During 2009, ABC-Ohio began the process of developing a plan that would enable us to be more effective in the future as we serve the Lord. The “Vision Quest Team”, comprised of ABC-Ohio professional and lay leaders, met to develop recommendations that would enable our region to take formal steps to advance God’s work in a way that is more effective with respect to finances, staffing and the interconnectedness between the Region and local ABC-Ohio churches. Because ABC-Ohio leadership believes that our region can be stronger through a willingness to prayerfully and decisively reflect upon who we are, what we do and how we can improve, both the staff and Board held meetings to chart a path toward this end.

During the ABC-Ohio Board Retreat on February 12-13, this process took its next step, as a Transformation Team was formed. Team members are Rev. Patty Bilyeu (Past President, ABC-Ohio), Mr. Rick Dostal (Administrative Ministries), Rev. Dr. Larry Swain (Executive Minister), Rev. Chris Thomas (President, ABC-Ohio), Dr. Marva Hughes, Rev. Mark Eaton, Rev, Chester Hess, Rev. Craig Holler, Rev. Sarah Jay, Rev. Joe Seese, Rev. David Nuhfer, Rev. Peter McCurdy and Pastor Beverly Keyse.

The task of the Team, with the assistance of Mark L. Vincent of Design Group International, is to develop formal recommendations for consideration by the ABC-Ohio Board and, eventually, delegates at the 2010 Annual Gathering. We began this task from the perspective of starting with a “clean slate” upon which we can begin to build a more effective regional structure. It is our prayer that this process will enable us to leverage our strengths, seek out and use the gifts of our ABC-Ohio staff and churches, and model ourselves in such a way that we are more proactive in our common ministry for the glory of God, including . . .

  1. Evaluating and, as needed, adjusting the duties and requirements of ABC-Ohio staff.
  2. Facilitating better communication between the Region and local churches.
  3. Assessing how we can most effectively use our financial resources.
  4. Partnering with ABC-Ohio churches in a manner that enables the churches to have greater “ownership” in the work of the Region.
  5. Encouraging more ABC-Ohio churches to be engaged in the ministry of the region, both financially and through participation in events and ministries.

One of the reasons for this need relates to the financial resources available to the Region. Current economic issues affecting our nation directly impact the ability of local churches to fund their ministries as well as provide financial support to the Region. Because these offerings have decreased, coupled with inflationary pressures, we are aware that we need to honestly look at (1) The financial resources we believe will be available to us, (2) What we can do to help increase these resources and, (3) How we can be faithful stewards of them. While the Region does have financial reserves, to continue using them without implementing meaningful changes would, in the next few years, result in the depletion of those reserves, necessitating painful decisions that could leave the Region less effective in ministry.

The Transformation Team is now working in 3 sub-groups:

  1. Structure Team
    •    This Team is working on job descriptions for ABC-Ohio staff as well as proposed revisions to the region’s Constitution and By-Laws.
  2. Implementation Team
    •    This team is currently scheduling 6-9 focus groups in June that will enable local church participants input into the process, including recommendations for changes. A participant will be able to attend the focus group that is most conveniently available to him/her.
    •    Following the focus groups, the team will finalize the proposed structure for presentation to the ABC-Ohio Board in July and, eventually, the delegates at the 2010 Annual Gathering.
  3. Communication Team
    •    This team will oversee the flow of information from the Teams to local churches via regular mail, e-mail and the ABC-Ohio web site.
    •    As new information is received, it will be passed along to enable everyone to keep as up-to-date as possible on this process, which the Team desires be transparent and responsive to the needs of our regional family.

Questions regarding this process can be directed to Dr. Larry Swain, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Your prayers for the Team are appreciated as we seek to further the work of the Kingdom of God through ABC-Ohio.