PLENTIFUL HARVEST: NEW AND RENEWING CONGREGATIONS Quadrennial Strategy ( ) The Upper New York Annual Conference

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1 PLENTIFUL HARVEST: NEW AND RENEWING CONGREGATIONS Quadrennial Strategy (01 01) The Upper New York Annual Conference Introduction: [Jesus] told them, "The harvest is plentiful Luke : The United Methodist Church s Call to Action report (CTA) expressed the adaptive challenge facing our Church this way: To redirect the flow of attention, energy, and resources to an intense concentration on fostering and sustaining an increase in the number of vital congregations effective in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Though focused broadly on United Methodism across the country, this statement also speaks directly to the central challenge facing the Upper New York Annual Conference. United Methodists in Upper New York are alarmed by years of numerical and spiritual decline, yet hopeful that we can, with God s help, reverse this trend as vital congregations both new faith communities and renewed existing congregations extend United Methodist witness by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ and being God s love with our neighbors in all places. Indeed, our success or failure as an Annual Conference may be measured in terms of how fearlessly, effectively and tenaciously we undertake this challenge. Plentiful Harvest, a comprehensive approach for new and renewing congregations, seeks to concentrate our financial and human resources to revitalize 00 existing congregations and plant 0 new faith communities over the next Quadrennium (01-01). Plentiful Harvest is the fruit of the conversations and shared vision of multiple conference teams (Conference Leadership Team, Conference Board of Trustees, New Faith Communities Team, and UNY Extended Cabinet), conference staff and General Church resource persons. This document provides an overview of the three components that make up Plentiful Harvest: 0 1 Hand to the Plow (HP) Congregational Revitalization Project New Seeds New Faith Community Development Strategic Plan New Beginnings Fund Use of Net Proceeds from Closed Churches While not an exhaustive description, this document identifies the purpose of each component and how conference resources would be aligned to accomplish that Supplement to 01 Pre-Conference Briefing Booklet

2 purpose. For each component, the specific enabling actions by Annual Conference to align these resources behind these purposes are identified. Above and beyond aligning conference resources though, what Plentiful Harvest needs is broad and deep support. A plentiful harvest requires many workers, praying, plowing, and planting. Working together we can help God change lives and neighborhoods. Hand to the Plow (HP) Congregational Revitalization Project: Jesus said, No one who puts hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. To renew existing congregations, we must become a focused people. Other work will need to be accomplished, but our hands must never leave the plow turning over new life in our congregations. Hands to the Plow (HP) will do this by aligning the attention, energy and resources (spiritual, financial and human) for strategic interventions in 00 existing congregations determined to have high potential for a sustained renewal of effective disciple-making ministry. During the next Quadrennium, congregations on each district will participate in a three-year process of transformation aimed at renewing disciple-making ministries in the congregation. The HP Project will be overseen by a new dedicated staff person (Director of Vital Congregations) serving as an associate in the Office of Connectional Ministries. As currently envisioned, HP would operate this way: With the aid of the Director of Vital Congregations, District Superintendents will select seven to high-potential congregations per year, using evaluative tools provided by the Director of Vital Congregations. o High potential will include a number of internal and external factors, such as commitment of pastor and key laity to engage in transformation, financial sustainability of congregation, history of connectional support, current or potential success reaching the young, diverse racial/ethnic populations and persons in poverty. Using a standard consultation process led by the District Superintendent, each participating congregation will develop a ministry plan focused on renewing its disciple-making ministries: o Congregational self-study and demographic exploration would proceed face-to-face consultation o Face-to-face consultation would involve a weekend-long event, led by the District Superintendent, which engages pastor, key leaders and the congregation at large. Supplement to 01 Pre-Conference Briefing Booklet

3 o After consultation, the Director of Vital Congregations, District Superintendent, and the district HP team would provide the congregation with a Findings and Recommendations report A Ministry Plan would be developed by the pastor and congregational leadership based on the Findings and Recommendations report: o Ministry Plan would map out a three-year plan to renew disciple-making in congregation: Would include outcome-based, time-specific, measurable goals with appropriate metrics. Would establish clear lines of accountability for executing a plan, including the role of the District Superintendent in holding the pastor and congregation accountable Would identify resources needed to carry out plan, where these resources will be found, and what Annual Conference will provide o Ministry Plan would be approved by pastor, Church Council, SPRC and District Superintendent. o Execution of Ministry Plan Would guide pastor s plan of ministry, serve as basis for pastoral evaluation, and be reviewed as part of the annual charge conference. o Year-to-year continuation in program would be based on measurable progress toward enacting goals contained in the Ministry Plan. Changes to Ministry Plan, in light of experience and changing circumstances, would be possible, but must be done in consultation with District Superintendent. Primary work of Director of Vital Congregations will be to resource and support District Superintendents in overseeing HP congregational interventions in their districts and provide strategic direction and program evaluation: o Resourcing and Support All District Superintendents would be trained on how to identify and consult/coach high-potential congregations. A variety of disciple-making resources (materials and consultants) would be made available to District Superintendents, pastors and congregations (e.g.paragraph 1 studies, Natural Church Development, Roxburgh Network, Five Fruitful Practices) o Direction and Evaluation Would use a dashboard type system to track progress Regular consultation with the District Superintendents and Director of Vital Congregations to assess progress and needs Supplement to 01 Pre-Conference Briefing Booklet 1

4 HP Enabling Legislation at this year s annual conference: Approval of 01 UNY Conference Budget which provides support for Director of Vital Congregations (see 01 Budget pp.-). Adoption of New Beginnings Fund resolution to allocate net proceeds from closed and abandoned churches New Seeds New Faith Community Development Strategic Plan: During the 0-1 conference year, the Upper New York Annual Conference, working in partnership with the Path 1 Movement of The United Methodist Church, facilitated listening, visioning and development of a plan to empower UNY to change lives and neighbors with the gospel of Jesus Christ by planting sustainable new faith communities 1 across Upper New York. The following plan grows out of prayerful conferencing with more than 00 persons in regional gatherings all over New York. We are encouraged that already more than a dozen new faith communities are under development in our conference. We envision creating an infrastructure for vastly expanding this with an understanding of new faith community ranging from new church development to the creation of new cells of faith community within many of our established congregations. The Path 1 movement envisions 1,000 new United Methodist faith communities in the next four years. We are challenging ourselves to plant one-tenth of these communities! The plan (called New Seeds) seeks to Find potential leaders and allies cultivating a culture of ministry multiplication Equip laity and clergy to plant and cultivate new faith communities Support a multiplying movement of new faith communities in all kinds of neighborhoods What do we mean by the term faith community? The Conference s New Faith Communities Team has used the Path 1 definition of a new church or faith community to guide its work: 0 1 Regular Community Worship (with Sacraments) A Discipleship or Apprenticing Process (for helping people learn to follow Jesus) 1 Purpose statement for New Seeds adopted by UNY New Faith Communities Team Supplement to 01 Pre-Conference Briefing Booklet 1

5 Membership (a way for persons to buy in, to become a stakeholder in the ministry and the community, rather than just a ministry consumer) Wesleyan theology (especially with an emphasis on personal holiness along with community transformation) Faithful stewardship (of community talents and financial resources) Tangible Mission Commitment in the Community (or World) beyond the Church A Commitment to Multiplication of Ministry at every level of church life, including the planting of new faith communities A new faith community can become a house church or a mega church. It can be a new campus of an existing church. It can be focused around a new worship community in an old church, when that new community targets a different group of people. It can be created through a merger of churches, when old property is sold, a new name is chosen, and a trained planter is assigned as pastor. We envision the full range of types of new faith communities as Methodism is renewed in Upper New York. FIND EQUIP PLANT MULTIPLY Any system that works to support a healthy, sustainable culture of new faith community development must be comprehensive it must address more than simply clergy-led new church projects. It must deal with finding leaders and resources within and beyond the Annual Conference. It must deal with equipping leaders and teams, once identified both lay and clergy. It must envision the fullest possible range of models and planting strategies, and it must "think multiplication" from the get-go. As we think about leading Upper New York to embrace a paradigm of multiplying ministry at all levels, we want to project a plan that addresses all of the above. 1. FIND Potential leaders and Allies From within the Regional meeting attendees, seminary students, camp and retreat participants and volunteers, BOOM community, cabinet, lay speaker community, college chaplains, VIM, Re-UNY, MFSA, etc. 0 1 Potential Leaders: o Fire-starters o Innovators o People with social connections and influence o Spiritually grounded o All ages Potential Allies: o Fruitful churches Supplement to 01 Pre-Conference Briefing Booklet 1

6 o Team members o Campus ministers (colleges/universities) o Community leaders. EQUIP Leaders at various levels: to impact the total culture of ministry in UNY Recommended reading list with a new book every quarter that cabinet and a host of other leaders will covenant to read. Annual Conference theme, presentation, events Training events with wide audience dealing with issues of multiplying ministry, cultural (and cross-cultural) issues in ministry and effective evangelism A UNY Leader Academy for clergy the formation and development of skills in starting, growing, innovating ministry (in order to develop a pool of potential leaders for both new starts and church transformation/restart initiatives.) A UNY Lay Academy for formation and development of skills in starting, growing, innovating ministry (using the Path 1 Lay Missionary Planting Network curriculum resource as a template for one-year program) Apprenticing opportunities with powerhouses of innovative, effective ministry in the NEJ and possibly beyond. Path 1 partnership for ongoing training with cabinet and conference leadership around leading a culture and movement of innovation and new faith communities Website and blog for cultivating the community of interested parties and to facilitate networking 0 1. PLANT to create structures for a multiplying movement of new faith communities at all levels of church life (from new small groups, new age-level ministries, new fellowships for distinctive populations, new home fellowships, new worship services, new campuses or satellite ministries, new networks, new chartered congregations, etc.) 0 1 Basic systems in place o Leader assessment process o Assistance in development of planting plans o Clear funding streams for conference o A set of basic templates for different kinds of new starts o A pool of coaches available o Legal resources o Peer network of planters Every new plant (with conference funding): o A coach Supplement to 01 Pre-Conference Briefing Booklet 1

7 o A plan for sustainable ministry o A prayer team o A team of stakeholders and/or local advisory team o DS, Coach, Conference staff/rep, one or two others o A local advisory team (optional) o Multiple leaders being apprenticed Every new community (without conference funding) o A clear line of connection to the UM community o A prayer team o A mentor to the leader o At least one new leader being apprenticed within the first year. MULTIPLY ministry at every level: Everybody and everything replicates. Creating expectation and practice that all leaders apprentice new leaders, all home groups seek to send out planters to start new, all churches constantly seek to replicate everything they do. Possible timeline and key recommendations: 01 Annual Conference: Affirm the outlines of a plan for new faith community development. Begin developing an Academy for New and Renewing Congregations o Under the auspices of the Conference Connectional Ministries o Two key positions, complementing each other: the Hand to the Plow Director (a revitalization program) and a Director of New Faith Communities Search for and hire a Director of New Faith Communities to start Jan. 1, 01. o Responsibilities include oversight of leadership development for laity and clergy and all systems related to planting new faith communities, helping to coordinate funding for the work of planting new faith communities, overseeing development of project plans for sustainable faith communities, working with the district superintendents and teams to cultivate 0 new faith communities by 01. Establishment of a quarterly reading list on church development, where many in the conference are reading the same things. Fall: A second Path 1 retreat with cabinet, this year focusing on the task of creating a pool of potential leaders and planters o Including development of a leader-assessment system o Pool of laity and clergy Supplement to 01 Pre-Conference Briefing Booklet 1

8 Building basic systems (for funding, coaching, assessment) Conference-wide New Faith Community Rally/training in spring All Districts develop NEW and RENEW teams to cultivate and speed up planting and revitalization in all regions (not to control it, not committees). Five new starts recognized, commissioned or appointed at Annual Conference. (Looking for fast wins, lower risk projects) Fall Lay Academy opens for its first year (a nine-month training), utilizing the Lay Missionary Planting Network curriculum and other resources in order to cultivate a group of leaders, ready for planting new faith communities as part-time lay-pastors and volunteers. Development of website and blog (as a hub of the conference community that swirls around new faith community development) First of the year Start up the Pastor s Academy (a parallel to the Lay Academy), which runs the course of the calendar year, with six to nine retreats and experts and practitioners from across the nation. Fifteen new starts recognized, commissioned or appointed at Annual Conference. A system of rotating trainings (one-day events) on topics related to NEW or RENEWS moving around the conference, with themes directed by the Academy. Apprenticing strategies for leader development deployed upon the conclusion of the first lay and clergy academy years. Second year of Lay Academy starts in fall. Second year of Pastors' Academy starts in winter. Thirty new starts recognized, commissioned or appointed at Annual Conference. Third year of Lay Academy starts in fall. 0 1 Third year of Pastor s' Academy starts in winter. Fifty new starts recognized, commissioned or appointed at Annual Conference. New Seeds Enabling Legislation at this year s annual conference: Approval of 01 UNY Conference Budget which provides support for Director of New Faith Community Development(see 01 Budget pp.-).. Adoption of New Beginnings Fund resolution to allocate net proceeds from closed and abandoned churches. Supplement to 01 Pre-Conference Briefing Booklet 1

9 New Beginnings Fund Use of Net Proceeds of Closed Churches Each year across Upper New York, some congregations are closed, leaving behind real property assets which, when sold, provide valuable resources for new ministries. The Conference Board of Trustees and the Conference Leadership Team propose that these resources be allocated for the work of revitalizing existing congregations (HP), planting new faith communities (New Seeds) and maintaining camp and retreat facilities (where spiritual formation and leadership training happen outside but in support of the local church). New Beginnings Fund Enabling Legislation at this year s annual conference: Adoption of New Beginnings Fund resolution to allocate net proceeds from closed and abandoned churches (see below). NEW BEGINNINGS FUND FOR NEW FAITH COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, REVITALIZATION OF EXISTING CONGREGATIONS, AND CAMP AND RETREAT MINISTRIES Rules Consideration: None Conference/church budget implications: none (funding from net proceeds of real estate sales, not shared ministries budget) WHEREAS fulfilling the purpose of the Annual Conference to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be God s love with our neighbors in all places depends on the vital disciple-making ministries of new faith communities, revitalized existing congregations and Camp and Retreat Ministries Centers, and WHEREAS there is a need to financially support these ministries in order to increase their prevalence and effectiveness; therefore, BE IT RESOLVED, that the net proceeds from the sale of real estate resulting from a) churches discontinued by the annual conference without direction concerning the disposition of property (. b) and b) church buildings considered abandoned (.) be allocated during the Quadrennium (July 1, 01 Dec. 1, 01) to a New Beginnings Fund to provide financial resources for the revitalization of disciple-making ministries, with 0 percent of the net proceeds designated for New Faith Community Development and Revitalization of Existing Congregations and the remaining 0 percent designated for capital projects of Camp and Retreat Ministries. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a) the use of funds allocated for New Faith Community Development and Revitalization of Existing Congregations be authorized by the Conference Leadership Team or a team designated by the Conference Supplement to 01 Pre-Conference Briefing Booklet 1

10 Leadership Team or the Annual Conference and b) the use of funds allocated for Camp and Retreat Ministries be authorized by the Board of Trustees on recommendation of the Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries Board. Dated: Feb. 1, 01 Submitted: jointly by the Conference Leadership Team and the Conference Board of Trustees Supplement to 01 Pre-Conference Briefing Booklet

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