church the new way

Training for the Future

New Church Ministry gathers Disciples every fall to share leadership experiences, wisdom, and training at Leadership Academy (LA).

Usually, it takes place in Indianapolis, IN, but due to public health concerns, this year’s Academy was hosted on Zoom, with resources available on Teachable.

And that’s not all that was new for 2020.

LA was held from Tuesday, September 29 to Thursday, October 1, reducing the length of the event from five days to three.

In addition, group registration was introduced, allowing core teams to register. After all, church planting is a team sport, and all the players should get training. This enabled a record number of 83 registrants!

To accommodate such a large number of people, various breakout rooms were provided on Wednesday and Thursday morning, giving participants an opportunity to network in rooms for prayer, self-care, revitalization, and more.

Also new to the Academy was improving accessibility for non-English speakers, with Spanish translations provided by Rev. Selena Reyes, Pastor of Nueva Comunidad Christian Church and Korean translations provided by Rev. Young Lan Kim, Associate Regional Minister of the Pacific Southwest Region, as well as breakout rooms for members of North American Pacific/Asian Disciples (NAPAD) and Obra Hispana.

As for workshop content, New Church Ministry worked to address the latest drastic shifts in the Church in an effort to remain relevant and resourceful. This was evident in workshops such as “The Church After COVID: Four Crucial Pathways of Belonging for An Anxious Culture,” where author Tim Soerens explored alternatives to anxiety and pathways of possibility during this pivotal moment for the Church, and in “Fundraising 2.0,” where spiritual entrepreneur Carla Leon of the United Church of Canada covered ten ways of generating revenue in light of new giving patterns presented by Millennials and the Z Generation.

Tim and Carla were joined by other new guest speakers, including Rick Reisinger (DCEF President), Cynthia Newman (minister, investment principal, and co-owner of the Newman Group), Rev. Dr. Delesslyn Kennebrew (Regional Minister for Ministry Innovation in the Greater Kansas City Region), DeAmon Harges (founder of The Learning Tree), Rev. Dr. Ken Crawford (Transformation Pastor at Central Christian Church in Dallas), Rev. Lee Ivey (Disciples Minister and therapist at the CTS Counseling Center), Natalie Teague (Disciples Immigration Legal Counsel), Lisa Pilat (Church Manager and Bookkeeper), and Christiana Rice (Director at The Parish Collective).

Supplementing these voices with their art were Pastor YaNi Davis, who delivered two spoken word performances, and Rev. Chantilly Mers, who sang as she played her guitar.

While various aspects of New Church Ministry’s first virtual Leadership Academy were new, participants were still able to engage in what made events of years past work so well.

For example, both pre- and post-launch cohorts were empowered by track sessions tailored to their experiences. Participants learned from thought leaders in joint plenary sessions called DOCTalks. LEADLabs (Learn.Explore.Actuate.Discover.Laboratories) helped leaders imagine, ideate, and implement missional and sustainable concepts through interactive, practical trainings.

Previous guest speakers made an appearance, too. Fr. Lorenzo Lebrija, the founding director of the TryTank Experimental Lab for church growth and innovation at the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, returned with his workshop on idea formulation and Nadine Compton delivered another workshop on brand building. Terri Hord Owens closed out the third and final day with a Commissioning Service as she did last year, where she delivered a sermon.

In a meld of new and old, Terrell McTyer facilitated TechSoup, and a DOCTalk on Facebook Live featured Loren Richmond (pastor, entrepreneur, and disruptor), Lashaundra McCarty (owner of 3 C: Creative Communications & Consulting), and Katy Valentine (coach at and founder of the Creative Christian Spirituality, LLC), where they shared their 12 hacks for transforming a collective’s technology. Attendees were able to submit their questions in the Zoom meeting’s chat, or by leaving a comment on Facebook Live video. Both of these features enabled the plenary guests to answer in real time and reach participants far beyond Leadership Academy. 

With dozens of participants and speakers as well as multiple platforms to juggle over the course of three days, Laura Ginn, New Church Ministry’s Services Support Assistant who coordinated logistics for the whole event, was witness to many of the conversations and transformative moments that took place. For her, New Church Ministry’s first virtual Leadership Academy

“allowed for a new approach of team and New Church Movement training to happen along with having people from coast to coast learn to grow new churches virtually and adapt in the age of COVID.”

In other words, this year’s Leadership Academy prepared its participants for Church, the new way.

church the new way

Join us for our annual leadership event

The novel coronavirus has caused us to do church in a new way.

And that’s why New Church Ministry is doing Leadership Academy in a new way as well.

This year, core teams of up to five people can register for the low price of USD $500. Now each member of your team, from your treasurer to your worship leader, can benefit from our workshops. We encourage the lead pastor to register for everyone. If the pastor can’t attend, then others can attend.

New to the annual event will also be accommodations for Spanish speakers. If other languages are needed, please advise accordingly as soon as possible.

Disciples from throughout the United States and Canada can still expect to be brought together to share leadership experiences, wisdom, and training.

The track sessions will include:

  1. the Start Track, which is designed to empower leaders whose church/projects have not yet launched, and
  2. the Sustain Track, which is geared to empower leaders whose projects have recently launched and leaders of congregations newly affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Leadership Academy 2020 also features DOCTalks, joint sessions that address missional transformation inclusive of every stage of leadership and congregational vitality, and LEADLabs, interactive, practical trainings designed to help leaders imagine, ideate, innovate, and implement missional concepts.

The 2020 Leadership Academy will be held online from Tuesday, September 29 to Thursday, October 1 (11:00 AM EST to 6:00 PM EST).

Our featured speakers include:

Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens is the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Rev. Hord Owens is the first woman of color to head a mainline Christian denomination in North America. Terri is widely sought after as a preacher, speaker and workshop facilitator. Her ministry and intellectual interests include cultural intelligence, and developing inclusive and multicultural congregations.

Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija is the Founding Director of TryTank, an experimental laboratory for church growth and innovation. He is responsible for the entire process of development and implementation of experiments in innovation for the church. Fr. Lorenzo frequently speaks to groups on the topics of development, community involvement, the arts, business strategy and marketing.

Christiana Rice is an on the ground practitioner and visionary voice in the Parish Church movement, serving as a Director of the Parish Collective. She is a trainer, writer and convener, helping to reorganize the church around God’s dreams in the neighborhood. Christiana is co-author of To Alter Your World: Partnering with God to Rebirth Our Communities with Michael Frost, and lives in San Diego with her husband Derek, their two daughters, and their neighborhood church community.

Tim Soerens is a pastor, social entrepreneur, and co-founding director of the Parish Collective. He is the author of the newly released book, Everywhere You Look: Discovering the Church, Right Where You Are, and the co-author of The New Parish. He’s also the co-founder of Resistencia Coffee, a neighborhood coffee shop and the South Park Idea Lab. He lives in Seattle with his wife Maria-Jose and their two boys.

Registration is now closed.

Courageous Faith Summit

March 9, 2020 @ 10:00 am March 20, 2020 @ 5:00 pm EDT

Through interviews with influential North American faith leaders in activist-oriented congregations, the Courageous Faith Summit equips virtual leaders with the audacity, connections, and practical advice to be active leaders in an emerging movement for change.


University Christian Church

New Church Hacks second season

New Church Hacks is back!

After taking a break for the fall, New Church Hacks returns for its second season. Hosted by Pastor Terrell L. McTyer, Minister of New Church Strategies, New Church Ministry’s webinar series provides practical (and sometimes peculiar) prompts for churches from start to restart. Why only do something new or better when you can do both?!

New Church Hacks 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.

Step up your leadership game as the New Year kicks off

Our very first episode of Season 2, “Upgrade Your Leadership for the New Year,” will take place on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern.

What are the marks of a good leader? Anyone can delegate tasks, but is there more to effective leadership than that? Are the people around you growing, becoming better leaders themselves, and staying motivated? Though various leadership styles can be used at different times to build and manage an active ministry, these hacks should be universal in each and every leader:

  • Learn how to positively impact the success of your team, your organization, and yourself
  • Better understand your own motivations, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Develop skills for facilitating open communication and encouragement with others around you

The featured guests are Bob Whitesel (Writer, Consultant, Coach and Speaker at and Jason Tucker (Lead Pastor of Tower Hill Church and host of podcast). Stay tuned for any future featured guests that may be added!

The episode will be recorded and emailed to all registrants, so even if you can’t attend, make sure you register. And if you can’t make it, you can always stay up to date on social media with #NewChurchHacks! (Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.) The episode will also be made available on our website.