LDR Cohorts

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The Leadership Development Resources (LDR) cohort process has worked with several hundred churches ranging from 30 to more than 5,000 in attendance. The results have been extremely positive and similar, regardless of the location or size – city or rural, large or small. According to the Northwest Ministry Network, churches involved in the LDR Church Development Process are more than twice as likely to be healthy and growing than churches not involved. Further research reveals that churches involved in the LDR process are far less likely to be plateaued or declining than churches not involved. In a nutshell, the LDR process helps your church create a comprehensive strategic plan, functional ministry systems, and a clear specific vision for the future.

We have worked hard to make the LDR process affordable in terms of both money and time. However, it is a very deep and comprehensive process that will involve lots of hard work, much prayer, robust discussion, and synergistic teamwork.


  • CHURCH REGISTRATION FEE: $50.00 – this is a one-time fee to enroll your church in the process. This modest charge helps defray some of the costs of providing this service.
  • LDR WORKBOOKS: $50.00 each – You will need one workbook for each team member, or at least one for each married couple on your team. We sell the Two-volume manual for $50.00 for each set. This is discounted from the publisher’s $90.00 list price.
  • OUTSIDE READING BOOKS: You will be asked to read one book between each session (See page 3 for a complete list). You may purchase these individually or in bulk as a church. You may purchase from Amazon, CBD, or from any store or outlet you choose.
  • ONE SATURDAY EVERY OTHER MONTH: LDR Cohorts meet on Saturday so lay leaders can participate. It will be a full day – from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. However, you will find the time moves very quickly with the variety of presenters, video clips, PowerPoint and discussion. Since we are mindful of your weekends, this ends up being only about one weekend out of every eight.
  • TEAM MEETINGS BETWEEN SESSIONS: Every session your team will be given homework. However, we intentionally give you time during the session to start your work. Please understand that the churches who profit the most also meet regularly between cohort sessions to talk as a team and drill down for the best answers and strategies that truly fit their church.



LDR is a team-based process. Pastors cannot participate in this process alone. They must bring a team of church leaders with them. Pastors who include their most respected, influential and involved members have the best success. It is important to have board members, pastoral staff, and key ministry leaders on the team. A team of 6-8 people is ideal, but a few more or less is OK. By having the “right people at the table,” your team will create vision, strategy and plans for the future that fit your church and are “owned” by the entire group. Such plans are far more likely to be implemented and succeed!



LDR is not a program or seminar. It is a PROCESS where your church team is partnered with a coach who provides resources and asks you the key questions only you and God can answer. The coach will give you many “good” ideas, but you will be looking and listening for the “God” ideas – God’s will and future vision for your church. Therefore it is important that the pastor and each team member commit to attending every session and completing every assignment.



It is clear that churches that understand their purpose, vision, and values, and become intentional about reaching and developing fully devoted followers of Christ, are consistently healthier and more effective. In the LDR Process we start by building a solid foundation. This includes developing the following:

  • CLARITY OF MISSION: Your church comes to know and embrace the mission of God for your church.
  • CLEAR BIBLICAL PURPOSES: Your church comes to build all ministry and programs around the biblical purposes or functions of a New Testament Church.
  • CORE VALUES DISCOVERY: Your church comes into agreement about what matters most and filters all ministries and programs through these values.
  • CONGREGATIONAL REALITIES: Your church develops a clear understanding of who makes up the congregation and the gifts and strengths of the members.
  • COMMUNITY CONTEXT: In the LDR Process your church develops a clear picture of who makes up your ministry area and what their needs are.


In the second phase of the LDR Process we look at six critical systems of a healthy church. Your team will develop intentional strategies and working systems so your church is healthy and fully functional:


  1. REACHING OUR NEIGHBORS (Evangelism System): You identify and/or create the specific, intentional strategies your church will use to reach lost people.
  2. CONNECTING IN COMMUNITY (Assimilation System): You identify and/or create the strategies your church will use to keep the people you reach.
  3. GROWING IN CHRIST-LIKENESS (Christian Formation System): Here you create the strategies for making real disciples and authentic Christians.
  4. DEVELOPING SERVANT LEADERS (Ministry/Serving System): You will develop strategies and systems to involve every member in ministry.
  5. MAKING SERVICES TRANSFORMATIONAL (Weekend Service System): You align how you do church so it is consistent with your mission and values and transforms the lives of worshipers.
  6. BUILDING A MISSIONAL ORGANIZATION (Structure and Strategy Systems): You work together to create the needed infrastructure and organizational systems that will make everything else possible.



The books listed below are the outside reading for the entire LDR Cohort process. These are listed in the order they will be read. You will be reading one book about every two months. The first book should be read and discussed with your team prior to session 2, the second book prior to session 3, and etc.

  1. Rethinking the Church: A challenge to creative redesign in an age of transition. by James Emery White, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 1997, 2003, 2011
  2. 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, and Lane Jones, Sisters, Or.: Multnomah Publishers, 2004.
  3. Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church. 1st ed. By Reggie McNeal, and Leadership Network. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2009.
  4. Reimagining Evangelism: Inviting Friends on a Spiritual Journey. By Rick Richardson, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006.
  5. Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap--and Others Don't. 1st ed. By James C. Collins, New York, NY: HarperBusiness, 2001
  6. First Impressions: Creating Wow Experiences in Your Church. By Mark L. Waltz, Loveland, CO: Group Pub., 2005.
  7. Sticky Church. The Leadership Network Innovation Series. By Larry Osborne, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008.
  8. The Life You've Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People. By John Ortberg, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1997.


Contact Gary Butler in order to get your church on the calendar as soon as possible.  The LDR process can be done in a group setting along with other churches OR as an individual church consultation process.  The best time to begin is early fall or right after the first of the year, but start times are flexible.  Please contact Gary Butler for additional information.