Gary Taitinger was a country kid from Claresholm who experienced fruitfulness as the lifeblood of farming families and church congregations.
Gary and I met 32 years ago at a minister’s gathering in Red Deer, Alberta. He was the Lead Pastor at Millwoods Assembly in Edmonton. I was a staffer at Central Tabernacle in Edmonton. We’ve been doing what we do going on five decades.
We’re not old, we’re experienced.
This week, two days after Gary’s birthday and one day before mine, the staff celebrated with cupcakes adorned with candles. I did the math while we enjoyed the chocolate frosted treats. In total, we had 141 trips around the sun, 86 years of pastoral work, and 64 years of local church leadership in Edmonton alone.
There’s a Grand Canyon size difference between experience and accomplishment.
Stephen Covey explains, “Some people say they have 20 years experience, when in reality, they have 1 year’s experience repeated 20 times.”
Healthy leaders enjoy decades of experience in leading through fruitful lifecycles.
Faithfulness, years, or decades of experience, is admirable but fruitfulness, producing kingdom results, is essential. Jesus made clear that he “chose you and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain.” (John 15:16)
Accomplishment in a church or an organization is the difference between vitality and decline.
Most organizations go through a lifecycle of start, grow, thrive, decline, and eventually end. Churches are no exception.
Leaders who understand the pattern of a lifecycle can experience fruitful kingdom outcomes. These leaders grow towards a peak of sustained health
and intercept plateau
by launching a timely initiative
and birthing a new lifecycle.
They focus on accomplishment.
Rinse and repeat.
Lifecycles at Millwoods/Hope City
Six years as an associate staff member.
Death of the founding pastor and Gary starting as lead pastor.
Opened new facility on new property.
A focus on young adults at The Project, a Sunday evening gathering that grew to 1,200.
Two service times and two church plant partnerships. Strathcona (1990s) and Eaglemont Church in Beaumont (2007).
Alpha provincial campaign (2013) and leadership succession with Phil Kneisel (2010-2015).
National Alpha campaign with Bear Grills and elected as ABNWT District Superintendent in May 2017.
The lifecycles saw the congregation grow from a couple of hundred people to 4,000 pre-COVID. In 2023 there are two satellite campuses in Edmonton and one in the NWT. Thousands of people credit their choice to follow Jesus to the influence of Millwoods/Hope City.
Lifecycles at Central/North Pointe
There were distinct lifecycles at Central Tabernacle/North Pointe over 29 years of my journey.
Four years as Christian Education and Missions Pastor.
Elected as the Lead Pastor.
Relocation journey started.
Launch as North Pointe Community Church in a new facility on new property.
2nd service started.
3rd service started.
Launch of an onsite campus and opening of the facility expansion (April 2018), transitioned from North Pointe (2019).
Central/North Pointe celebrated 100 years of faithful fruitfulness in 2017 with over 3,500 people in their orbit and undertaking a timely expansion to position the congregation for growth opportunities.
Trips Around the Sun
We’re not old, we’re experienced. And there are many more experiences to embrace. Gary started his next cycle in 2017 when he was elected District Superintendent of the ABNWT. He led with “one big thing (OBT) – the vitalization of churches. Lifecycles are an art not a science. There is no formal length to them. But you can see a pattern above. Six years into his role he is on the verge of launching the next cycle of life in the ABNWT.
Here’s to many more trips around the sun in a shared journey of fruitfulness.
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