Congregational Development Tools and Resources



MissionInsiteDiscovering your church’s ministry opportunities has never been easier. MissionInsite provides instant access to community information for your church via The MI System. You’ll get desktop, web-based access to demographic data for a variety of geographic levels.

The Baltimore-Washington Conference provides free, unlimited access to MissionInsite to churches within the conference. To register as a first-time user of MissionInsite, contact Jo Chesson.

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Readiness 360

Readiness 360A web-based tool that can be personalized to your congregation and context to help objectively assess your readiness to accept and nurture new people God sends. This tool is used by people in your congregation and potential stakeholders to provide input about your church from their vantage point. The resulting report provides feedback to the leadership of your congregation about its current capacity to bear fruit and multiply. Contact Jo Chesson or your regional strategist.

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Church Marketing Plan Tool 

United Methodist Communications has developed a tool that can be used for learning about your community and your Church.
Church Marketing Plan Tool -- Marketing isn’t about sales.  Marketing is about understanding your community and using the tools available to speak most effectively to them. 

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The United Methodist Data Access

Here you can search for information regarding churches, pastors, leadership, conferences or other entities. Statistical information and general Church data can be found by selecting Search or Download.

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Path1The denominational church-planting movement encompassing national, regional and local levels of The United Methodist Church. Path1 provides collaborative leadership to re-evangelize the United States so that we might reach more people, more young people, and more diverse people for Christ by creating new places for new people. Path 1 seeks to cultivate the leaders, develop the systems and implement the strategies necessary to regain our healthy denominational habit of starting one new church a day.

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Discipleship Ministries

Discipleship Ministries connects laity and clergy around the world with contextually-appropriate resourcing and materials, training, consulting and networking to support spiritual formation, new church development and revitalization of local churches. Its newest initiative, See All The People, encourages and supports congregations in developing discipleship systems that begin with being in authentic, organic and consistent relationship with those around their churches.

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 Apps and Programs:
  • Canva – A custom-design program to make personalized graphics, with templates in all shapes and sizes. (Churches, with information about their nonprofit status from the General Board of Finance and Administration, can use the professional version for free.)
  • MileIQ – “Automatic detection. One-swipe classification. Mileage logging has never been easier.”
  • Sunday Streams – Stream your worship for the world to see for $49 a month.
  • Joyfully2UMC – Support your local church from your phone. Learn more about online giving
  • GenerousLiving – Help grow generosity in your life, sign up for this newsletter from the Board of Discipleship
  • Essential podcasts for United Methodist Leaders – 12 of the best podcasts to listen to if you want to hear from top thinkers in the areas of communications, technology, leadership and young people.
  • #SeeAllThePeople – United Methodists are being called to shift their thinking from fixing churches to true discipleship. Learn more and get resources from Discipleship Ministries’ See All the People campaign.
  • The Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary – A treasure-trove of discipleship, worship and stewardship resources
  • Unsplash – Beautiful, free, copyright-free images
  • Wingclips – Movie clips that inspire, to use in worship and beyond
  • Manager Tools – All podcasts – Explore a treasury of management and leadership podcasts on this award-winning site
  • Sight psalms – A daily, creative photo inspiration, and often a few words, intended to help people reflect on God’s presence
  • Church Web Design – Learn how to improve your church’s web presence with United Methodist Communications
  • Knowing Your Why”– A video clip from comedian Michael Jr.
  • The Wesleyan Roots of “See all the People” – An exploration of discipleship from a theologically United Methodist perspective
  •  Fresh Expressions – A spirit of entrepreneurship creates new faith expressions. See a listing of some of the best.
  • Toward a Year-Round Stewardship Ministry by Ann A. Michel– Forming people for faithful stewardship and extravagant generosity requires more than a single annual sermon. Learn how you can develop a stewardship calendar to make sure that different aspects of stewardship receive ongoing attention throughout the year.
  • Goals – Jon Acuff on finishing, fighting perfectionism and completing your goals.
  • Planting New Churches vs. Going Multi-Site – From the Uncovered dish Christian Podcast, featuring Olu Brown.
  • Ask a Bartender – Eddie Pipkin asks us to consider how people experience hospitality in our congregations.
  • Vital Worship Grants Program -- The Vital Worship Grants Program at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship seeks to foster vital worship, focusing on projects that connect public worship to intergenerational faith formation and Christian discipleship, a theme that can unfold in many facets of worship from Bible reading to preaching to Baptism and Lord’s Supper, intercessory prayer, congregational song, visual arts, and more.

Failing Boldly: How Falling Down in Ministry can be the Start of Rising Up by Christian Coon 

Find your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for you and your Team by Simon Sinek and David Mead; and its “prequel:” Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

Christ-Centered Coaching: Seven Benefits for Ministry Leaders by Jane Creswell

Get Their Name: Grow Your Church by Building New Relationships by Bob Faar; See Farr talk about the book.

I Refuse to Lead a Dying Church by Paul Nixon; see the follow-up video "We Refused to Lead a Dying Church"

Not Your Parents Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship by Clif Christopher

Renovate or Die: 10 Ways to Focus Your Church on Mission by Bob Farr

Rich Church Poor Church: Keys to Effective Financial Ministry by Clif Christopher

Make or Break Your Church in 365 Days: A Daily Guide to Leading Effective Change by Paul D. Borden

Not Safe for Church: Ten Commandments for Reaching New Generations by F. Douglas Powe Jr.

Get Off Your Donkey!: Help Somebody and Help Yourself by Reggie McNeal

Weird Church: Welcome to the Twenty-first Century by Paul Nixon and Beth Ann Estock

A Missionary Mindset: What Church Leaders Need to Know to Reach their Community by Douglas Ruffle

Small Church Essentials: Field-Tested Principles for Leading a Healthy Congregation of Under 250 by Karl Vaters 

The Art of Coaching Clergy: A Handbook for Church Leaders, Clergy and Coaches, by Rev. Chris Holmes

Resurgence: Navigating the Changing Ministry Landscape by Candace Lewis, Rodney Thomas Smothers

Blank Slate: Write Your Own Rules for a Twenty-Second Century Church Movement by Lia McIntosh, Jasmine Smothers, and Rodney Thomas Smothers


 Many of these titles may be purchased through Cokesbury or Amazon.

Resources for New Congregations

Contact the Office of Congregational Development if you are interested in any of these resources.

  • Guidance and training for starting new campuses or missional faith communities.
  • New Church Leader Institute (NCLI) to assess clergy and laity to discern their call to help plant new faith communities.
  • Boot Camp and/or Launch Pad training to help launch teams prepare for successful starts.
  • BWC Discernment Retreat.
  • Targeted training and/or consultation for pastors and laity leading larger (over 400 in attendance) congregations.
  • Training and/or consultation to help empower and equip laity for ministry.
  • Training and/or consultation for identifying and reaching your mission field.
  • Training and/or consultation to help start new worship services.
  • Stride: Creating a Discipleship System for Your Church by Schriener & Willard
  • Legacy Churches by Stephen Gray and Franklin Dumond
  • The Generous Church by Tom Berlin
  • Small Church Check-up by Kay Kotan & Phil Schroeder
  • Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations by Robert Schnase
  • Fresh Expressions by Ken Carter & Audrey Warren
  • Better Together by Tomberlin & Bird
  • 20/20 Leadership Lessons:  Seeing Vision and Focusing on Realities by Cedrick Bridgeforth
  • Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code:  Seven Keys to Unleashing Vision and Inspiration by Samuel Chand
Resources for Existing Congregations

Contact the Office of Congregational Development if you are interested in any of these resources.

  • Training and/or consultation to help congregations grow to the next level.
  • Training and/or consultation to help small churches identify their unique gifts.
  • Training and/or consultation for growing mid-size churches.
  • Targeted training and/or consultation for pastors and laity leading larger (over 400 in attendance) congregations.
  • Training and/or consultation to help empower and equip laity for ministry.
  • Training and/or consultation for identifying and reaching your mission field.
  • Training and/or consultation to help start new worship services.
Congregational Development Grants

The Baltimore-Washington Conference assists congregations with grants for leader development, new ministry, and new or renewed congregation development.

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United Methodist Communications offers church training live, online and even provides do-it-yourself opportunities to help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to be an effective church leader.