Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fresh Expressions report during the Laity Session at Annual Conference 2016

Kristen Beckert - Fresh Expressions US

Kristen Beckert spoke to the Laity Session at Annual Conference about "Fresh Expressions" of church. Here is her presentation called "From the Steeple to the Street". Click here to see the video.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Growing Effective Churches at Annual Conference

Everything is ready to go for Annual Conference. Join us at the Growing Effective Churches in Brubaker Hall between sessions. We will be featuring "Fresh Expressions" with videos, handouts, and Kris Beckert will be meeting people at our table after the Laity and Clergy sessions.
Kris Beckert of Fresh Expressions will be speaking at the Laity Session and giving a Workshop at lunch time tomorrow.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Learn About Fresh Expressions at Annual Conterence

Come visit us at the Growing Effective Churches table in Brubaker Hall. Learn about Fresh Expressions and the new partnership with Susquehanna Conference. Also learn more about Fresh Expressions during the Laity Session on Thursday morning and the lunch time seminar on Friday. Join the excitement!

Friday, April 22, 2016

United Methodist New Church Starts Stand Out in National Survey

NASHVILLE, Tenn. April 15, 2016 /Discipleship Ministries/ – United Methodist new church starts outpaced new church starts by other protestant denominations in three of five key benchmarks – average worship attendance, new decisions for Christ and reaching previously unchurched people – according to a survey of 17 U.S. evangelical denominations and church planting network organizations. Read more.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Fresh Expressions - A new partner with Susquehanna Conference to help grow churches

Growing Effective Churches at the Fresh Expressions National Gathering in Washington, D.C. The Susquehanna Conference is now partnering with Fresh Expressions for congregational development.

The crew from Susquehanna Conference at Fresh Expressions National Gathering in Arlington VA this weekend. The Susquehanna Conference is now partnering with Fresh Expressions for congregational development. More information to come.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Upcoming Event

Save the date to find out...

Do you think you might be a church planter? 
Do you have what it takes to start a church?
Who am I able to reach?
What kind of church could I start?

If you want to know 
then come to this hands-on workshop.

September 21-23 2016 
in Harrisburg, PA.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The UMC at Exponential

Exponential East 2016

We are excited to announce that Path1 (of the General Board of Discipleship) will be offering a Pre-Conference workshop at Exponential 2016 and we have discounted registrations available.   Exponential is an interdenominational conference of church planters and new ministries leaders that offers resources, training, and opportunities to connect and network to Christian leaders all over the country. The 2016 conference will be held at First Baptist Church in Orlando, FL April 26-28. Along with serving as a conference sponsor Path 1 is hosting a pre-conference on "Women in Church Planting" this year. Among those leading the pre-conference workshop will be our Path 1 Executive Director, Dr. Candace Lewis and Dr. Kim Griffith, Residency & At Large Strategist along with Indiana Associate Director of Church Development Emily Reece and Rev. Patricia Pena from the New England Annual Conference.
We are offering to our UMC partners discounted registrations taken to both the main conference and the preconference (April 25-26), 2916.  Cost for a main conference ticket is only $99 (a 100 dollar discount from the price on the Exponential website). For an additional $39 you get to attend the preconference. Spaces are limited to 50 tickets to the main conference and 25 to the preconference, so you'll want to be the first to get yours. Offer only available to United Methodists. To purchase your ticket just click here.
This is a great opportunity to meet and network with UMC planters and other ministry leaders all across country. Along with hosting the preconference, Path 1 will have a booth and staff available during the whole conference with church planting resources and give aways. We hope you'll join us. Learn more here.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Five Hooks in the Water, Win Green

 Time was when a church could sit on its corner of town and wait. Eventually three things would happen.  New residents would come looking for a church to join.  A family in distress would come looking for a church’s support. And of course the rare soul seeking God would show up every now and then.  All a church had to do "back in the day" was be friendly enough to hold on to a decent percentage of such visitors to replace the members who died and/or moved away.  But those days are gone... long gone.

Folks today don’t much visit churches.  Frankly, religion isn’t much on the secular mind, so the steady stream of “new blood” has come to an end.  Local churches are now in the position of having to fight hard for every new guest… every new believer. 

The obvious question is, “How do we appeal to those outside the church?”  If we are to be “fishers of men and women” what are the “hooks” capable of making a catch?  Here are five reliable “hooks.”

Among Americans today there are five issues that arrest most everyone’s attention.  They are: 


These five concerns impact most everyone, and the secular world offers no answers or solutions.   Most marriages are reported “unhappy.”  Parents are overwhelmed and overrun.  The average American household is drowning in credit card debt.  Alcohol and drug addiction is eating the heart out of people.  Death and dying is omnipresent.  Are there other concerns that occupy the minds of America’s rank and file?  Of course, but marriage, parenting, money, addiction, and aging/dying are fundamental.  Any church that effectively addresses these five issues will always have interested people knocking on their door. 

People don’t visit churches on Sunday morning by accident.  They come because they have problems that are bigger than they can handle, and it usually has to do with one of the above five concerns.  The average person on the street may not give a fig about the church, but they’re hurting over their marriage and they’re desperate about their children.

What have we been doing at Baughman UMC is to address each of these five concerns.  We offer marriage coaching twice a year, a yearly parenting class, a digging out of debt seminar, etc…  Do these ministries bring in a flood of new people?  Some times.  But most of the times they provide something even better… a small steady stream of new people.  In today’s secular world a guest’s first visit to church is often not the Sunday morning worship service.  It is more likely the class on debt relief, or the mom’s group. 

There are a thousand and one issues that a church can address, but there are five that are all but universal in our American culture.  These are the effective “hooks” that can be thrown into the secular water that ALWAYS get a response.   

The secular world pushes us to more and more individual freedom, ignoring the fact that many are drowning in such freedom.  People are desperate for something solid that they can build their lives on, and with the Gospel of Jesus Christ we have solid answers for every one of the five concerns that currently plague our culture: 


Focus on these five with your outreach, and you’ll have more new people than you’ll know what to do with.    


Saturday, November 14, 2015

They'll Know We Are Christians By . . . How We Fight Each Other?

I have to say I rather agree with Christians who think others are misdirected if they feel persecuted by Starbucks cup colors. Hey, its not a faith based business. Red with their normal green was a nice touch. Might be enough for me to go to a Starbucks, even though they aren't my favorite coffee and they charge more than I prefer to pay. The Christians criticizing the "cup color Christians" seem really angry at them.

What I don't get his how the 75% non disciples who read the posts of cup color and non cup color Christians see the love that Jesus commanded we have for one another. I am also pondering why "cup color Christians" and "Christians angered by cup color Christians" are more concerned about cup color (or those concerned about cup color) than the thousands of Christians around the world who are being persecuted and martyred. (I know Christians are not the only ones suffering nor the only ones we should be concerned about . . . don't want to start another controversy.) I just don't get that.
I wonder why we aren't praying for those being persecuted all the time. And I wonder why they seem more upset with each other than those killing our sisters and brothers in other parts of the world.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Discipleship Training - Save the Date

Discipleship Training

How do we make disciples of Jesus Christ 
who can make more disciples?

How do we develop a plan to make disciples?

 What would it look like in your congregation to make disciples?  

Saturday, April 16 – 1:30pm – 7pm - 
Northern part of Conference
Sunday, April 17 – 9am – 3pm - 
Southern part of Conference 

Keynote presentations and workshops      
lead by
Pastors and churches in the Susquehanna Conference
who will share how they have built systems to make disciples.
 Save the date 
come discover for yourself

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ten Signs a Pastor Is Becoming a Chaplain

In the broadest sense, a chaplain refers to those who are assigned to care and provide ministry for a specific group of people. Military and hospital chaplains, for example, have clearly defined groups who come under their care and ministry.
In local church ministry, we don’t typically use the term “chaplain,” though there are many pastoral roles that are congruent with chaplaincy. In fact, most of the pastoral care and concern for church members are chaplain-like functions.
Without a doubt, pastors should minister to church members. The danger is when pastors do little other than minister to the needs of church members, and the leadership of the church is neither equipping others nor leading the congregation to reach those who do not have a church home. In essence, the pastor is becoming a chaplain. Here are ten warning signs that such a process is likely taking place.
  1. The pastor is not equipping others. Church members expect the pastor to do most of the ministry, and the pastor fulfills those unbiblical expectations.
  2. Pastoral care of members is increasing. As a consequence, the pastor has less time to lead the congregation to reach beyond its walls.
  3. The pastor does not take time to connect with non-members and non-Christians. Simply stated, there is no outwardly focused Great Commission leadership.
  4. The pastor deals with members’ complaints at an increasing rate. Once members get accustomed to the pastor being their on-call chaplain, they are likely to become irritated and frustrated when the pastor is not omnipresent and omniscient for their every need.
  5. The pastor worries more about the next phone call, conversation, or email. Such is the tendency of the pastor-chaplain who knows there will always be complaints about needs not getting met.
  6. The pastor experiences greater family interference time. Many pastor-chaplains are fearful of protecting family time lest they not be highly responsive to church members. Some of these pastors have lost their families as a consequence.
  7. The pastor is reticent to take vacation time or days off. Pastor-chaplains would rather have no time off than worry about what they may miss while they are away from the church.
  8. The pastor is reticent to take new initiatives. There are two reasons for this response. First, the pastor-chaplain does not want to upset the members with change. Second, the pastor-chaplain does not have time for new ideas because of the time demands of members.
  9. The pastor has no vision for the future. The pastor-chaplain is too busy taking care of current member demands. Little time is available for visionary thinking and leadership.
  10. The pastor has lost the joy of ministry. Of course, this unfortunate development should be expected. There is no joy in dealing with unreasonable expectations and constant streams of criticisms, or with a ministry that has no evangelistic fruit.
I pray you pastors will look at these ten items as a checklist for your own ministry. And I pray you church members will look at the list and honestly evaluate your church to see if you have pushed your pastor into full-time chaplaincy.
As always, I value your input on these topics. Let me hear from you.

Monday, August 17, 2015

How to Begin Transforming the Church?

People frequently ask how to help transformation begin in the congregation of which they are a part. Begin with prayer.  Pray about transformation, not about Aunt Tillie's bunions, the fight at the fire company, the election, the proverbial "unnamed" (if they are unnamed to us doesn't God know who they are?  And if God knows who they are why are we naming them.)  Oh well, it is good and biblical to pray for those in need, and that includes bunions, disagreements, national politics and even "unnamed" people I suppose, but those in need also include those in church whose faith has grown cold, stagnant or are simply not "growing up into Christ who is our head."  It also includes the many more people who live in our communities, work with us, go to school with our kids but do not know the life God intends for them.
So if you want to help foster transformation of a congregation, don't start with a new program, a change of structure, AND don't start with the needs of the congregation.  Begin gathering with others, 2 or 3 or 50 who have a passion for those who do not yet know Jesus as Lord and are not enjoying the abundant, eternal life he promised.  
By the way, the budget for this is manageable, it does not require a large church, young people, youth, a certain educational level or anything other than a deep love of Jesus and people. 
Seriously, almost everyone I have ever read who has lead a dynamic new church plant or a dramatic transformation of an existing congregation, names prayer as the first ingredient in the process. 

So Pray.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Roaring Creek Valley United Methodist Church - Moving Forward

Roaring Creek Valley Church is in an enviable position. Formed by a merger two years ago of three churches, St. Paul’s, Fisherdale and Mt. Zion, they have grown to about 150% the size of the three churches individually prior to the merger.

Members of the congregation met recently with their Pastor Chad Carter, Paul Nixon, Northeastern Jurisdiction worker with Path1 (the UMC group for oversight, encouragement and support of New Church Plants), and Rev. Dr. Dennis Otto, director of Growing Effective Churches for the Susquehanna Conference, UMC.

Paul Nixon
Dennis Otto
The congregation shared their hesitance to merge, the pain of the “death” of congregations where some of them had been lifelong members, and the joy of now being able to do ministry in their community. The motivation for the new church was in part financial crises with some of the churches but they developed a vision based around their mission of making disciples.  As the pastor put it, "in one meeting we went from wondering what we were going to do with all the pianos from three churches to imagining what a youth group could look like.  That's when I knew we were on the right track!"  The new congregation has a dynamic ministry with children, is active in local food banks and carries out significant ministries with those in the area.  They are connecting new people to Jesus who have never been followers before.