Category: Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight: Melissa Newberry

“God has us at a rest stop,” Rev. Melissa Newberry, ‘03, commented regarding her congregation’s current journey.  As pastor of Grandview Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kansas, Melissa led her congregation through a journey of discernment to sell their building.  Three years later the church continued on that journey of discernment and transition as they began the Reshaping Church program at Central Seminary.

Melissa and the leadership at Grandview, including Central Alum Tim Schwartz, ‘00, decided to engage in the Reshaping Church program to continue to move their church “beyond survival” to vibrancy and thriving.  The traumatic experiences of grieving the loss of their building and the pandemic drew Melissa and others to the Reshaping Church process to help them sort through the experience, develop a plan for vibrant ministry in their context, and become prepared for whatever it is that God is calling them to next.

Rev. Newberry commented that one of the greatest parts of the process was “to identify the things that didn’t change during volatile events.”  Things like worship, prayer, community, and trusting God’s promises have sustained the community at Grandview Baptist through volatile times.  The Coordination Team also valued the connections made with their coach and other congregations in their Community of Practice during the Reshaping Church process.  This helped keep before them “the bigger picture of the kingdom of God.”

You are invited to hear more about the story of Grandview Baptist Church at Central’s Third Thursday Lunch and Learn on April 21 at Noon CT on zoom.

If you are interested in learning more about how your congregation can be part of the Reshaping Church process, visit Central’s Reshaping Church page or contact the program director, Jessica Williams, at