Bishop John Schol gives the Greater New Jersey conference a report card here Among his recommendations are to reach out like a new church (hint: sponsor an Easter Egg hunt NOT on church grounds) and to “take the church to the community”
- Plan “bridge events” designed explicitly to draw people from the community by providing for them something they need or enjoy — block parties, free concerts, seasonal events, parenting classes, sports camps, or school supply giveaways, etc. Source: Get Their Name by Bob Farr, Doug Anderson, and Kay Kotan (Abingdon Press, 2013)
- Hold these events off church property or outside the church walls in venues where people feel comfortable and naturally congregate.
As church leaders, we are urged to take training.
Here is the link to “Back to Basics” training for church council members, available in various locations on January 28, 29, or 31. Also February 21 or 23. Those who have attended say the conference training is excellent!
The conference’s United Methodist Women have a winter retreat on Monday, February 20 at the Pinelands (former Mt. Misery!) and the registration deadline is supposed to be January 15.
On a national level, the Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church offer a plethora of resources. These webinars are available even retroactively and are easy to sign up for.
Leading Congregations Effectively in a Global World, webinar Tuesday, January 17, 7 pm
Church Council: What’s My Role? webinar Tuesday, January 27, 7 pm
What Every Child Should Experience – downloadable guide for teachers and leaders
Older Adult Ministry – how can adults help form children’s faith – webinar to listen to
Baby Boomer spirituality webinars starting Tuesday, January 24, 7 p.m.
How to talk politics in your church without being unChristian, webinar Monday, January 23, 2 p.m.
Healthy Family series: setting financial goals, webinar Tuesday, February 7, 2 p.m.
Here are some downloadable booklets from Discipleship Ministries
From Numbers to Narratives – using a narrative budget
How to Have a Courageous Conversation
Writing as a Calling, Ministry, & Work
Here are some downloadable booklets from a non-denominational organization Practical Resouces for Churches
It offers many of the resources that we can find at UMC national headquarters, and the webinars require membership, but some are worth looking at. The booklets seem to be free.
Basic Teacher Training
On a local level, Princeton Community Works offers useful workshops on Monday, January 30.
Samples: the Three R’s of Volunteer Management, How to Run a Productive Meeting, Tools and Techniques to Build an engaged and Motivated Team.
Overwhelming? Yes. Less daunting if you attend with a friend. Seek out someone you don’t know, someone different from you, and offer this as a bonding experience. You and the church will be enriched.