New Churches


Starting new churches is one of the key ways we reach new people of all ages and life circumstance and connect them with the body of Christ. The Minnesota Conference’s Office of Congregational Development is currently supporting 12 new faith communities. New faith communities must be context-specific growth benchmarks in order to receive continued funding, and the goal is for each of them to become self-sustaining.

Here’s a look at the three stages of a new faith community’s life cycle and where each of the projects is now:

 

 

Feasibility

Years: 1-2

Description: Demonstrates potential for ministry; is a promising forum for United Methodist work and witness

Milestone during stage: Public worship

New faith communities in this stage:


Viability

Years: 2-5

Description: Gaining traction and momentum; has evidence of indigenous energy and engagement beyond denominational leadership and resources

Milestone during stage: Incorporation

New faith communities in this stage:


Sustainability

Years: 5-7

Description: Has demonstrated signs of self-sufficiency; ministry model is capable of long-term, independent functioning beyond grant cycle

Milestone during stage: Chartering

New faith communities in this stage:


New Church Models

There are many types of new church starts. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Chartered church: A church that is launched to reach a new geographic-, demographic-, or lifestyle-based group and is led by appointed clergy; churches become chartered when they reach 125 in worship and demonstrate sustainability.
  • Partnered congregation: A church that focuses on reaching an underserved and/or economically challenged population group and receives ongoing support from outside of the people it serves—often from another “partner” church.
  • Restart: A previously chartered church that goes through an intentional rebirth by ceasing regular worship and programming and starting over in an effort to reach a new group; typically, the process involves relocating, renaming, and welcoming a new leader.
  • Fellowship: A United Methodist group with a spiritual leader who may be clergy or lay; fellowships are on track to become self-supporting as unchartered churches, although some seek a charter later in their life cycle.

Church Planter Discernment Retreats

Each year, the Minnesota Conference hosts a discernment retreat for clergy and laity who have gifts for and/or interest in church planting. The idea is to help people discern whether they are called to help plant new churches while cultivating a pool of well-equipped leaders prepared to reach people in new mission fields across the state. If you’re interested in learning more or attending the next retreat, e-mail Congregational Development Associate Gail Johnson.


Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

info@minnesotaumc.org

(612) 870-0058