Pastor Ed Walker knew that Racine Assembly of God, affiliated with the Assemblies of God since the 1930s, had been on a long course of decline and needed a directional change. During his eight years as pastor at the church, he had attempted to employ various church growth strategies with only lackluster results.
The city of Racine has a population of nearly 80,000 people and struggles with significant urban problems, such as high crime, single-parent families, and poverty. Racine and the villages of Mount Pleasant and Caledonia serve as the church’s sphere of influence.
While attending a district network meeting, Pastor Ed heard Alton Garrison present information about the Acts 2 Journey, which he directs. Right away Ed knew this transformative process — led by an experienced team to help a church gain new vision and become stronger spiritually, numerically and relationally — was exactly what Racine Assembly needed.
Ed purchased a copy of Alton’s book A Spirit-Empowered Church for each member of the church board and himself. After prayer and careful consideration, the board formed a vision team and the church began participation in the Acts 2 Journey one-year cohort.
“The church was preparing to launch its new strategic plan, developed through Acts 2 Journey, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced in-person ministry limitations,” Pastor Ed says. “However, the Acts 2 Journey experience became a strategic life raft for us due to the challenges of the pandemic, social unrest, and political divisions experienced in 2020-2021.
“Although our in-person total attendance is somewhat lower than before the pandemic began, we are a much healthier and more stable congregation. In addition, the participation in youth and children’s ministries is higher than before the pandemic shutdown.”
The congregation at Racine Assembly participates in several outreaches to their community that include: 1) sponsoring Royal Family Kids (For the Children) that provides an annual camp and monthly mentoring club for abused and neglected children; 2) working with the Racine County agency that oversees the foster care program; 3) providing resources and facilities for the school district’s occupational instruction programs to help special needs children; 4) engaging in community food and clothing drives; and 5) hosting special events such as the Singing Christmas Tree, Easter dramas, and fall events for children.
“Thank you, AGTrust, for providing the scholarship that helped our church participate in the Acts 2 Journey,” Pastor Ed says. “This investment served as an encouragement to me and our leadership team — in that AGTrust and the Assemblies of God believed Racine Assembly could move beyond our past and toward a purposeful, God-honoring future.”
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The Acts 2 Church Survey is a fully validated church health survey for Spirit-Empowered local churches. Focusing on twelve church health factors, the survey can help you to identify your church’s strengths and challenges in order to pursue the best paths to greater ministry effectiveness.