“As a local pastor I fell into some success, but most of it was intuitive. Being intuitive put limitations on the effectiveness of the church. With the inclusive SLI process I was able to move from intuitive to intentional and become effective.”

Mike McFarren

Mike McFarren was a teacher and coach for eight years in Titusville, Pennsylvania and Plymouth, Ohio before becoming involved as a layperson in planting Living Water Community Church in Dalton, Ohio.  Four years later he became its pastor, and for twenty years led it through various stages of growth.

Currently he is the Superintendent for the Ohio Conference of the Free Methodist Church and served prior to this appointment as Conference Coach of Pastoral Support for two years.

Mike has a great heart for healthy, vital congregations, and, building on five years with SLI, is looking forward to continued and growing roles with SLI. He and his wife Robin have three sons and seven grandchildren.

Dalton, OH

Some of my projects

After taking part in SLI projects as a local church pastor and a conference leadership team member, the effectiveness of the SLI process so impressed me that I became a coach. I have taken part in projects working with individual churches. However, the majority of my time has been spent with ABIDE groups. These are usually made of teams from 10 to 15 churches with congregations of 50 members or lower.


So often smaller churches feel they are failures as they try to be productive in the process of making disciples. Even though they have specific needs and strengths, when they compare themselves to large or growing churches, they often do not measure up in their own eyes or they continue to operate with a defensive attitude towards efforts to make them "like other churches". SLI can help small churches as they continue to serve Jesus as the valuable part of the Body of Christ they are. We facilitate the development of a disciple making process using the specific strengths and addressing specific needs of every individual church and community.

Alabama ABIDE

Several pastors involved in an Alabama group have been encouraged by the trust that was created between themselves and the congregational leaders as they worked together to become open and honest in their individual spiritual development and ministry leadership. This, in turn, resulted in moving ahead through issues that had hindered, or stopped, attempts to have an impact on people in their congregation and community.


The most recent ABIDE project in Texas has also been the most effective, in part, because of adjustments made in how teams are prepared to receive and respond to the challenge of finding answers to difficult questions together.