Kathy Merry, John Briggs, and Marc Brown co-authored the Leader's Guide and Participant's Workbook for Does Your Church Have a Prayer? In Mission Toward the Promised Land and various articles on transformation and church leadership. They also led a teaching session together at the 2010 Virginia Annual Conference on Leading by Following Jesus. Currently, the three are writing a book about Speaking Order to Chaos: The Language of the 21st Century Church.
- Kathy Merry
Kathy Merry retired in 2004 at the age of 42 from a 15-year career in the health insurance industry. She rose through the ranks to the executive level where she ultimately served as senior vice-president for service operations with 1700 employees and an administrative budget in excess of 100 million dollars.
Kathy devoted her corporate career to transforming service delivery platforms for the benefit of customer, employee and company. These full-scale service transformations included consolidation, automation, process re-engineering and metric development as well as employee compensation and training programs.
After a number of turn-around assignments, an IPO and three mergers, Kathy retired to reacquaint herself with her family and to see what else God has in store for her. She spent one year as Executive Director at her home church,
St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. It was through that assignment that she discovered many universal principles that apply in both corporate and church settings. She dedicates her work to the people in the both settings who labor under bad processes and ineffective leadership – especially those who succeed in spite of it. She believes strongly that with some attention and education to process and leadership, church leaders can perform better, feel better about their work, and be much more effective in their mission to the glory of God.
In addition to spending more time with her family, Kathy is now providing consulting services for various churches, religious and non-profit organizations. She recently co-authored (with Marc Brown & John Briggs) her first two books (Leader’s Guide and Participant’s Workbook) entitled, “Does Your Church Have a Prayer?” and is working on a third book to revitalize volunteerism in churches. She also serves on the Boards of Directors for several philanthropic organizations.
- John Briggs
As a senior business executive at age 30, John Briggs had the opportunity to work with several companies whose scope ranged from large international firms to smaller closely held corporations. His primary responsibilities were in marketing and sales management with an emphasis in company turnarounds and business expansion. In hisearly 40’s, Briggs decided to leave the corporate world to purchase and manage a light manufacturing company in Richmond, Virginia. Ultimately this decision enabled me to retire from the day to day rigors of managing a business to provide business consulting as he pursued his call to full time pastoral ministry. His background in management and company turnarounds provides a unique foundation for his interest in church renewal and growth. As a pastor, Briggs has found that many corporate "turn around" principles are applicable in the life of the local church. Congregational turnaround is often a matter of structuring relationships and helping the congregation define clear and appropriate ministries on which to focus.
Briggs currently serves a pastoral appointment in the Virginia Annual Conference. He has used his past experience to also serve on the Board of Directors of the Virginia United Methodist Credit Union, the Virginia United Methodist Pensions, and in various conference leadership roles.
- Marc Brown
Marc Brown has been appointed as Director of Connectional Ministries for Virginia Conference since July 2008. Brown has served as district superintendent of the Richmond District of the Virginia Conference for 7 years, and 24 yeras as pastor of small, medium, and large churches in rural, small town, and surburban settings. During this time, he has had a history of turn-around that helped churches grow between 50% - 100% in worship attendance and giving. Brown led in the design of a comprehensive plan of a district Urban Ministry Initiative and the formation of United Methodist Urban Ministries of Richmond, a ministry that has been promoted as a best practicie model for Communities of Shalom. Marc also chaired the task force that developed a comprehensive strategic plan for the formation of 250 new faith communities in 30 years for The Virginia Conference. Entitled "All Things New," this plan includes a proposal on how to transform an annual conference's culture from worrying about the loss of members to a culture of fruitfulness and mutiplication. Marc has led various district and conference workshops on transformational leadership and congregational transformation. He will be co-leading a ministry track on congregational transformation at the 2011 School of Congregational Development.