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For the congregation longing to become a transforming presence both inside and outside of your church walls.

The Epiphany service is designed to help your congregation imagine, and then live into, a new vision for mission.

Purpose: During the one+ year process your congregation’s leaders will shift the focus from “what” you are doing to “why.” By finding clarity on why you exist, your congregation will discover innovative ways to do ministry and transform your community.


Epiphany is not a church growth program, even though many churches grow as a result. It is a LEADER DEVELOPMENT process that may lead to church growth or transformation depending on the work of the leaders of that congregation. It is a non-synoptic approach that redirects the focus of leaders towards the adaptive questions that lead to deeper insight and clarity of purpose.

The process is unique in that it is not consultant-based nor content-based—but a behavioral approach that enables congregational leaders to ask the right questions that lead a congregation towards adaptive change. The process involves both lay and clergy leaders who move through several phases of discovery.

Hope proposes to work with the congregation on an Epiphany process in several phases:

  1. An Assessment of the current ministry of the church, discovery of church strengths and resources.
  2. A Leadership Retreat (Experience I) that is designed to move leaders from transactional leadership towards transformational leadership.
  3. A Future Story Retreat (Experience II) for a group of leaders who will complete the first draft of a Future Story that is specific and inspiring about their church five years into the future and prepare them to complete the story and create a report for the congregation.


On a mutually determined date, Hope will send an assessor to the church for ~6 hours to get to know the church and the setting firsthand.

During the assessment visit your Hope Assessor will:

  • Meet with moderator/clergy leader
  • Meet with your treasurer/financial officer and review financial statements
  • Tour your building and property to learn how the building is used and maintained
  • Tour your neighborhood
  • Hold an open forum Appreciative Inquiry Session for church members to share the ways your church has excelled in meeting spiritual, missional, and relational needs.
  • Identify the programmatic and missional strengths of your church
  • Research the area demographics

Following the assessment visit, a report will be written by the assessor that will name your congregation’s current condition. It will include:

  • Your congregation’s demographics and membership tenure
  • A pin map showing the location of your members in location to the church
  • Your Community demographics and neighborhood trends
  • Financial history and analysis
  • Building condition and usage
  • Ministry activities and metrics of your congregation’s vitality

Experience I: Leadership Retreat

Hope will send a Facilitator to the church for a Saturday and Sunday Leadership Retreat. Anyone who is a leader in the congregation is invited to attend this experience. It can be formal or informal leaders. It should include the biggest nay-sayers as well as the young potential leaders.

Most church leaders have engaged in various forms of leadership training either at work or in their life experiences. Most leaders, however, are taught the skills of transactional leadership, which improves their management. Transformational leadership is very different, however, since it moves volunteers to a place they never thought they could go. It is a leadership style that moves beyond managing a congregation and towards creating a faith community that makes a difference that is culturally relevant. It also mobilizes resources (volunteers, facilities & finances) for meaningful mission.

At the end of the first experience, leaders will have a firm grasp of what it means to be a transformational leader, an in-depth understanding why the church cannot organize itself as it has in the past, understanding about their individual gifts as a leader, and how their leadership team functions. They will be introduced to what it means to be “missional” and discover ways in which they can move a congregation through change. The leaders will be given an assignment that leads towards better community understanding in preparation for the second experiential retreat.

Experience II: Future Story Retreat

This retreat, 1-3 months after Experience I, takes place on a Friday evening/Saturday and focuses on naming the assets this church has for mission, naming the greatest needs of the community (spiritually as well as physically), and creating a future story that redirects the focus of the congregation. Leaders will learn how to suspend judgment and how to prototype quickly. This retreat should be made up of a variety of people committed to the history of the church and to God’s mission. This smaller group needs to be cooperative and creative. This is not the place for the nay-sayer or the intransigent.

Leaders will engage their creativity using a variety of methods that will lead away from a membership model of being a congregation and towards a missional model. The retreat will end with a clear idea of elements of the future story.


Once your facilitator/coach receives the polished copy of your future story, they will assist the congregation for one year in developing capacity for achieving the story (although, if needed, coaching may begin to help with finishing up the future story as well). The coach will work with the pastor/vision team/leader, who will then work with a small team determined at the end of Experience II. Coaching will hold the team accountable as well as help shape questions that will drive the process.

Capacity building will move the team through reviewing their story, naming elements, prioritizing, then developing the list of 4 capacities learned about in the retreats. It will conclude with the development of a timeline. If coaching does not begin within at least three months after Experience II, it will be forfeited.

Extended coaching for 3, 6, or 12 months is available for an additional fee, if desired.

Service Fee

$6000* plus travel expenses for two contractors (assessor and facilitator)

*To receive this price, the Assessment must be completed before November 30, 2022.


Congregational Assessment, Demographics, Experience I and II Retreats, and Coaching for the Main Clergy Leader (Pastor, Rector, etc.).


  • Travel Expenses for 3 trips (~$850-$1000/trip, including airfare)
  • Hospitality costs for gatherings


Assessment: 4-6 weeks after application received by Hope

Experience I – Leadership Training: At Least 6 Weeks after Assessment

Experience II – Future Story Retreat: About 1-3 Month(s) after Experience I

Coaching: For the Clergy Leader, one e-session per month for 1 year

Total Time: ~12-18 months

Download a Request Form for Epiphany

For more information contact Gilberto Collazo: gcollazo@hopepmt.org 317-713-2534