Churches urged to get involved in New Faith Communities initiative

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2/19/2013

The New Faith Communities event set for April will help churches get involved with a new movement under way in the Upper New York Annual Conference.

According to the New Faith Communities Development Team, this 23-hour networking, learning and inspirational event will feature a variety of workshops, presentations and informal opportunities to connect with other “planters” and “dreamers.”

"Moving Beyond Our Prehistoric Ways" will be held at the Casowasco Camp and Retreat Center in Moravia; the event opens at 5 p.m. April 5, closing worship will end by 4 p.m. April 6.

But how do you know if this event is right for your church?

Binghamton District Superintendent Dave Masland, who will begin his new role as the Upper New York Annual Conference's director of New Faith Communities on July 1, offers four questions to help you decide:

  • Does your church plan to start new small groups in 2013-2014 designed to attract new people to your church?
  • Does your church intend to start a new worship service with some non-traditional aspects designed to attract new people any time in the future?
  • Does anyone in your church talk about the possibility of starting an off-site worshipping community, or to use a more "multi-site" approach to reaching new people any time in the future?
  • Is anyone in your church considering holding a Bible study group in some space outside the church, in order to attract people that might not want to walk into your building?

If you respond affirmatively to one or more of these questions, then Rev. Masland says this event is for your church.

"Anyone who has expressed an interest in working on any of these kinds of things would benefit from the learning, and the interaction with others who are planting new ministries to reach new people in various parts of the Conference," he said.

The keynote speaker on Friday night, April 5, will be John Fink, CFO of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and long-time United Methodist, on the topic "How to Build a Dream From Scratch."

Saturday’s workshops will be provided by:

  • The Rev. Lydia Munoz, music director at 2012 Annual Conference Session and planter of a ministry targeting Hispanic young adult
  • The Rev. Tom Kraft, pastor at the Pendleton Center UMC in North Tonawanda and Niagara Falls First UMC (Niagara Frontier District), who has been utilizing a multi-site, multi-congregation-within-the-church approach to reach new people
  • Former church planters the Rev. Alan Howe, pastor at Rome First UMC (Mohawk District), and local pastor the Rev. Annette Snedaker on the topic of coaching
  • Keith Chadwick, former CEO of the United Methodist Homes in Binghamton, who will discuss fundraising for planting

Rev. Masland will offer the message during the closing worship and Holy Communion.

“If you are already planting something new in the Conference, this event is for you,” Rev. Masland said. “If you are feeling called to plant something new in the future, this event is for you. If you are just plain curious to see what God is up to, this event is (also) for you.”

The $95 registration fee covers the cost of three meals and overnight accommodations; there is a limit of 81 overnight guests for this event, but there is additional room for commuters. Click here to register.