and they regularly struggle under the load of trying to pursue Kingdom growth in their God-given context and calling.

If you are in ministry and would like to become part of a Fusion Group, contact me at Please join me in praying regularly for your church leaders and encourage them to join a Fusion Group soon.

Here is a graphic of all the current VEF Fusion Groups meeting across Virginia, North Carolina, and beyond:

fusion group map graphic-01

neil wheeler - circleNeil Wheeler
Director of Leader Care

A Fusion lesson from St. Benedict and Civil War nuns…

Posted in Fusion Groups, Waypoint Services on May 21, 2013 by Waypoint Church Partners

The VEF facilitates many “Fusion” peer groups around the Commonwealth to provide local ministers an effective environment to be stretched in their ministry. Fusion groups cycle monthly through 4 primary categories for professional development: Shifts in the American culture, emerging ministry paradigms, micro-skills needed for ministry and the spiritual formation of the pastor.

05_RichmondHillLast week my Fusion group focused on this final category by gathering at the Richmond Hill Monastery in historic Church Hill on the East end of downtown Richmond. The history of this Ecumenical Retreat center is fascinating. Immediately following the Civil War the local Bishop looked out across the war-torn ruins of the city and sent word to Baltimore for a group of nuns to be sent by the Bishop to begin praying for the healing of the city.

For the next 120 years the property overlooking downtown Richmond would serve as a monastery, convent and boarding school until its sale and renovation as a prayer retreat center in the 1980s. Richmond Hill follows a simplified version of the Benedictine Rule as the rhythm of life and ministry on the property.

After Constantine normalized Christianity in A.D. 313 many believers ventured into the dessert to follow a more rigid, monastic form of spiritual life. They often created a systematic “Rule” to measure the status of their daily spiritual life. By the time Benedict came along in the 5th century there were dozens of “Rules” of varying length and complexity being used. Benedict decided to make a composite rule that could be used more broadly by those living this monastic life. His “Rule” is 73 chapters long containing very pragmatic instructions about living a monastic life in community with others.

Richmond Hill follows a simplified 12-part “Rule” to govern the cycle of life and ministry on the property: Conversion of Life, Obedience, Community, Simplicity, Humility, Hospitality, Prayer, Racial Reconciliation, Healing, Ecumenism, Christian Social Transformation and Stability.

Of the 12 we discussed with one of the resident priests on-site, I was struck by a couple of these broad areas of focus. First was Prayer: They practice 3 daily corporate prayer sessions at 7am, 12pm and 6pm. Strangely they are meant to be interruptions in the day, not integral parts of it. Stopping to pray when you’re getting ready for the day, working or before a meal is meant to regularly jar you back into prayer for the city, reconciliation, etc.

Second is stability. The order values longevity in ministry that produces stability not just for the monastic community, but for the individual lives as well. When you make a commitment to stick it out at a place of ministry through difficult times or with difficult people the gradual maturity produced as a result creates personal stability you’d not gain by fleeing to the next open ministry available to pursue.

We could learn a lot about ministry from this ancient order: Regularly scheduling prayer interruptions to force us to pray for all the concerns we ought. Staying put in ministry not for the purpose of adding stability to our church, but for the maturity it produces in us.

For more information about the VEF and Fusion Groups, contact our Director of Church Relations at Harry Gill at

Tim Cole headshot - circle smTim Cole
Director of Church Planting

Sometimes Joy Comes Via E-mail

Posted in Waypoint Services on November 14, 2012 by Waypoint Church Partners

It’s always encouraging to hear how the work of the VEF has directly impacted congregations across Virginia. We got this e-mail today and joy fills our hearts to know that we could help in a real, effective way.

VEF Friends,
You “made our day” when you approved Reedswood Christian Church for a no-interest loan five or six years back. The relief your decision afforded us cannot be overstated. None of us knew at the time the tight economy about to envelope us. It was your loan program that permitted us to remain current in the primary mortgage with a local bank and with you. It has been a fast few years. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the service you provided us in the original building of Gloucester Church of Christ in 1982 and with the expansion of that building more recently. We are but one of many churches regularly assisted and blessed by VEF.
Thank you from the Reedswood family.
God’s blessings on VEF and her dedicated workers,
Dave Thornton, on behalf of a most grateful Reedswood Christian Church

To learn more about our no-interest loan fund, click here.