In Search of Scaffolding

Church seeks—and finds—a framework for leading change

Date Posted: 
Friday, September 23, 2016

“We were already working toward renewal,” says Bethany Devos. “We” is Devos, her copastor husband Corstian, and their congregation at North and Southampton Reformed Church in Churchville, Pennsylvania.

But she was looking for something to help guide the process. Structure. Bones. Scaffolding of some sort.

Devos found that framework in Ridder Church Renewal, and in the discipleship tool that’s at its heart, Faithwalking.

“It has taken me a long time to accept my own calling as a pastor,” Devos says. “Then I had to accept my call as a pastoral leader. Now I have to wrap my mind around what it means to be a pastor who leads change. Each is a little different and takes a little different skill set.

“The personal pieces of Faithwalking—and the toolbox that comes out of the Ridder Church Renewal process—have been integral to helping me develop that confidence and competence when it comes to leading change,” she says.

Ridder Church Renewal is a multi-year process for pastors and other congregational leaders, helping churches make deep change. It’s built on the principle that individual transformation precedes church transformation. Faithwalking hones in on that individual transformation.

For Devos, Faithwalking became “a pathway into the transformational power of the gospel.”

As she reflected on her identity as a child of God—one step of the Faithwalking process—Devos was able to address a damaging narrative from her childhood that she wasn’t as worthy as the boys. Coming to see herself not just as a beloved child of God, but as a beloved daughter of God, had a profound impact.

Now, holding on to that new identity, Devos says she is moving more and more in the direction of doing things with God instead of doing things for God.

“It changes the weight of responsibility from my shoulders to the work of the Holy Spirit.

“My role isn’t to make it happen, whatever ‘it’ is. My role is to provide the opportunity, the platform, the environment within which the Holy Spirit can work or people can encounter the Spirit.”

That awareness has changed how Devos works with other leaders in the church. It’s the difference between asking, “God, what would you have me do?” and “God, what would you have us do?” Now, there’s more “us.”

“We’ve always believed we were collaborative leaders,” she says of herself and Corstian. “We were always asking around the table, ‘What do you think?’” But, she points out, there’s a big difference between “What do you think?” and “How can we together discern the Spirit’s leading?”

“We finally have found the scaffolding to help shape that.”

[Photo by Hansen Photo and Video]

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