Jose Martinez announced as transitional NCM leader

Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF), which oversees New Church Ministry (NCM) on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), announces a transitional leader for the NCM Team.

Jose Martinez

Jose Martinez, Associate Minister of New Church Strategies, will join outgoing Minister of New Church Strategies Terrell McTyer in overlapping leadership until the end of January, when McTyer begins a new position with a global, ecumenical ministry and Martinez takes transitional leadership of NCM.

Martinez has planted churches, launched innovative ministries, and served in hospital and military chaplaincy. He joined the New Church Ministry Team in 2019.

“Jose brings a wealth of experience, an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep commitment to both NCM and DCEF,” said Belinda King, DCEF President. “His grasp of the mission and vision of New Church Ministry provides the kind of continuity we need as we discern next steps with our church-wide partners.”

Martinez co-planted Multi Nation Christian Church, the largest and only Haitian Ministry in the Midwest for the Disciples of Christ. He also founded MissioKC, a micro-church based in Kansas City, Mo., focused on “helping make the world around us a spiritually healthier place.” 

Martinez sees the interim as a time to “ensure that the next Minister of New Church Strategies has a strong foundation to help Disciples live more fully into our identity as a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.”

“The watch word for this season is ‘continuity,’” he said. “We will double down on nurturing our churchwide partnerships, even as we continue the work of training new leaders, equipping the church, assisting regions, and multiplying disciples.”

Disciples Church Extension Fund inspires and empowers congregations to create Holy Places where people connect with God, each other, and the community.

NCM leader accepts new post; interim to serve transition

Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF), which oversees New Church Ministry (NCM) on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), announces the leader of NCM will step down at the end of January.

Terrell McTyer

Terrell L. McTyer, Minister of New Church Strategies, has accepted a position as Executive Director of Global Marketing and Innovation at The Upper Room, an ecumenical ministry dedicated to supporting the spiritual life of Christians around the world.

“I am excited about the future,” Terrell said, “but it’s bittersweet to accept a new post, given my passion for this work. I’m going to miss this calling very much.”

Terrell began his work with New Church Ministry in August 2016, as the church was already successfully nearing the 2020 Vision goal to form 1,000 new Disciples congregations. NCM continued the momentum of this achievement by convening the New Church Summit, which set new aspirations for the movement to “make one million new disciples by 2030.”

Pastor Terrell leaves the ministry “in a sustainable position precisely because it is not dependent on a small, centralized group of leaders,” he said. “It truly is the work of the whole church.”

Under his leadership, the New Church Leadership Cooperative was established to bring together the dedicated leaders and teams of regional new church work to share in the strengthening practices of emerging congregations.

“This ministry would not be what it is if it were not for the team making it happen – not just the folks on New Church staff, but the whole DCEF staff,” Terrell added. “All the regional and general leaders across the church have played a critical role in its success. This is what gives me confidence that this vision will continue and rise to a new level with new leadership. Plus, just consider how many people continue to pray for this work to prosper!”

With an emphasis on the spiritual grounding of the movement, Terrell oversaw the launch of Water the Plants — a weekly prayer initiative that has hosted multiple prayer summits.

“It’s no surprise Terrell has been called to yet another ministry that values his innovative spirit,” Rick Reisinger, DCEF President, said. “Disciples have certainly benefited from his many gifts.”

Belinda R. King, who assumes leadership as President of DCEF on January 1, 2022, understands the impact this opening has on the entire Church.

“I will ensure that an interim is named before Terrell’s departure, so that NCM stays consistent in serving congregations and the wider Church,” she stated. “We will work faithfully with our churchwide partners to plan steps for the long term.”

Theory of Change workshop

November 8, 2021 @ 11:00 am November 21, 2021 @ 5:30 pm EST

A Theory of Change is your ministry’s story of how you believe change will unfold.

Are you planning to change, grow or add a ministry?

What impact are you having? How do you know? What difference is your ministry or program making? Learn what your mission is and understand the roles in achieving it.

The cornerstone of effective evaluation is a thorough understanding of the program you are trying to evaluate. This workshop will help you break your program or ministry down into its component parts, differentiating between things like “what you do” and “what you achieve.” Upon completion of the workshop you’ll have a completed Theory of Change and logic model.

  • A Theory of Change will provide a roadmap that outlines the steps by which you will achieve your mission. A Theory of Change can aid in aligning your stakeholders to your larger mission and help them understand their role in achieving it.
  • We’ll illustrate your Theory of Change with a logic model to show your stakeholders the intended relationship between investments and results.

Class Structure

All work will be online and asynchronous, with regular live group Zoom sessions. Participants should plan for 3-6 hours of work for each of the five modules, depending on experience. Your work will include reading, learning activities, and online discussion, all done at your own pace. Those that want to explore the topic further, should contact the facilitator upon completion of the workshop.

Class Schedule

Schedule: Module 1 – Mission (from approximately November 8th to 11th, 2021)

November 8th, 2021: Live Session(s) – Program Overview, Problem Statement. Times: 11.15 AM; 5:30 PM, recorded

November 9th, 2021: Post Your Problem, Comment on the Problem of Others, Revise Your Problem

November 10th, 2021: Live Session(s) – Mission Statement. Times: 11.15 AM; 5:30 PM, recorded

November 11th, 2021: Post Your Mission, Comment on the Mission of Others, Revise Your Mission

Schedule: Module 2 – Impact (from approximately November 12th to 13th, 2021)

November 12th, 2021: Live Session(s) – Outcomes. Times: 1 PM; 5:30 PM, recorded

November 13th, 2021: Post Your Outcomes, Comment on the Outcomes of Others, Revise Your Outcomes

Schedule: Module 3 – Delivery (from approximately November 14th to 15th, 2021)

November 14th, 2021: Live Session(s) – Activities & Outputs. Times: 1 PM; 5:30 PM, recorded

November 15th, 2021: Post Your Activities & Outputs, Comment on the Activities & Outputs of Others, Revise Your Activities & Outputs

Schedule: Module 4 – Requirements (from approximately November 16th to 18th, 2021)

November 16th, 2021: Live Session(s) – Assumptions & Inputs. Times: 12 PM; 5:30 PM, recorded

November 17th, 2021: Post Your Assumptions, Comment on the Assumptions of Others, Revise Your Assumptions

November 18th, 2021: Post Your Inputs, Comment on the Inputs of Others, Revise Your Inputs

Schedule: Module 5 – Logic Model (from approximately November 19th to 21st, 2021)

November 19th, 2021: Live Session(s) – Logic Models. Times: 1 PM; 5:30 PM, recorded

November 20th, 2021: Post Complete Theory of Change & Logic Model, Comment on the Logic Model of Others, Revise Your Logic Model

November 21st, 2021: Live Session(s) – Final Review. Times: 1 PM; 5:30 PM, recorded

New Church Ministry is a collaborator on this event.

$50 Amount is in Canadian Dollars

EDGE: A Network for Ministry Development

1-800-268-3781 x4157

https://edge-ucc.ca/contact/

Engage with love and justice

November 6, 2021 @ 6:30 pm 7:30 pm EDT

Join us for the Love and Justice Gathering this November!

Celebrate and ENGAGE Love and Justice Ministries of The United Church of Canada

The Church in Mission Unit invites you to celebrate and learn with us about the many love and justice ministries of our church. From November 3-7, the unit is hosting ENGAGE! an online love and justice gathering. Join us to worship, build community, and learn together. Throughout this five-day online event we will:

Engage deep spirituality

Engage daring justice

Engage courageous community

Engage bold discipleship

Engage hope

This will be an online event, and once you register, you’ll receive information about how to easily access our gathering. Tickets are free! We encourage you to make a donation if you are able.

We can’t wait to celebrate and recognize all that we do together as The United Church of Canada!

On day 4, Saturday, November 6, Pastor Terrell L McTyer will be exploring Bold Discipleship and asking such questions as, why is discipleship important and what is at stake? What could the future look like if we are bold disciples and engage in bold discipleship?

Contact edge@united-church.ca for further information and keep an eye on this page for future updates

*This event supports vaccine equity. COVID won’t be over until it’s over for all of us—and you can help that happen. Make a donation to bring much-needed support for people battling COVID in the global South.

EDGE: A Network for Ministry Development

1-800-268-3781 x4157

https://edge-ucc.ca/contact/

Water the Plants October Prayer Summit

October 30, 2021 @ 1:00 pm 3:00 pm EDT

Find fun, faith, and fellowship at October Summit

With our virtual Water the Plants Prayer Summits, New Church Ministry has the opportunity to hear from supporters of the new church movement.

Led by host and Associate Minister for New Church Strategies Joi Robinson, attendees pray alongside coaches, regional and general ministers, and members of congregations across the United States and Canada. These online gatherings include scripture showers, live musical performances, and testimony from various church planters about how prayer influenced the development of their emerging places of worship.

Registration is now available for the fall Prayer Summit.


Water the Plants is a church-wide initiative that aims to bring together 1,000 intercessors to pray for the leaders and congregations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada. The challenges of starting a church are unique. Prayer is a vital component in congregation and community development. 

This program gathers a team of dedicated supporters of new worship expressions every week to prioritize the spiritual discipline of prayer. Based on 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow,” we will take a proactive approach to “watering” DoC church “plants” with prayer (Living Water).

As part of their Covenant Agreement, intercessors are expected to:

  • embrace a lifestyle of prayer
  • regularly join a Water the Plants Prayer Group by phone for an 11-minute prayer led by a Prayer Leader
  • receive regular communication regarding additional prayer topics by email, text and/or social media
  • provide your mailing address to receive Prayerphenalia – one item of your choice that will remind you to pray (keychain or wristband).

To become an intercessor, please read and complete this form to confirm your interest or text water the plants to 97000.

To submit a prayer request, please fill out the form on this page.

Southwest region trip

October 25, 2021 @ 10:00 am October 29, 2021 @ 2:30 pm EDT

Pastor Terrell L McTyer (Minister of New Church Strategies) will be travelling for Connect Faith, an annual education conference and appointment-only trade show that brings together the most active planners, suppliers, and experts in faith-based meetings and events for three days of general sessions, roundtables, workshops, preset appointments and networking.

Connect

678-987-9900

https://www.connectmeetings.com

Kalahari Resorts

3001 Kalahari Blvd
Round Rock, Texas 78665 United States
+ Google Map
+1 877 525 2427
https://www.kalahariresorts.com/texas

A Dozen Hacks for Digital Disciple-Making

September 1, 2021 @ 3:00 pm 4:00 pm EDT

The rise of social media and digital platforms has opened up a whole new world of virtual discipleship possibilities. Because digital discipleship is still relatively new, you may find that you lack the necessary understanding to make disciples of Jesus Christ via virtual platforms effectively. This New Church Hacks episode will teach you how to develop in-demand digital media abilities that can be used for the glory of God: 

  • Make digital discipleship a central part of your church’s ministry approach
  • Provide principles and practical instruction no matter the size of your collective
  • Make the Gospel available electronically through emerging technologies
  • Leverage digital strategies to lead your participants into a deeper relationship with Christ
  • Fulfill the Great Commission using relevant, 21st Century tactics

The featured guests include Phiwa Langeni (Ambassador for Innovation & Engagement with the Center for Analytics, Research & Development, and Data (CARDD) in the United Church of Christ), Loren Baxter (Director of Technology Resources at Brite Divinity School), and Loren Richmond (pastor, podcaster, and social entrepreneur).


Hosted by Pastor Terrell L McTyer, Minister of New Church Strategies for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, 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!

A link to a recording of the webinar will be emailed to all registrants after the episode airs, regardless of attendance. You can also join us on our Facebook page to watch a live video of the webinar.

Understanding God and the church at the Water the Plants Prayer Summit

In her teaching on the spiritual discipline of prayer at the recent Water the Plants Prayer Summit, Rev. Dr. Martha Brown, a member of the Board of Directors for Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF), recounted the story of Jacob to both returning and first-time attendees of the Water the Plants initiative’s prayer-focused virtual event. As Rev. Dr. Martha told it, after stealing his brother’s birthright, this patriarch of the Israelites fled for the land of his mother’s brother, where he married and had children. For years, Jacob worked for his uncle, accumulating wealth and servants. Eventually, he decided to return home, sending his family, maids, and animals ahead of him. Along the way, Jacob found himself alone on the banks of the Jabbok, a tributary of the river Jordan. There he wrestled with a man until daybreak, when Jacob asked for a blessing, asked God for His name. This, Rev. Dr. Martha reminded those in attendance, was a moment of prayer.

“What we pray for shapes and expresses our understanding of who God is,” she explained. 

And it also reflects how the church sees itself and what it wants to be.

At the June Prayer Summit, a virtual event that convened supporters of emerging and affiliating congregations and their leaders, they prayed for the Office of the General Minister and President, general and regional ministries, church planters, and all the faithful connections across the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. At the surface level, these were simple prayers for leadership. But in them, coaches, prayer call leaders, chaplains, and others acknowledged the sin of racism, the calls for reparations, and the hope that building the beloved community brings. More than one participant viewed new places of worship as fresh expressions of this beloved community.

Pastor John Powell

“We pray Lord that you will help us understand that you didn’t come to Earth and walk this planet for those days to rebuild a past temple,” said Pastor John Powell, a member of DCEF’s Board of Directors, “but you came to make something new.” 

Alongside the passion for new church were calls for older congregations to follow the example being set by their younger counterparts, who, in the eyes of more than one regional new church team member at the gathering, are often creative and innovative in their approaches to serving their neighborhoods.

“Christians need fires lit underneath them,” enthused Ramona Crawford, a lay member of University Christian Church in San Diego, CA. “New church is the fire that Jesus is lighting under the established church.”

Rev. Dr. Joi Robinson

The summer Summit was the second such online event for New Church Ministry’s church-wide initiative, bringing together Disciples from Kansas, Washington, Florida, Arizona, Oregon, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and Minnesota. Like the inaugural event that took place on March 6, this Summit was hosted by Rev. Dr. Joi Robinson, Associate Minister of New Church Strategies, and included prayers for resources and relationships, testimony on the impact that prayer had on the development of a church plant, and a scripture shower. Unlike its predecessor, this event introduced a spoken word piece performed by Rev. Yvonne Gilmore, Interim Associate General Minister & Administrative Secretary of the National Convocation, called “Dangerously Reliable Tide.” In it, she echoed the feelings of those present, lamenting the limits of the church that she knows, but finding comfort and solace in prayer.

Rev. Yvonne Gilmore

“When you find yourself behind enemy lines

When trust is running away

When cumulus clouds look thirsty against the backdrop of a blues people

Water the plants

Access the portal within beyond the edge of yourself

Make dust speak

Post a help wanted sign in the window of your heart

Water outside the building

Saturate the soil

Practice talking to dry bones

Notice the budding before you

Delight in dialogue

Water the depths, pray without ceasing, you are inviting a dangerously reliable tide.”

Wesley King

How fitting then, that the Summit ended with the Lord’s Prayer (sung by Wesley King, New Church Ministry’s Program Coordinator), another reminder of the Christian faith’s humble origins, and of a yearning to connect with something larger than ourselves – and of our church.     

Register for New Church Ministry’s next Water the Plants Prayer Summit, which will take place on October 2 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM EST.

Pentecost Offering

May 23, 2021 @ 8:00 am 5:00 pm EDT

Be the New Church

For the past thirteen months, many Disciples have been struggling with social isolation. They’ve stayed away from their various places of worship to protect the health and safety of themselves and others. It has been difficult.

How have new church leaders responded? By launching communities of faith in creative and innovative ways.

It’s looked like spreading the word about the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada through Door Dash food deliveries, meeting with folks every week on Zoom to discuss anxiety, and making sure that the spiritual needs of those transitioning out of correctional facilities are met.

From hospital and prison chaplains to tri-vocational pastors, courageous new church leaders have answered the call to be the new church.

To support them and their efforts to continue the new church movement, please contribute to the 2021 Pentecost Offering, collected in most congregations on Sundays, May 16 and May 23. Each year, half of the gifts made go to your own Region to support local new church development. The other half goes to New Church Ministry, which trains, equips, assists, and multiplies new churches and their leaders. Through programs such as Leadership Academy, New Church Hacks, and Water the Plants, your gifts make a difference across the life of the Church. By participating in this Special Day Offering, you ensure the viability, vitality and sustainability of unique new church plants in your area and in states, provinces, and territories far away.

Please consider giving generously. Let’s all be the new church, together.

To access additional Pentecost Offering resources, including printable PDFs, videos, and graphics, visit the Disciples Mission Fund website.

Ekklesia

Finding a path to God with Ekklesia Global

Michelle Beech lives and works in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In her words, that’s not where she’s from, but that’s where God has her now.

Due to her father’s career as a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she’s lived all over the United States. So it’s fitting that her new community of faith, Ekklesia Global, has people joining their video calls from across the country and across the world. 

Michelle Beech (back row) visits a waterfall with members of her faith community.

Ekklesia launched in 2019, after Michelle had taken a break from church. Over the years she had filled almost every single position one could at a Disciples congregation and needed some time away. 

“I felt the Lord leading me to do something new,” Michelle says in a recent interview with New Church Ministry. “Was that digital church? But how do we use technology to create something beautiful, instead of trying to force what we know works in a building to fit the medium?”

So in March of that year, she hosted a listening retreat to hear what her friends’ spiritual needs were. It turns out that many of them had left church 30 to 40 years ago and others, five to ten years ago. Still others hadn’t found a place of worship that was right for them since moving to the area.

“Some people left church when they were young. They walked away from God and they haven’t been involved since,” Michelle tells us. “To some degree, they’re unchurched because they have that one early experience with their inherited faith, instead of their chosen faith.”

She led them through what she was thinking she wanted to do – to create an outreach ministry serving the new mission field of our own backyards – primarily for those who have left traditional church. After receiving feedback, Michelle came away with some helpful information. She then invited people interested in what she was doing to an Easter sunrise worship service, which was Ekklesia’s first official meeting. After that, they got together periodically and talked about God, read books, and learned about sacred dance. Because they didn’t have a fixed space, it freed them up to locate venues that would fit the particular service.

“We didn’t look at what we could do within the confines of four walls,” Michelle shares. “We are a church without walls.”

This structure made the transition to online gatherings easier for Ekklesia after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Participants meet on Zoom every week, where they bring the best of their own faith journeys. And yet Ekklesia is more than just a series of virtual gatherings. It’s an inclusive faith community, encouraging all to keep moving forward on their own path to God. Michelle believes that real spiritual growth happens in intimate settings, so Ekklesia is being developed as a collective of small groups.

“Some people like going into a new church that’s big, because they can disappear until they’re comfortable,” she says. “So this might be a little intimidating.”

Creating a safe space of radical hospitality has thus become an important aspect of Ekklesia for Michelle. She avoids using vocabulary that would alienate the de-churched and eschews membership. 

“We don’t teach a particular theology,” she adds. “We inspire people to keep exploring and discovering by exposing them to different theologies.”

To that end, Ekklesia features guest speakers such as the Rev. Hannah Fitch, a member of its theology team, who introduced participants to ecofeminist theology, and Rev. Ronnie C. Lister, a founder of The International Center for Labor, Social and Spiritual Activism, who discussed Black liberation theology the Sunday before Martin Luther King Day.

For Michelle, Ekklesia is about getting people to the Table.

“I’m not looking to convert anybody, but if I had a Muslim friend come be part of these conversations around faith, he could hear why Jesus works for me, and I could hear why his faith has led him down this path and kept him close to God,” she emphasizes. “Without the conversation, neither of us ever get there.”

Michelle adds that she’s under care of the North Carolina region and working toward being commissioned. Ordination may come down the road, but that’s not where she feels she’s being led. Michelle refers to herself as a shepherd, one who makes sure Ekklesia’s conversations stick to its tenets of loving unconditionally, celebrating differences, seeking joy, and being a catalyst for positive change.

That’s not to say that she doesn’t take her leadership role seriously. Last year, Michelle and her team attended Leadership Academy, an annual event hosted by New Church Ministry that empowers leaders, regardless of their denominational affiliation.

When we ask her what to expect at an Ekklesia meeting, she holds up a neon green notebook. Michelle explains that every new participant receives one, even if journaling isn’t their thing, because she wants to at least provide them with a resource, a holding place for their thoughts and feelings that they can turn to at another time. As she describes it, journaling can be a way to meditate – after all, the simple act of writing something with a pen and paper requires time and attention. 

“If nothing else, you’ll see it,” Michelle chuckles, “and be reminded of the circle of people who love you.”

Other than a brightly colored notebook, participants in an Ekklesia meeting can also anticipate thought-provoking discussions shaped and formed by other attendees. After her friend and chairman of the board, who left the Catholic Church when he was 13 years old, came to her asking about her thoughts on original sin, she decided to do a series on “big God questions.” Michelle admits that she began to interrogate what she was taught, where her beliefs came from, and if she still held them today. 

“I really started thinking harder about my answers,” she recalls. “And in doing that, I was then excited to share the Bible with the group because it’s been a wonderful source of inspiration, hope, and wisdom that I put on a pedestal.”

Michelle is careful to point out that she doesn’t bring in the Bible to teach others her way of practicing her faith, but to inform their own personal faith journeys. She knows that others have different interpretations of Scripture and all she can do is share what works for her and why.

“So they get a ton of my Jesus stories,” Michelle laughs, “and a ton of my Holy Spirit stories!”

Over the past couple years, she says that she’s learned to step back and be more sensitive and unassuming as she’s gotten Ekklesia off of the ground. Michelle advises other church planters to trust the spirit and allow themselves to be open so that God can work through them.

“Let me tell you, if I had done what I thought needed to be done,” she jokes, “I probably would have pushed some of these people away!”

While 80% to 90% of Ekklesia’s participants identify as Christian, others see themselves as spiritual instead. It’s not that they’ve abandoned Jesus Christ’s teachings, Michelle clarifies, they just got frustrated with the people and the politics and decided to walk away from organized religion.

“They still love God and believe in Jesus,” she says. “They think we could easily build the kingdom on earth, if we would all just do our part.”

When we ask Michelle how Disciples can do their part to support new faith communities like Ekklesia, she encourages them to contribute to the Pentecost Offering, which divides gifts between the Regions and New Church Ministry. New Church Ministry uses gifts from this Special Day Offering to develop and maintain programs such as coaching and New Church Hacks

“New Church Ministry’s resources and training help Disciples develop new ideas on how to do church,” she summarizes. “The biggest leap I made was the day I realized that just because I wasn’t specifically teaching a certain way, didn’t mean that I wasn’t doing important work to fulfill the Great Commission of making disciples.”

The Pentecost Offering is collected in most congregations on May 16 and May 23.