Satellite Saturday Offers Leadership Solutions

Date Posted: 9/12/2013

No travel budget? No problem.  Rev. Wanda Bess of Blueridge UMC, Houston, has already signed on to host next year’s “Satellite Experience.”  The School of Congregational Development sponsors this annual training event that is shared via satellite at sites across the U.S. This year, the event connected eight sites via satellite to deliver an impressive agenda of speakers leveraging this trendy meeting format.


“Our August Satellite Experience brought cutting edge ministry leaders virtually into our midst,” adds Wanda, “and we loved bringing it live to our little church.” Inspiration came in many ways. “Dottie encouraged me to seek out new ways to minister to children,” she says, “and even though Rev. Rudy is just down the street, we don’t usually get the opportunity to hear him up close and personal.”


Rev. Dottie shared the story of CrossRoads’ revitalization from empty pews to packed pews in her “Revolutionary reStarts” presentation. “There are revitalizations going on and deaths within the Methodist church,” she shares, asking, “Are you ready to die?” She believes that congregational death is aided by a top heavy structure, a welfare mentality, hierarchical and “closed communication in an open source world.”

Encouraging churches to ‘move to the edge,’ involves: 1) Change happening from the inside out and 2) moving from a factory church to a creative church. She shared tips from her “Pioneer Mission” challenge such as:

-          loving the people and learning the culture (get out of the office)

-          connecting with the needs of the community by reaching for the hurting

-          bringing the gospel

-          growing disciples (through relationships) to send out

-          and doing it again and again.

“Fall in love with God again and be prepared to fail big and fast,” she adds. “Look away from the center to the edges and choose followership over leadership.”


Rev. Rudy Rasmus, St. John’s UMC, Houston told attendees that revolution can happen anywhere, anytime, among any group of people. “If you think you are leading, and no one is following you, then you are only taking a walk,” he shares. “To recognize new possibilities, we must match solutions with problems, make it fit us, clarify and communicate and make the new approach into a routine.” His comments contrast a relic (something that has survived time) with relevant (something applicable to current matters at hand) and he encouraged congregational leaders to consider their church values and perceptions, from the eyes of outsiders. “Would visitors find your church lacking community significance? Would they find Christianity shallow and church boring?”


Blueridge UMC member Stephanie Wilkins loved the connectional feel of the satellite session and learning how others across the nation are intentionally making disciples and impacting their communities. She says, “I am on board with Rudy’s idea of a love revolution, and this whole concept of letting some aspect of church die so that we can experience something new and better, as Jesus modeled through the resurrection.”


Participant Larry Wilburn, St. Andrew UMC, Houston enjoyed the entire Satellite Experience. “It was truly different than a classroom seminar with a variety of questions and answers and perspectives from ministers in the field,” he shares.


Keynote speaker Charles Lee daily reminds leaders that creating a true culture of innovation is more than introducing new ideas. Hear inspiring seminar comments in the video clips below.


2013 SCD Satellite Experience Videos:

Session 1: Dottie Escobedo-Frank

Session 2: Rudy Rasmus

Session 3: Dottie and Rudy

Session 4: Charles Lee

Session 5: Charles Lee Questions and Answers with Diane Johnson

Session 5: Charles Lee Questions and Answers with Diane Johnson