Beverly and George Thompson
Field Consultant Team
Who are Beverly and George Thompson?
Beverly’s professional experience prior to pastoral ministry includes nursing, founding and directing a nonprofit organization in the field of aging, and writing and producing plays that celebrate aging. As a pastor, she has served a number of varied congregations, as well as hospital and hospice chaplaincy. Beverly is an experienced pastoral counselor and spiritual director, and she teaches a seminary leadership course. George has served in various pastoral roles for congregations across the United States. He is a seminary faculty member teaching leadership and ministry practice, and has been consulting with churches for more than 15 years. George’s books are aimed at pastors, lay leaders, and denominational officials committed to congregational vitality. George and Beverly co-pastor a small mountain congregation in Georgia.
Philosophy of Practice
Our world is much more complex than faith communities often care to accept, yet it is a world that God loves passionately. As coaches, trainers, consultants, and teachers, the two of us are convinced that much of the uncertainty that today’s churches and synagogues face is tied to learning how to stay faithful in the midst of ongoing change. The result is often spiritual and emotional exhaustion. It is real and it cannot be treated lightly. Anxiety depletes energy, yet we know it is possible to create hope-filled momentum. Congregations, pastors, and denominations rarely benefit from “quick fixes.” Rather, we want them to learn the new insights, re-tooled disciplines, and strategic positioning that become a way of life. Over the years, we have developed a distinctive and creative way to blend biblical interpretation, theological reflection, spiritual nurture, and organizational insight into constructive resources for congregations and those who care about them.
Congregational Renewal, Transformation, and Vision
Supporting the heart of dynamic congregations is a vision that is clear, articulated, and compelling. Learning how to maintain vision that is both faithful and resilient takes training and commitment to long-term results. As experienced pastors, we help faith communities learn how to sing the Lord’s song in this new land of the 21st century. Congregations anywhere along their lifecycle face predictable challenges. Renewal is a normal and desirable process in the community’s faith journey.
Transition and its Promise
Congregations face transitions of many different kinds: some can be anticipated; others startle us when they appear. Out of our own history with transitions, we comprehend the many layers that are triggered and guide congregational leaders through experiences and insights aimed at using the energy of transition constructively. We use these same resources in consulting and coaching in many congregational settings and have found them particularly helpful in working with pastors engaged in interim ministry.
Skills for Life in Ministry
Sometimes the nuts-and-bolts aspects of ministry catch us off our guard. We don’t always understand how we prefer to do things, and we certainly get confused by the modes of operating that we encounter in others! For years, we have taught ministry students how to understand themselves more clearly, how to use that understanding to manage themselves, how to recognize and play to the strengths of others, and how to create conversation that is safe and sacred.
Harnessing the “Deep Energy”
In order to resist the urge to try to fix a “problem” quickly, congregations usually need to frame their life together in a fresh way. We have learned how to help a particular community of faith name the several elements of its own, specific “deep energy.” This hidden but powerful cluster of deeply-rooted convictions holds the key both to the congregation’s promise and its pitfalls. The long-term benefits of uncovering deep energy are immense: the community is able to harness its potential, to deal with anxiety in a positive way, and to transfer its learning to new issues that come along.
Seeking the “Peaceable Kingdom”
School shootings and rancorous political discourse underscore the difficulty in today’s society of fostering the common good. We are committed to helping groups and institutions of all kinds learn insights and skills that, when exercised with spirit, generate community well-being. This form of ministry recalls the mission of Abram and Sarai: that through them all the nations of the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:3), that the formed people of God would be a light to the nations (Isaiah 49:6).
- B.S., Public and Urban Affairs, Georgia State University, Atlanta GA
- M.Div., Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur GA
- D.Min., Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur GA
- Certificate in Gerontology, Georgia State University
- Certificate, National Disaster Recovery Training, Presbyterian Church (USA)
- Certified Interim Ministry Training, Presbyterian Church (USA)
- B.A., University of Puget Sound, Tacoma WA
- M.Div., Claremont School of Theology, Claremont CA
- D.Min., Claremont School of Theology, Claremont CA
- S.T.D., San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo CA
- Ph.D., Theology and the Human Sciences, The Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago IL
- A Spiritual Companion to “How to Get Along With Your Church,” 2006, Pilgrim Press
- “Self and Power,” in Alligators in the Swamp: Power, Ministry and Leadership, co-author, 2005, Pilgrim Press
- Church on the Edge of Somewhere: Ministry, Marginality, and the Future, 2007, Alban
- How to Get Along with Your Pastor: Creating Partnership for Doing Ministry, 2006, Pilgrim Press
- Alligators in the Swamp: Power, Leadership, and Ministry, ed., 2005, Pilgrim Press
- Treasures in Clay Jars: New Ways to Understand Your Church, 2003, Pilgrim Press
- How to Get Along with Your Church: Creating Cultural Capital for Doing Ministry, 2001, Pilgrim Press
- Futuring Your Church: Finding Your Vision and Making It Work, 1999, Pilgrim Press
- Foundations: Basics of the Christian Faith for Youth, United Methodist Publishing House
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