The work of the Congregational Development is not just starting new churches. It is about helping the church do new things in new ways to reach new people. To do this, we PREPARE people, CULTIVATE places, ALIGN resources for the work of seeing new things! If you would like to see our strategic plan through 2024.
Starting new churches, faith communities, ministries, or any other new thing require leaders that are specially trained, assessed, and supported. From training laity to equipping clergy, PREPARING people is the foundation of starting new things.
The most important work for church planting and growing our existing churches begins with people. Pastors and laity that are trained, prepared and supported in their ministry can change their churches, communities, and world.
By 2024 the Annual Conference will:
Train 75 pastoral leaders in church planning and congregational vitality through the Church Planting Academy. The Academy accepts applications each fall and begins its year-long work in January and concludes in November with each participant completing a ministry action plan and a full assessment of their readiness for the challenging to work of planting and growing churches.
Train 250 lay persons for the church planting and congregational vitality through the Apostello Academy. Apostello (beginning in 2020) will equip and empower lay persons to become more effective and pioneering leaders in their own local setting by developing a commitment for discipleship and an apostolic vision of the church.
The work of starting new things in a local church requires creativity and vision for ministry at a whole new level. Whether you are considering a call to plant a new church or want to discover how to start a new church right where you are, the Committee on New & Vital Congregations (CNVC) wants to be your partner in your personal and spiritual growth.
The CNVC has a year-long learning cohort that will begin January of 2020 and conclude just before Advent. The Academy is an intentional community of potential church planters who experience a CULTURE of worship, multiplication and accountability in a COHORT over the course of one year as they develop MINISTRY ACTION PLANS for reaching new people in new & existing places. You will be required to participate in a monthly zoom meeting with reading assignments and a couple of face to face retreats.
The application is available now and the deadline for submissions is November 1. The Bishop and Appointive Cabinet will review the applications and select the cohort group. The cost of the Academy is fully funded by the CNVC. If you want to explore God’s call for starting something new, join us for our academy. If you have more questions about the academy, please contact Rev. Craig Brown, Executive Director of Congregational Development. (916) 374-1532, firstname.lastname@example.org
Healthy existing local churches are the best place to launch something new. The work of fostering dynamic growing congregations is about helping each local church get better at making disciples. CULTIVATING places to reach new people is the heart starting something new.
The best opportunities to start new ministries or faith communities is through existing local churches. Those churches have to be healthy enough to sustain a vision for reaching new people and are ready to make an investment in growing their churches.
View promotional video for Growing Young Cohort
Discovering your church's ministry opportunities has never been easier. MissionInsite provides instant access to community information for your church via The MI System. Get desktop, web-based access to demographic data for a variety of geographic levels. As part of the California-Nevada Conference you have free, unlimited access to MissionInsite.
The MI System provides you with a new way to access demographic information. It moves beyond the static reports you order to a powerful "discovery tool" for exploration and "out of the box" thinking for church ministry, church planting, church growth and outreach.
The system also provides the ability for local churches to locate their church members and others affiliated with their church on your map. This is referred to as Congregant Plot. So, while there are a few things you need to learn, the system is designed to be user friendly and provides you with additional services not available from other systems. Have fun exploring your mission context and remember there is no possibility of accidentally harming the system or data.
Registering for the First Time
- Go to: https://accounts.missioninsite.com/Registration
- Enter the Agency Account Number: 3f81x and click SUBMIT.
- Select your city (your organization will auto-fill)
- Under Login Setup, enter your email and confirm your password. Alternatively, you may login with your credentials from external providers such as Google, Microsoft, or Amazon.
- Under General Information, enter your first name, last name and role/position.
- Check the radio button labeled "Accept Terms".
- (optional) Check the radio button to opt-out of receive email correspondence about system enhancements and special feature opportunities.
- Click Register.
- If successful, you will immediately receive a notification stating "Registration Complete" and
- Check your email for a "Confirm Your Email" notification. You will need to confirm your email address and activate your account.
- Once confirmed, you will immediately receive another notification stating the following:
An Agency Administrator will need to approve your account. MissionInsite does not control this process and are unable to provide status information or timing about when or if an account is approved. Once approved or denied, you will be notified by email.
- Once authorized, you will be notified and be able to begin using the MI System!
Should you need any assistance, please email email@example.com.
Time, money, people, facilities are all needed to launch something new. Getting all of these to work together in harmony will support the work of starting something new. ALIGNING resources fuels the work of reach new people.
The work of church planting is expensive work. According to a study in 2014, the average church requires nearly $500,000 of support and five years to become sustaining. Like many denominations in decline, the United Methodist Church must make strategic choices about how it uses its assets both financially as well as with real estate. However, our most important resource are our people. How can we help churches and the people in them see a new vision for their future.
The Legacy Project is an effort to come alongside churches in decline and invite them into a new future. That future will likely require setting aside their own preferences and traditions. Yet that future can build upon a church’s foundation for a new season of ministry.
More News Coming Soon
This strategic group focuses its work on supporting all of the efforts of congregational development. Members of the Committee are essential in helping shape the direction of starting new things across the entire region of Northern California and Northern Nevada.
Committee on New and Vital Congregations
The primary function of the Congregational Development area of mission focus is to lead by supporting and assisting in the development of new and vital faith communities. a. Conference Committee on New and Vital Congregations
Purpose: To support and resource the efforts of the Annual Conference for creating new faith communities and encouraging vitality in existing congregations and communities of faith and provides the required linkages to the General Board of Discipleship.
Membership: The committee has fifteen (15) members: four (4) officers, six (6) at-large members, five (5) district representatives and any conference members who are serving as board members of the General Board of Discipleship.
Want to serve on the Committee on New and Vital Congregations, Apply Here.
Find the latest events which are PREPARING people, CULTIVATING places, and ALIGNING resources.
Reach out to our office to learn or know more about the work of congregational development.
Rev. Craig S. Brown
Rev. Craig S. Brown currently serves as the Executive Director of Congregational Development. The role of the Executive Director of Congregational Development is to lead the conference in intentional church planting, building on the good work that has been done in the past in this priority area. The Executive Director of Congregational Development will partner with the bishop, the appointive and extended cabinets and the Conference Committee on New and Vital Congregations in a team effort to help our conference contribute in significant ways to the growth of the church and the welcoming of the reign of God.
Rev. Brown recently served as the Lead Pastor of First UMC in San Diego, Calif. Prior to serving First UMC, San Diego, Rev. Brown served as the senior pastor of the Shepherd of the Hills UMC in Mission Viejo, Calif. from 2005 to 2013, the senior pastor of the UMC of Thousand Oaks, Calif. from 1999 to 2005, the associate pastor of Palisades UMC in Capistrano Beach, Calif. from 1994 to 1999, the director of youth and children’s ministries at Covina UMC in Covina, Calif. from 1991 to 1994, and the director of youth ministries at La Palma UMC in La Palma, Calif. from 1987 to 1991.
He has extensive background and training in congregational development, leadership development and multi-site church ministry. Craig has successfully led all three churches where he has served as senior pastor to increased growth across every metric. He has led two separate congregations (one in Orange County and the other in San Diego) into multi-site ministries.
Rev. Brown is a recognized leader in our denomination serving on the Steering Committee for the UMC Large Church Initiative, currently serving as its chairperson. He is a trustee for the Claremont School of Theology and is the chairperson of the seminary advisory board for Seattle Pacific Seminary.
Rev. Brown earned a B.A. degree in Biblical Studies and Theology from Biola University and an M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry at Boston University with expected completion in 2020.
Craig is married to Bettina. Bettina works as a CPA and tax manager in the area of community bank taxation. They are the parents of two adult children, David, 22, and Rachel, 19. David is graduating from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in electrical engineering and about to enter the Navy as a nuclear power engineer. Rachel is finishing her first year of community college and transferring to American University to pursue a degree in political science.