The vision for New Church Specialties began in the heart of the Founder & former Executive Director, Dr. Larry McKain. In September of 1998, 10 months before NCS began, Larry started sending out an encouragement e-mail to persons involved in church planting he knew or had mentored in his relationships through the Church of the Nazarene. In July of 1999 it became a weekly encouragement e-mail called “Insights,” reaching 500 church leaders. On July 1, 1999, Larry launched the ministry NCS on a full-time faith basis. The first formal meeting was held in the office of Dr. Keith Wright on July 14, 1999. Dr. Wright assumed the role of Board Chairman. Marvin McKain assumed the role of Secretary. Dr. Elvin Powers, Kansas City Assistant DS agreed to serve as Treasurer. A Partner Agreement with Dr. Keith Wright and the Kansas City District Church of the Nazarene secured half of Larry’s time and support for the first two years. The early days were not easy. Five months into the launch of NCS, there was not enough money to make payroll because NCS had no start-up capital. A miracle occurred in late November when unsolicited, a check for $10,000 came from Walt & Sharlyn Dixon of Ely, Iowa which allowed NCS to continue.
The first 12 months of NCS were filled with Larry providing services to the Kansas City District and providing Coaching & Consulting Services to several other Nazarene Districts as well. A total of 28 coaching & consulting contracts were executed. When all the bills were paid, NCS was miraculously $848 in the black. In the first 18 months a total of $20,000 was given by Walt & Sharlyn which helped insure NCS’ early financial stability.
By January of 2000, Larry had developed 100+ pages of church health & multiplication material and launched NCS on the Web at www.NewChurchSpecialties.org. The NCS website helped communicate who NCS was, as well as establishing its competency to serve a growing number of individuals and judicatories. Autumn Lew of Graphic Minion Studios was invaluable in developing both the web image as well as the NCS logo. By December of 2000, the weekly Insights e-mail list had grown to 1,840 people.
During 2000, Larry continued to recruit a team of NCS potential coaches, wrote NCS Coaching Level 1 curriculum as well as developed the curriculum for New Church University at a cabin in the early fall. Lonnie Bullock, Dan Croy, Joe Knight and Lee Woolery were drawn together in October of 2000 for a 2 day gathering to perfect the material and share presentations. 1,500 color brochures were printed in November and sent out and by December of 2000, enrollment was 80. NCS could not afford to hire any full-time staff, so all the registration and logistics support of New Church University training events, NCS outsourced to Event-Fully Yours, an event-planning company located in Kansas City.
The formal control of NCS was given over to a Board of Directors when the first Board was organized on December 11, 2000. NCS Founding Board members were Dr. Keith Wright, Dr. Larry McKain, Rev. Ron Greeno, Dr. Lee Woolery, Dr. Jim Kraemer, Dr. David Roland and Marvin McKain. Larry was officially hired by the Board of Directors as the Executive Director on that same day.
The following month, 16 Nazarene & Wesleyan District Superintendents attended the first New Church University, along with 142 other enrollees. Many described that first NCU as a genuine “God-moment.” A powerful sense of spiritual anointing was felt by everyone who came. The district superintendents gathered during the second day and discussed both the financial challenges as well as the need for the long-term organizational stability of NCS. Out of that discussion, led by Rev. Ron Greeno, the idea of “NCS Partnerships” emerged and in less than 10 minutes, over $50,000 was raised which insured NCS a more stable financial future. Out of that first NCU, a number of the district superintendents also wrote personal letters of endorsement on behalf of NCS & NCU to their colleagues.
The rapid growth of NCS and NCU caused Larry’s relationship with the Kansas City District to change and in 2001 Larry moved away from his half-time role with the district. NCS will be forever grateful to the role that Dr. Keith Wright played and his generous, visionary support of NCS, especially during its beginning 24 months. In 2001, a number of people began helping NCS without compensation, including Denise McKain, Lonnie & Karen Bullock and a host of others. On March 14, 2001, NCS brought together a five person team of business leaders, including Keith Wright, Bobbi Abram, Bud Bennett, Steve Douglas, Marvin McKain and Larry Ware. The purpose was to identify key steps in developing a long-range "business plan" for NCS. Everyone involved deeply sensed the hand of God was on NCS and its ministry.
In 2001, as volunteers, Lonnie & Karen Bullock began the ministry of NCS Resources, shipping books, tapes, CDs, notebooks, shirts and other NCS products across the country. Lonnie also took over the ReFocusing Training Track at New Church University. Phil Spry, Dr. Dan Croy & Dr. Aubrey Malphurs rounded out the NCU presentation team. In July, NCS formed a partnership with TellStart & Founder Phil Spry. Led by Lonnie & Karen, NCS had its first booth at Nazarene General Assembly in July and by week’s end had received visits by 40 District Superintendents and had collected over $10,000 in future registrations. By year’s end, NCS had 16 active Partner Districts and had executed 40 coaching contracts beyond the work of the Executive Director, including 27 ReFocusing contracts & 13 planter coaching contracts. NCS had 15 active Senior & Associate coaches by the end of 2001. “Insights” weekly distribution grew to 3,014. By the end of 2001, people from 13 different denominational groups attended New Church University, thrusting the vision of NCS beyond the Church of the Nazarene. NCS as a ministry movement had begun.
In January of 2002, Denise McKain began officially working for NCS about 10 hours per week as the Office Manager for the NCS Main Office. On May 1, 2002, NCS contracted with Lonnie Bullock to serve half time as the director of our ReFocusing & Coaching ministries and NCS Resources. Through a joint contract with NCS and his relationship with the Northwest Indiana District Church of the Nazarene, the NCS Munster, IN Office was funded through May 31, 2004. NCS is also deeply grateful to Dr. Lee Woolery of the NW Indiana District for his support of Lonnie & NCS during this time of NCS expansion.
On July 1, 2002, Marvin McKain began working as the Chief Financial Officer(CFO) for NCS on a part-time basis. Marvin is a retired Executive with Rockwell International where he managed multi-million dollar budgets. In 2002, Phil Stevenson & Joe Knight were added to NCU Presentation Team. Bud Bennett & Ron Richmond joined the NCU Coaching Team. Brian Kohagen joined to oversee the audio-visual needs of NCU. All of these people on the NCU Team served without compensation because of their belief in how God was at work and the benefit being provided to pastors and church leaders.
On August 12, 2002, NCS hired Leanna Brunner for 20-25 hours per week to provide administrative support to the Executive Director. She served with great distinction in this role for two years before launching her own yearbook company. By the end of 2002, the number of NCS Partner Districts jumped from 16 to 35. The influence of NCS had grown to where 57 Nazarene Districts, 7 Wesleyan Districts and 1 Free Methodist Conference were endorsing the ministry. By the end of 2002, 774 more people had attended New Church University and the weekly “Insights” had grown to a distribution of 5,298.
Back in November of 2001, NCS had brought Phil Stevenson, Lonnie Bullock, Joe Knight and Dr. Lee Woolery together to plan the launch of NCS Parent Church Training. Phil Stevenson led the development of the curriculum in 2002.
In June of 2003, Phil was hired as a full-time Senior Consultant. His role was to assist with Church Planting and Parent Church training through a joint contract with NCS & Dr. Steve Babby of the Southwest Pacific District of the Wesleyan Church. Also in 2003, NCS hired Connie Vandersteen to oversee our Intercession Ministry. In 2003, the number of NCS Partner Districts grew from 35 to 44. Also that year, the Executive Director role separated from NCU and Lonnie Bullock became NCU Director and in May of that year joined the full time staff of NCS. 734 people attended NCU in 2003, bringing total enrollment to 1,896. The number of denominational groups using NCU climbed to 18, NCS on the Web experienced over 830,000 hits and “Insights” grew to 6,540.
In early 2004, Larry finished writing a summary of NCS learning over the first five years and the book, “Falling in Love with the Church” was published. On July 1, 2004 moved NCS Resources, Church Health & Coaching Operations to Mesa, Arizona. In 2004, NCS had the honor of becoming the “preferred provider” of training for the Church of the Nazarene & the Wesleyan denominations and both denominations chose to become Denominational Partners with NCS. District & Judicatory Partnerships grew to 57. In September of 2004, NCS hired Jolyne Bartley to be Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director.
As the ministry grew, NCS began seeking foundation funding because of the large amount of services NCS gave away to deserving church leaders. For grant purposes, NCS began tracking the amount of donated services back in 2002. By the end of 2004, total Donated Services & Scholarships had reached $251,780. During the period of 2002-2005, God also granted NCS favor with several key leaders and was able to secure monies from individual & organizational donors to cover both its scholarships and expanding operations.
In January of 2005, Darla Elliott was hired to oversee the NCS Registration Office and manage the on-site work of New Church University training. This sixth year of operation (2005) found NCS continuing to expand its Senior Staff. The hiring of Senior Consultants Bud Bennett, Rev. Larry Cook, Dr. Ron Greeno, Dr. Bob Huffaker, Bishop Lindsay Jones, Dr. Charles Lake & Dr. Keith Wright forever changed the future capabilities of NCS. In the midst of this growth, NCS said good-by to Phil Stevenson when he was elected the General Director of Evangelism & Church Growth for the Wesleyan denomination in September.
The seventh year of operation (2006) found NCS growing to a total paid staff of 34. 2006 also saw a great expansion of new resources, products and training initiatives that were launched. Church Health Consultant’s Training, Church Health Strategic Planning & Implementation and Church Assessment Consultant Training were all launched under the leadership of Lonnie Bullock. NCS also launched the first international New Church University, held in Naivasha, Kenya. This initiative was spearheaded by Bill Gaillard, Larry Cook & Charles Lake. NCS continued to expand its consulting capacity in 2006 by the addition of Dr. L.D. Holmes serving the Kansas City District Partnership and Rev. John Anderson serving the West Virginia South District Partnership. The coaching capacity of NCS was expanded greatly in December with the addition of Rev. Tim Gates as the NCS national Coaching Director. The book, “Falling in Love with the Church” was translated into Spanish and NCS selected Rev. Jose Cardona to lead the coaching, consulting and training efforts of Hispanic pastors. Jeanette Trotter was added to the NCS Team to assist in the delivery of a growing number of church planter and ReFocusing pastor assessments. A major partnership with the Salvation Army Central Territory was developed under the leadership of Dr. Charles Lake. Larry guided the development of a major partnership with the General Association of General Baptists, which was signed in November. Donated services and scholarships for the year came to a total of $204,200.
Our 8th year of operation brought greater expansion in NCS consulting capacity. Jon Coe began leading a Cowboy Church Ministries initiative, Dean Cowles began leading the delivery of the On-Site Salvation Army Kroc Planter initiative, Jim Dodson led in Discipleship & Assimilation Strategies, Dr. Franklin Dumond & Dr. Steve Gray were added as Senior Consultants to serve the General Association of General Baptist Partnership, Doug Hanner joined serving the Southwest Indiana District Partnership and Dr. Peggy Stark-Wilson was added to serve the South Texas District Partnership.
The addition of all these staff members helped NCS multiply its on-site consulting days delivery to 1,052 which included 772 days to districts & denominations, 120 days to local church coaching and 160 days to local church servicing. Through the influence of Tim Gates, doors opened for Jose Cardona to deliver an NCU in Spanish in Quito, Ecuador with 80 pastors & church planters attending. A partnership was signed with Dr. Bernie Slingerland and the Mexico & Central America Region to serve the 7 countries of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama and 1,700 churches and 1,300 missions and new works there. Under the leadership of Rev. Ron Greeno, Transitional Interim Pastor Services (TIPS) training was launched Sept 17-19 and all six TIPS were placed within a few short weeks! In December Larry McKain moved into a new focus on NCS Development, expanding new clients and NCS International and Lonnie Bullock was selected to oversee day-to-day operations, becoming the Chief Operations Officer of NCS and the building of an NCS Senior Management Team.
Our 9th year of operation has brought additional expansion through adding Dr. Dick Emery to our team, an outstanding Wesleyan leader and Mark Copley serving our Illinois District Partnership. Jana Starner was added to lead the Church Health Office in Arizona. Larry began developing the Organic Church Network & Master’s Plan Network initiatives. The first Kroc Center Planters, Larry & Tracey Stevenson were assessed, trained and headed to Grand Rapids, Michigan where they began their ministry on May 15th. Another GREAT group of TIPS leaders were trained in March and many are now on their way to placement. The first ever, All-Staff Gathering was developed by Lonnie and the Senior Management Team and convened in April. Darrel Maclearn was added in May to head the Organic Church Network. Tim Gates joined the NCS Consulting Team full time, October 1st. Marlys Arnold was added as our Marketing Director, Leanna Brunner to head NCS Publishing and Dr. Steve Gray became our National NewStart / ReStart Director. Dr. John Ed Mathison became an NCS Senior Consultant and began establishing solid credibility with NCS among United Methodists. As NCS faces the days ahead, its future looks brighter than ever!
2009 to current are summarized in our annual reports.
In 2010 resigned as executive director to accept a pastor position in Lansing, MI. In December 2010 Lonnie Bullock was selected as the 2nd exectutive director of NCS.