Congregational Development

God calls on God’s people to make disciples. A sign and a result of deepening discipleship is church growth. The BWC’s Office of Vibrant Communities oversees and nurtures new church starts in creating new places for new people, and assists in the renewal and revitalizing of faith communities.

By being relevant and vital, United Methodists will touch more lives and draw more people to Christ. Our primary purpose is not to help churches grow, but rather we seek to help them reach more people with the good news of the Gospel, to grow more people as gifted and called disciples of Jesus, and to send more people into the world to love and serve God and their neighbors in all they do. We provide tools, resources, workshops, events and training to help congregations more effectively make disciples for the transformation of the world.

Upcoming Events and Scholarship Opportunities

Cultivating a Culture of Creativity in Worship | March 25, 2017 
First UMC, 6201 Belcrest Rd Hyattsville, MD 20782-2913
What does it mean to be in a church setting with multimedia? What’s the differences between technology and culture?  The real story in worship now is not to use the screens, but how screens and other forms of creativity come together to create powerful God experiences.  Come explore what happens next with the latest thinking on culture, art, teams and technology. Learn techniques, methodologies that churches large and small alike can use to make big things happen in worship and beyond. Create worship that is deep, meaningful, memorable and that creates disciples.  Rediscover creativity with Jason Moore from Midnight Oil.

Multiethnic Church Ministry Training | March 29-31, 2017
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Oklahoma City, OK
Sponsored by Discipleship Ministries / Path 1
Join Sam Rodriguez and other Path1 leaders in Oklahoma City for the second Path1 Multiethnic Church Planting event. Your registration fee includes access to a Cultural Intelligence (CQ) assessment, which you will have the opportunity to unpack during the instructional time with Dr. Brian Leander (see speaker tab). Instructions and a passcode for taking the assessment will be included in your confirmation email once you've registered. You will also learn from top practitioners leading multiethnic ministries during the Ted Talks, as well as from the pastors at City Well UMC, a vital and growing multiethnic church located in Durham, NC.

Lead Like a Woman | April 21-22, 2017
Hilton Hotel BWI Airport, Linthicum Heights, MD
Women in leadership are encouraged to attend this workshop designed to sharpen their leadership, communication skills and discover their unique “High-Performance Pattern” as a leader. Keynote speaker - Dr. Renita J. Weems. Workshop leader - Jane Creswell, executive coach.

Exponential East Conference 2017 | April 24-27, 2017
First Baptist Church, Orlando, FL
Join thousands of church planting leaders for four days of inspiration, encouragement and equipping at Exponential East church planting conference in Orlando. The conference will feature 175+ speakers, 125+ workshops, 9+ tracks, 5,000 church planting leaders and sunny Orlando, Florida.

The Office of Vibrant Communities would like to hear from you if you are planning on going to Exponential East 2017. There are a few open spots in our group registration. Contact Rev. Tony Love or Jo Chesson before registering. Our deadline is April 3, 2017.

Eligible applicants can apply for financial assistance towards reimbursable expenses to attend. Download the Financial Assistance Application.

Launchpad Training for Planting Pastors and Teams | August 10-12, 2017
Hosted by The Greater New Jersey Annual Conference, 205 Jumping Brook Rd, Neptune City, NJ 07753
Similar to a boot camp, but focused on the varied and changing planting contexts of the NEJ.  Launchpad was created for the Northeast USA.  Hundreds have been through this training.  It is taught in both Spanish and English.  The event is hosted by Greater New Jersey Conference this year in Neptune NJ, about an hour south of NYC.  Paul Nixon and Sam Rodriguez will be the lead facilitators.  Registration will be available by early spring.

School of Congregational Development 2017 | August 17-20, 2017
Peachtree Road UMC, Atlanta, GA
Join Us At The Lord's Table. One of the highlights of the School of Congregational Development is gathering to pray, sing, and learn in our worship and plenary sessions. This year we have a group of leaders who will be encouraging us to look at the big picture. On Thursday, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson will start us off with worship and communion as she focuses on the theme of this year's event "At the Lord's Table". View the full lineup of speakers.

Registration opens March 15:

  • Early Bird (through May 1) - $325
  • Regular (May 2–July 15) - $375
  • July 16 on - $425

Location:  Peachtree Road UMC, 3180 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30305 - right next to a MARTA stop and easy walking distance to hotels

Hotel:   Arrangements can be made at Atlanta Marriott Buckhead

3405 Lenox Rd NE
Atlanta, GA  30326
Cut off date: July 5, 2017
Rooms are $149 singe/double

Five Things Your Visitors are Thinking But Won't Ask | September 9, 2017
Location: To be determined
It’s been said that every church wants to grow.  If that is true, are we poised for growth in the way we treat and attend to our new visitors? While you wouldn’t think so, guest readiness is one of the most important issues facing the church in this present time, and many churches have unintentionally become blind to their own realities.   This workshop will include instructions on how to develop and train a more intentional and welcoming hospitality team, how to and why to develop a formal child check in procedure, how do audit signage, and what to do with your existing space.  Jason Moore from Midnight Oil will help you discover these and so much more to help you recognize what you may have been missing for years.  Come… learn…  discover… Bring a team…


Seeking funding for new church start coaching, new faith communities coaching, or other coachingContact Rev. Tony Love or Jo Chesson.