One of those ideas is that he writes the message board monument sign that sits on busy Highway 70.
“Many churches feel they have to put cute or funny messages on their signs,” said Nance. “I am taking a different approach. I am writing messages to encourage the community to think about life and have a favorable awareness of the church.”
If that sounds like a simple message, it is. It is also one part of a formula that has proven successful for Nance in the four other congregations he has ministered. Each of the four previous congregations doubled membership under Nance’s leadership.
Nance excitedly tossed out ideas such as having a book review for the public once a month and other activities that encourage the community as a whole to participate with the congregation. Another idea that Nance is confident will help grow the congregation is to minister to adults.
“Many Church of Christ congregations in this community and others focus on youth or senior programs.” Nance continued to explain. “I feel that focusing on adults in the community in that in between age will help this congregation grow. The fact that we are on the edge of Bartlett and pull from other communities will help us to grow this group. Our plan is to minister to the adults and then grow the youth and senior ministries.”
Nance discussed the fact that in times past, congregations were stable and ministers moved around from church to church. Things have changed according to Nance, congregations are mobile and ministers are stable.
“This congregation has an excellent facility with banquet facilities and is debt free.” Nance feels that this fact will help in growing the congregation. “This facility is perfect for creating an atmosphere where the public will not feel intimidated joining in non-denominational activities or even using these facilities as a low or no cost rental space to the public.”
The church has a great start creating new growth with a balanced mix of leadership. Jan Albrecht, for instance, is the secretary for the church. Albrecht is a longtime member of the Ellendale church whose husband was the minister years ago, but has since passed. Albrecht has a history with the congregation and with the new bold ideas of Nance, it seems a perfect start to a progressive ministry.
Nance received his doctorate degree in ministry at Southern Christian University in Montgomery, AL, concentrating on church growth leadership. He is married to LaDonna Nance and had two grown children and one grandchild. The Nance’s daughter is studying pre-med at Harding University and wants to use her education to do mission work. Both children worked with the Nances throughout the years doing West Africa mission work.
With a background in growth leadership, past successes, and successful missionary work, Nance seems to have a knack for growth. Nance sums it up in one sentence that seems to be his motto.
“I have a high confidence to do good in the community,” says Nance.