Growing congregational vitality through Reach • Renew • Rejoice

March 12, 2014

A special message from Director of Ministries Cindy Gregorson

Increasing the number of vital congregations is the focus of the Minnesota Annual Conference. Two paths we use to accomplish that goal are starting new churches and renewing existing congregations to reach new people, new generations, and new populations groups and connect them to Christ so that together we can transform the world.

Funding for this work is critical, and the needs outpace the apportioned budget and accrued legacy gifts. So in their joint January meeting and after receiving the results of a feasibility study conducted by consultant Tyler Associates, the Common Table, Congregational Development Ministry Team, and Council of Finance of Administration authorized a spiritual and financial initiative to fund a seven-year plan for congregational development.

We are calling the initiative Reach • Renew • Rejoice, which speaks to what we are all about: reaching new people, renewing the church, and rejoicing in what God can and will do through us. An on-site project manager, Karen Evenson, has been hired and has begun her work. She will manage the day-to-day logistics of the initiative. Meanwhile, Rev. Dan Johnson will serve as the director of the initiative through his role as Minnesota Conference director of congregational development. Rev. Johnson will be supported and directed in this work by Tyler Associates, which we have contracted to implement the initiative.

Ongoing congregational development work during the 15- to 18-month season for the Reach • Renew • Rejoice initiative will be supplemented with temporary contracted specialists who will provide leadership in the areas of the Healthy Church Initiative, new church strategies, and church planting coaching and training. As we seek to raise funds, we are committed to furthering the momentum we have already generated for congregational development. God has provided some gifted leaders in our midst who are willing to share their time and talents to help us in all aspects of Reach • Renew • Rejoice as well as in our congregational development work.

All clergy and spouses recently received an invitation to a reception about the Reach • Renew • Rejoice initiative. We look forward to sharing the exciting things we believe God is calling us to as people of the Minnesota Annual Conference. This reception is a time to come and enjoy fellowship with your colleagues and to listen to the vision shared by our bishop and other leaders.

The Reach • Renew • Rejoice initiative will be formally launched at the annual conference session in May.

If you have questions about Reach • Renew • Rejoice, e-mail, and Karen Evenson will either respond or direct your question to the appropriate person. Thank you for your prayers and participation as we seek to listen to God’s call and follow God’s heart to reach all people with the transforming love of Christ.

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058