Help is available for church lay leaders through Faithful Path

Sometimes a church needs to look inside its congregation and view the mission it plans to serve. Help is available to lay leaders of churches through Faithful Path, a ministry of advising churches.
Bill Ellenberger of Tyrone is the president and founder of the ministry that offers advice to church leadership.
“The goal is to help church lay leaders evaluate who they are as a church,” said Ellenberger, “and help them find who they are trying to reach in the community and what they as a church can do to serve them better.”
Ellenberger, a Tyrone High School graduate, started in sales in San Diego, but was called to work for Athletes in Action in San Diego doing fund raising for the non-profit Christian organization. Following his work with Athletes in Action, Ellenberger worked with the Mission Au Fellowship which helps support missionaries around the world and support famine relief.
“I would call on pastors to thank them for their support when I worked with the Mission Au Fellowship and I would ask them, ‘What can I put on my prayer list for them?’,” said Ellenberger. “There was a pastor that I was in contact with that wanted and needed to retire, but hadn’t prepared his church leaders for the day. That is where the idea of Faithful Path started.”
Last year, Ellenberger and his family decided it was time to return home to Tyrone. He worked at a Christian school in Hollidaysburg that had to close its doors. Then after a lot of thought and prayer, he started Faithful Path.
“We had funding provided to start this mission that was without solicitation,” said Ellenberger. “Right now I am working with 11 churches and their lay leaders. I am helping them determine who the church is as a body of believers, who it is trying to reach and write job descriptions for churches who are in need of pastors. Churches without pastors is a problem nationwide.”
There are over 10,000 churches in the United States without pastors, and there are 1,400 pastors who are fired every month.
“For a long period of time, the average stay for a pastor at a church was six years,” said Ellenberger. “Now it averages three years. Youth pastors generally stay between six months to a year. There are some churches that go through three or four pastors in a 10-year period. We try to help the church leaders to reverse the trend.”
The cost to the churches for the help of Faithful Path is zero.
“We don’t charge the churches a fee,” said Ellenberger. “We ask the church leaders if they feel the need to help, feel free to contribute and what they contribute could help another church down the line.”
One common problem among churches is a member of the congregation who is not a lay leader who has a lot of influence with the church leadership.
“We work with the churches to set goals for new pastors and help them find the right candidate for their congregation,” said Ellenberger. “The lay leaders set up a must have and like to have list for a new pastor. Some churches want to have a pastor who has had one year as a youth pastor but their best candidate may have not had youth experience, but has other contacts who can help guide them with setting up a youth ministry. We let them know that finding a pastor is compromise. We help them set up the job description for a new pastor and have the lay leaders take it to the congregation. This helps bring clarity to the members what is being asked of the new pastor.”
Ellenberger has availabilities for churches that want assistance. To contact him, call 684-0654 or e-mail him at