Singing Pastor’s Heart Beats for Discipleship, Leadership Development
By Kevin Spear
Pastor Todd Braschler from Branson, Missouri, grew up knowing the connection between the Church of God and worship. He is part of four generations that embraced the Church of God movement. In addition, he grew up in ministry as the son of a Church of God senior pastor and a singing family known as the Braschler Music Show in Branson, Missouri. Music ministry felt like his destiny. But never underestimate the power of God to bring a new dream and ministry into focus.
After graduating from Anderson University, he substitute taught in public school. Then he moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he married his wife, Claudia (Wampler). He served as a worship and youth pastor, then joined his family music show in Branson. With his soaring tenor voice, he performed and led worship at various venues, including the main sessions of the North American Convention of the Church of God in 2010 and the iconic LIVE Ministries red-and-white tent for many years prior. By all outward appearances, God was blessing his ministry.
Yet, as his ministry flourished, Todd felt something was missing. It was when he served as worship pastor for Highland Park Community Church in Casper, Wyoming, that someone asked, for the very first time, about his spiritual gifts. What burden or passion had God given him for people? He didn’t know how to respond.
“Later, Pastor Milo Miller asked me similar questions,” Todd recounts. “It made me consider what it meant to be called to ministry. Todd began to realize that, though his gifting was in music, his passion was excavating God’s calling and gifting in others.
A New Focus
In 2001, Todd was serving at Central Community Church in Wichita, Kansas, in assimilation and ministry development, hospitality, and guest follow-up. He enjoyed equipping others to help them discover their gifts and purpose. That experience, along with the tragedies of September 11, led Todd to launch his own ministry, leading worship, speaking for events and retreats, and working one-on-one with pastors in the areas of articulating God’s vision for them and through them.
At first, Todd thought this new ministry would be about worship leading and concerts only. He was prepared to go to Nashville and begin recording. He says, “But Pastor Tom Bates and Bayside Community Church in Safety Harbor, Florida, shook my world. Pastor Tom said, ‘Tell me what you were doing at Central Community.’ When I answered, “Assimilation and discipleship,’ he replied, ‘Have you taught anything about this?’ He then challenged me to come back in six months and train his staff and leaders based on how God had led Todd in Kansas.”
Todd came back six months later with a seminar. Soon, he was, in addition, speaking at men’s events, couple’s retreats, and church leadership events.
Afterward, other pastors reached out to him, and his ministry pivoted to a focus on leadership development. “I realized my gifting is in music. But my passion is in the development of God’s people. I was called to lead leaders to help them uncover, or excavate, their calling. Now I get to lead church training experiences and individual leaders, one-on-one.”
Today, Todd considers himself an excavator—not a coach, mentor, or consultant. “A coach has a template or plan. A consultant tells you what he or she already knows. A mentor is an expert who hopes to make me an expert. But, an excavator unearths, uncovers what God is already saying to a person.”
Todd doesn’t see his ministry as a conference, podcast, or book that just tells someone what to do. He wants to help someone unearth what God is telling them. “It has been a heartfelt search for something beyond formula or a model. If it is a vision from God, should it not be mind-blowing?” This experience is not based on Todd’s experience, wisdom, opinion, or advice. Instead, this is a study on how Jesus led people, communicated with people, and moved people to change—to transform. He has no desire to give people a plan they are to simply follow. “Mere plans may not be necessarily a God-given vision,” Todd explains.
Since his pivot, Todd has had the privilege to lead several church training experiences. He has worked with over forty pastors on one-on-one excavating experiences. He has also learned to conduct online training experiences after COVID hit for application for Sunday school, small groups, and mid-week classes.
What the Church of God Means to Him
As Pastor Todd spoke and led worship at many churches, he has noticed many of them embracing different facets of Church of God theology. He notes what many churches from different denominations and backgrounds have considered groundbreaking, the Church of God acknowledged and applied decades earlier. He says, “It’s exciting to see other churches embrace what the Church of God saw several years ago as a true, biblical template of the body of Christ in action.”
This thought reminds Todd of a quote from Pastor Maurice Berquist some forty-five years ago, who said [paraphrased], “The Church of God has the best philosophy and theology. And if we’re not careful, the rest of the world will own it and proclaim it as their unique approach.”
Todd emphasizes, “I haven’t seen anything in my teaching and experience with the Church of God that has run contrary to what the Bible teaches. In other churches, I’ve seen such unbalanced worship of the denomination, that they missed the whole point of Jesus. What the Bible says is more important than any denominational traditions and teaching.”
Since COVID, Todd’s board of advisors urged him to go online with some of his ministry opportunities. It has been a challenge since he is very personable and one of his strengths has been picking up cues from attendees in person. “That can be very hard online when everyone is on mute!”
Nine of his 2020 events were postponed. But thanks to his board, and a donation of online equipment, he has continued to help men, couples, and pastors excavate the God-given vision the Lord has given to each of us.