Two women sit down together reading Bibles. The woman on the left is pointing to words on her open Bible.

Women Living into Hard and Holy Calls

Just as we learn from the stories recorded in scripture, we can learn from the stories of how God is moving in our lives today.

On International Women’s Day, New Church Hacks will hear from two fascinating female ministers, change-makers, and leaders in our denomination. Throughout their journey, they have been faced with adversity and defeat, but have led with empowerment and liberation. Come listen to these two amazing stories of how God ordained both of these women into hard and holy calls.


Rev. Christy Jo Harber sits on a metal bench. She is wearing a dark blue shirt.

Rev. Christy Jo Harber was born and raised in West Tennessee and received a Bachelors in Nonprofit Leadership from Murray State University. She graduated from Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, TN, in 2017 with a Master of Divinity. She served as Associate Pastor at Eastwood Christian Church (2017-2020) in Nashville TN.

Christy Jo began a wild and holy adventure serving as Woodland Christian Church’s Lead Pastor in Lexington, KY at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. She is excited to share what God has been up to since her church learned it couldn’t return from virtual worship to the sanctuary and would need over a million dollars for building repair.

Christy Jo is always looking and listening for the new thing God is doing. She is passionate about sharing the message of the liberating love of God and the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality. For fun she enjoys learning about the enneagram, going hiking, and exploring waterfalls!

Rev. Erin Edwards is the lead pastor and founder of LOP (Live on Purpose) Community Church, in Davis/Vacaville, CA. Married in 2017 to her wife Chelsea, they welcomed twin daughters, Erilee and Evagrae, in January 2019. Erin also became ordained in the Disciples of Christ during the pandemic and is co-pastor at the Christian Church of Woodland, CA (Disciples of Christ).

Erin graduated with a Master’s degree in Ministry and Theology and is currently attending the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley for her Doctorate in Ministry.

As a gay, African-American woman in ministry, Erin is no stranger to opposition. Because of this, Erin has been equipped with an understanding of the marginalized and has used it as a platform to combat injustice. With a passion for what God has for His people in the here and now, Pastor Erin promotes a life lived not only with purpose but on purpose. Her voice and story speak directly to the soul, waking people up to encounter and live out their God-given dreams.

Pastor Erin and Chelsea strive to build a community in which all people are free to experience the love of God, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, race, etc.

Creating Best Practices for Creation Care

Hurricanes. Floods. Heatwaves. Our world is experiencing an increased amount of these natural disasters because of rising temperatures. What can Disciples do to address climate change and be responsible stewards of the environment? Learn the answer to this question and much more at this New Church Hacks webinar episode.

Navigating Grief in Children and Youth Ministry

Navigating Grief in Children and Youth Ministry

Our young people have been through a lot of compound grief in the last several years. Between school shootings and other forms of mass gun violence, racial injustice, and the ever-growing climate crisis, the youth in our communities are feeling the stresses of our society on top of a global pandemic that has killed over 6 million people. How do you minister to them during this time? In this webinar, New Church Ministry explores tangible ways we can minister to our young people and help them navigate the grief they are experiencing.

Trauma-informed Ministry in Pandemic Recovery

These past few years have been very strenuous for our whole community. With issues on top of the pandemic such as police violence, the threat of war, and other collective traumatic experiences, the need to not only understand how trauma affects an individual’s spirit but how to walk alongside those who are experiencing the responses to trauma is crucial in today’s age. The term ‘Trauma Informed Ministry’ is becoming more commonplace for congregations. Utilizing the work from the field of Trauma Informed Care, this New Church Hacks episode:
– Familiarized participants with the language of being trauma-informed
– Provided principles on how to help with trauma responses without retraumatizing individuals
– Explored spiritual practices that help to center oneself in traumatic experiences, and
– Shared how to form communities of care that are trauma-informed
Joining host Rev. Dr. Jose Martinez (interim Associate Minister of New Church Strategies) on this webinar were featured guests Rev. Dr. Irie Lynn Session (preacher at The Gathering: A Womanist Church), Rev. Dawn Bennett (Pastor Developer at The Table), and Joselyn Spence (Director of the Mental Health and Wellness Initiative of the National Benevolent Association).
New Church Hacks provides practical (and sometimes peculiar) prompts for churches from start to restart. This free webinar series is jam-packed with clever solutions to tricky problems and empowers courageous leaders with the tools, tips and how-tos to start, sustain and strengthen congregations. For regular updates, be sure to check this page and follow along on social media with #NewChurchHacks!

Join our guests by signing up ahead of time or view our live video on our Facebook page.

Each episode is recorded and a link to it is emailed to all registrants, regardless of attendance.

Crucial Hacks to Decolonize Your Church

In recent years, the term “decolonization” has entered popular vocabulary, drawing attention to the role of religious organizations in gentrification and the history of colonial oppression. This subject is complex and frequently fraught with contradicting ideas about defining religious ideals, colonialism, and its victims. How can congregations uphold their standards while actively combating social injustice? In this New Church Hacks episode, we unpacked these ideas and:

– Focused on anti-racism as an approach to church development and community engagement

– Created space for conversations and practical ways in which to shape and reshape congregational DNA to reflect anti-racist discipleship

– Raised awareness of the ways in which your congregation is colonialist

The featured guests included Brandon Wrencher (Minister and Organizer of the Good Neighbor Movement), Naomi Washington-Leapheart (Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs for the City of Philadelphia and Faith Work Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force), and Chris Morton (Regional Minister of Disciples of Christ in Nebraska and Director of Cotner College Educational Ministries).