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WORKSHOP RESOURCES

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Congregations were encouraged to bring a team (or multiple teams) and send groups of two or more to Core Sessions and Lunch and Learn Discussions, so that your team can create ministry action plans that combine your congregation’s strengths and passion with ideas you receive at the GROW BY ONE SUMMIT to connect to your mission field.

Many of the workshops had Handouts or Slides, and the Center for Technology also filmed a few select workshops.  Click below for details.


Core Sessions

Core Sessions were 80 minute workshops designed to inform, encourage, and equip congregational leaders and ministry teams to grow by at least one in worship, small group discipleship, outreach ministries, and/or professions of faith.

Congregational Teams are encouraged to begin planning ministry using a Core Session Action Plan

A. Getting Comfortable with Professing Faith • Bishop Gary Mueller

Professing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is the heart of the Christian faith, as well as the foundation of living as his disciple. However, it also makes many United Methodist Christians uncomfortable. This session will provides strategies for getting comfortable with professing faith and helping others to do so as well.

Bishop Gary E. Mueller was elected an episcopal leader of the United Methodist Church in 2012, and is assigned to lead the Arkansas Area. Bishop Mueller’s passion is leading spiritual revival that results in vital congregations that make disciples of Jesus Christ, who then make disciples equipped to transform lives, communities and the world.  See the Bishop’s Mission Plan.


B. Building a Bridge Event • Kay Kotan, Congregational Coach, Missouri Conference

One of the disciplines of a disciple of Jesus Christ is to establish relationships with people we do not know — the unconnected — therefore becoming missionaries. This can be done through relationship-building events designed to draw people from your community into relationships with people from your church. We call these events bridge events.

Kay Kotan is a dedicated UM layperson.  She serves on the Faculty of Coaching4Clergy, is a Certified Path One Coach for the UMC, and a is member of the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) Executive Team for the Missouri Conference UMC. She is the co-author of Get Their Name – Grow Your Church by Forming New Relationships, Renovate or Die – Ten Ways to Focus Your Church on Mission and Strategic Ministry Planning, 10 Prescriptions for a Healthy Church, and The Necessary Nine: Things Effective Pastors Do Differently.


C. Hosting Support Groups and Recovery Ministries • Maxine Allen

Recovery ministry as a pathway for community and discipleship. As Assistant Director of Mission and Ministry for Mission Field Engagement, the Rev. Maxine Allen focuses on establishing ethnic congregations, New Church Starts; and Ministry to the “Nones”. A key element of this office is to guide churches in aligning their ministries with several steps of the Bishop’s Mission Plan.

D. Yes we CAN! Forming a Worship Design Team • Dawn Chesser, Discipleship Ministries

In this session we will learn basic strategies for moving to a worship design team approach to worship planning. Dawn Chesser will introduce the basic components of the worship design model, share personal learnings from working with this model for many years, and provide basic resources for helping you to move your worship to the next level no matter what the style, context, or size of the congregation. An ordained elder in the Holston Conference,  the Rev. Dr. Dawn Chesser is the Director of Preaching Ministries at Discipleship Ministries, the GBOD. An Arkansas native, Dr. Chesser has also served as chaplain at Hiwassee College and pastor of the college chapel, Buckner Memorial United Methodist Church in Madisonville, Tenn.

E. Middle School Ministry: Bridging the Gap • Rod Hocott

Middle School ministry, for the most part, is undervalued. Not on purpose, but because most churches are trying so hard to maintain older students, younger students often fall through the cracks. When this happens the supply of youth soon dwindles to a small few. This makes “making disciples” more difficult due to lack of students to disciple. In this workshop we will discuss the basics of youth ministry in general and Middle School ministry specifically; transition from children’s ministry to youth ministry; the importance of volunteers and parents; programming; communication; and leadership development. These are not new ideas, but put in the context of Middle School ministry, they take on a whole new perspective. Rod Hocott is Director of MidYouth Ministries at Conway FUMC 

F. Building a Discipling Ministry • Michelle Kirby, UM Church of the Resurrection, KS

We were commanded by Jesus to make new disciples and to make better disciples. In this workshop we will discuss how to create a disciple making culture and pathway for your congregation. Learn how to identify and invest in leaders, and how to launch and sustain the ministry.

Michelle Kirby is Associate Director of Discipleship at the UM Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS, and coauthor of the Journey 101 Series.  She teaches and/or oversees the Journey 101, Alpha, Destination Resurrection, TBS (Tuesday Bible Study), classes and gives support to Men’s Ministry. 


G. Not Safe for Church: Ten Commandments for Reaching New Generations • Jasmine Smothers, Associate Director of Connectional Ministries, North Georgia Conference

Congregations say they want to reach new and younger people, many of whom are simply turned off by church. The big idea is that congregations must be willing to embrace radical ways to connect with new generations. Re-thinking old assumptions is a starting place but more is needed. To really connect congregations have to move beyond and start doing new things that are out of their comfort zones.  Rev Jasmine Smothers will share ways to help you move from just saying what you intend to actually doing it.  Consider new tools to re-frame the Good News in non-traditional ways.

smothers-jasmine-150 Rev. Jasmine Smothers is the Associate Director of Connectional Ministries for Ministry Teams for the North Georgia Conference of the UMC. Jasmine’s main priority is church consultation through leadership and visioning training, particularly through the Next Faithful Steps Initiative.  Her position also helps congregations start new ministries; supports congregational development for black churches and multiethnic congregations; provides training for cross-racial, cross-cultural and intercultural competent ministry.  Rev. Smothers is co-author of Not Safe for Church: Ten Commandments for Reaching New Generations.


H. Being Good Neighbors: Serving Schools • Trinity UMC School Partnership Panel

Who are our neighbors?  Many of our churches are located near schools full of children, teachers, administrators and folks who need support and love, to know that God loves them through the work of our hands.  How can we partner with them?  What needs do schools have?  What does a partnership look like?  Who are other potential partners in the community? Join us for a lively discussion and tips about school partnerships!  School Partnership Ministry Panel includes:


I. Small Group Discipleship Through the Wesleyan Class Meeting • Andrew Thompson, ARUMC Wesley Scholar

One of the primary foundation stones for the early Methodist movement under John Wesley’s leadership was the class meeting. Originally intended as a small group of around 12 people that met weekly, the class meeting served as an important means of grace to the early Methodists. It was the usual point of entry for new Methodist folk joining the movement, and it was the primary vehicle for ongoing growth in Christian discipleship thereafter. Moreover, the model of small group represented by the class meeting is more than just a historical artifact. It can also serve as the basis for vital small group spiritual formation in the contemporary church. Join this Core Session to learn both the history and the contemporary relevance of the class meeting-based small group model. The Rev. Dr. Andrew C. Thompson, the Arkansas Conference Wesley Scholar, serves as the senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Springdale, Arkansas. Previously he taught for four years on the faculty of Memphis Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee. Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College and a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University. He also earned a Doctor of Theology degree from Duke University, where he studied the thought of John Wesley and the history of the early Methodist movement. Most recently, Andrew is the author of The Means of Grace, a book about spiritual practices and discipleship in the context of Christian community.


Lunch & Learn Discussions

Lunch & Learn Discussions were informal 45 minutes sessions designed to offer an environment for peer-to-peer learning.

1. Keeping Preaching Fresh • Dawn Chesser, Discipleship Ministries

Dr. Chesser wil lead a conversation on tips for staying fresh, creative and motivated for preaching week-to-week.

An ordained elder in the Holston Conference,  the Rev. Dr. Dawn Chesser is the Director of Preaching Ministries at Discipleship Ministries, the GBOD. An Arkansas native, Dr. Chesser has also served as chaplain at Hiwassee College and pastor of the college chapel, Buckner Memorial United Methodist Church in Madisonville, Tenn.


2. The Alpha Course • Michelle Kirby, UM Church of the Resurrection, KS

Over 27M people worldwide have taken the Alpha course and either given or recommitted their lives to Christ. Alpha is a 10-week session exploring the basics of the Christian faith in an open, informal and honest space where guests can discuss life’s big questions together. Learn how to run this highly effective evangelism tool in your community.

Michelle Kirby is Associate Director of Discipleship at the UM Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS, and coauthor of the Journey 101 Series.  She teaches and/or oversees the Journey 101, Alpha, Destination Resurrection, TBS (Tuesday Bible Study), classes and gives support to Men’s Ministry.


3. Social Media for Ministry • Jasmine Smothers, Associate Director of Connectional Ministries, North Georgia Conference

Learn how you and your congregation can use 21st Century digital tools to create community and witness to the love of Christ.

Rev. Jasmine Smothers is the Associate Director of Connectional Ministries for Ministry Teams for the North Georgia Conference of the UMC. Jasmine’s main priority is church consultation through leadership and visioning training, particularly through the Next Faithful Steps Initiative.  Her position also helps congregations start new ministries; supports congregational development for black churches and multiethnic congregations; provides training for cross-racial, cross-cultural and intercultural competent ministry.


4. Bread of Life Mobile Food Pantry: Creating Partnerships & Service Opportunities in Christ • ASU Wesley Foundation & Harrisburg FUMC

Are you looking for new and innovative ways to engage the community and region surrounding your local church or ministry? Do you wish to partner with other extension ministries and churches in ministry, sharing vision, cause, and resources? Join Rev. Clark Atkins and Rev. Samantha Meadors as they describe the Bread of Life Mobile Food Pantry initiative that is reaching two-year college students in northeast Arkansas, has created new partnerships and collaborations between several local churches and the two-year colleges being served, and has provided an outlet for service for young people desiring to be the hands and feet of Christ.

Rev. Clark Atkins is pastor at FUMC Harrisburg and Rev. Samantha Meadors is the ASU Wesley Foundation Director.  Learn more at arumc.org and at astatewesley.com.


5. Small Town Youth Ministry • Brookland UMC

Small Town Youth Ministry Rev. Joe Kaiser is pastor of Brookland UMC.

6. New Places & New Faces: Beer & Hymns • Canvas Community UMC

Beer & Hymns is an off-site experimental ministry of Canvas Community. It delivers just what the title says: beer (purchased on location by the individuals who wish to drink it) and hymns (from the United Methodist Hymnal and usually accompanied by guitar). There’s also a prayer or two, and opportunities for fellowship throughout. Lay member Amy Forbus and senior pastor Rev. Carter Ferguson lead this new ministry of Canvas Community UMC.

7. Starting a Hispanic Ministry • Dardanelle UMC

Hispanic/Latino Congregational Partnerships

Rev. Jim Benfer is pastor of Dardanelle FUMC, and Vitalino Méndez is Associate Pastor.


8. From Backpacks to Baptisms • Dover UMC

Learn about ways to connect with families in your mission field.  Dover UMC connected with children through a summer feeding program, which has lead to the growth of their after-school program from 5 children to over 50 children.  Learn how one small church is going over and above giving handouts by creating relationships with families and offering them Christ.  Come hear how God began a work in a small church to transform backpacks into baptisms. Rev. Roy Beth Kelly is the pastor of Dover UMC.

9. A Church Revitalized • Gurdon UMC

The Rev. Travis Langley says he was told up front that his new appointment was to a “dying church.” At Gurdon United Methodist in Arkansas, Langley found declining attendance, no Sunday school, and a church van that had not been driven in years. But he also found a congregation hungry for change and willing to do the work. Volunteers began bringing multiple van loads of children to Sunday school and their families soon followed and joined the church. Longtime members say the church feels “alive again.” One member remarked that she used to think revival was three days with a visiting preacher. Now she knows revival comes from within. Rev. Travis Langley is pastor of Gurdon UMC.  the story of their revitalization has been shared by the ARUMC and UMCOM in A New Day for a Dying Church

10. Offering a Hand-Up Rather Than a Hand-Out: A New Kind of Food Ministry • FUMC Little Rock

Come learn about two innovative ministries to fight food insecurity.

  • FANN (Friends And Neighbor Network) is the community food program at FUMC-LR.  It meets twice a month to offer fresh produce and nutritious foods to low income families.  At the heart of FANN is community.  It is a dignified, community building program that encourages families to help each other.
  • COOKING MATTERS is a course designed to empower families at risk of hunger with the skills, knowledge and confidence to make healthy and affordable meals.  Learn how your church can partner with the AR Hunger Relief Alliance to become a host site for these courses

Patty Barker, Elaine Bultena, Joan Dudley and Anthony Falkowski are members of the Food Ministry Team at FUMC Little Rock 


11. Nourishment for the Body and the Spirit • Russellville FUMC

Join Rev. Gail Brooks share about the worship service which began from a conversation about finding new ways to connect with the hungry in the mission field of Russellville First UMC. More Than Manna (MTM) launched six years ago as an attempt to form relationships with the individuals and families who frequented Manna House, the food pantry the church has supported for over 15 years. MTM is a worship service that begins with a free meal prepared by volunteers every Sunday night at 5 p.m. We have a meal, praise God through music, share prayer concerns, hear the Word, and celebrate Holy Communion. Through this ministry, we have had the opportunity to be in ministry with the least of these as we have come to know one another and become friends. It has been transformative for all of us and is now a place these friends have found a connection to God and a church to call home. Rev. Gail Brooks, is Associate Pastor at Russellville First United Methodist Church.

12. Connect to Your Neighborhood • St. Andrew UMC

Discuss creative ways to make creative connections to your church’s mission field.  St. Andrew has formed community through a variety of ways, including being a neighborhood hub and through ministries with the Hispanic community.

Rev. Dr. C.E. McAdoo, Senior Pastor, and Rev. Jennie Duncan, Minister of Hispanic Outreach and Adults, St. Andrew UMC, Little Rock.


13. The Good, The Bad & The Fun of Starting a Co-operative Youth Ministry • Stuttgart UMCs

The Good, The Bad & The Fun of starting a co-operative youth ministry. Jennifer “Pooh” White, David Moore and David Bush will share the ups and downs of a co-operative youth ministry that began in 2011 in Stuttgart. Working together the congregations have been able to develop a plan to make disciples of Jesus that is impacting Stuttgart and Arkansas County. Jennifer White, co-op youth ministry director,  Rev. Dr. David Bush of FUMC Stuttgart,  Rev. David Moore, Grand Avenue UMC.

14. Bridging the Gap - Creating a Hybrid Worship/Sunday School Space • West Memphis FUMC

How do we create spaces that meet people where they are in order to help them grow in their faith, especially when their lives are already so crowded? Rev. David Moseley will open this session by talking about how to create a trusting, empowering environment in which creative ideas can flourish. Then, Rev. Dr. Michelle J. Morris will specifically describe a result of such an environment: The Bridge, a hybrid worship/Sunday school space that takes place each week in our congregation. She will discuss what needs are met by such a space, and then share the design of a typical hour. Finally, we will share how different sermon/lesson series have grown discipleship among the people of The Bridge.

Rev. David Moseley, Senior Pastor, and the Rev. Dr. Michelle J. Morris, Associate Pastor, serve First United Methodist, West Memphis.

"Creating vital congregations that make disciples of Jesus Christ,who make disciples equipped to transform lives, communities and the world."

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