New and Renewing Churches Newsletter - April 2021

April 07, 2021

A quarterly newsletter from New and Renewing Churches
North Alabama Conference

A Word From Our Director

On a recent visit to Chic-fil-A for some of “God’s chicken,” I was struck by the constant, never-ending stream of customers. My local store doesn’t have just one drive-thru, it has two! Interestingly enough, the store was not designed for two drive-thrus, but Chic-fil-A chose to experiment and innovate in order to reach more people.

This makes me wonder what are we doing to meet the needs of those we serve? Are we simply stuck in the mindset of “Let’s get everyone back in the building after the pandemic,” or are we willing to do something new in order to reach more people?

Sure, it would have been easier for Chic-fil-A to stay comfortable with just one drive- thru, but look at the opportunity that would have been lost!

I think the same is true for us as church leaders. Sure, it’s easier to keep doing the same thing year after year, but what opportunities do we miss if we fail to experiment and innovate?

One of the things I love most about Chic-fil-A is the refrain their employees utter when thanked for their service, “My pleasure.” The New and Renewing Churches team wants you to know that it is “Our pleasure” to serve you! We believe every church and every leader is capable of doing something new.

Our “We Do New” initiative is designed to support you. What new thing could you or your church do to reach new people for Jesus Christ?

We want to partner with and financially support you as you experiment and innovate. Click here for all the details on our “We Do New” grants. Don’t miss this opportunity! I look forward to hearing all about the new experiments and innovations we will begin in 2021.

It is an honor to serve with you, or as my Chic-fil-A friends say,

“It’s my pleasure.”

Praying for you as we do new together!

Reverend Suzanne Katschke
Executive Director - New and Renewing Churches
North Alabama Conference


“We Do New” Spotlight

Cambridge United Methodist Church began in the early 1800s as a camp meeting site and was established as a United Methodist congregation in 1818.  Friendship UMC partnered with Cambridge to create Friendship’s third satellite campus in June 2020 under the leadership of Friendship’s lead pastor, Tony Johnson.

The Cambridge location underwent renovations to include a new children’s area, a nursery, new lighting, central HVAC, and a bathroom addition. Since opening (during the pandemic), Cambridge has taken in 18 new members and is averaging 89 in their in-person services. Many others join Cambridge online for their virtual service.

Serving as the campus pastor, John David Crowe leads the team at the new location. Pray for them, and check them out at as they “Do New” at Cambridge.

What new thing has your church done recently? We welcome your submissions to share with others. Submit your “We Do New” stories to


How can we help?


New and Renewing Churches offers financial support to do something new.  We offer New Church grants, Online Ministry grants, and “We Do New” grants. Check out our grant opportunities here:

*Please note: our grants are not just for new churches; if your church wants to do something new to reach people for Christ, we want to hear about it.

Training opportunities:

New and Renewing Churches offers quarterly trainings to help you ideate and equip you to do new things in your ministry context. Open to clergy and laity, our 2021 offerings are listed under upcoming trainings below.


MissionInsite is an effective and free tool sponsored by the Conference that churches can use to gain valuable demographic data about your community. Who lives there? What are their ages? How many people are unchurched? MissionInsite provides valuable data on income levels, education, ethnicity, and much more. If you want to know your community, MissionInsite is the place to start


After completing MissionInsite, churches can go deeper by utilizing Mosaics. Mosaics can answer questions such as: What kind hospitality are people looking for? What ministry or outreach are they in need of? What are their communication preferences? How do they best connect to a church? Mosaics can help your church find ways to better connect to your community, growth opportunities, and even identify potential new ministries to enable you to do something new.

Social Media:

In our ever evolving world, it is more important than ever for your church to have a quality website and social media presence. Are you struggling with where to start? Do you need help with what to post, when to post, or where to post? Are you unsure of how to organize your website? Or maybe you’d just like a fresh set of eyes to help you identify areas of improvement. Whatever the case may be, New Church is here to help..


Upcoming Trainings

Discernment Academy:
How Will God Use You to Do Something New?

Wednesday, May 12 and Thursday, May 13, 2021
9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (CST)
*Virtual on Zoom

Have you ever thought about planting something new? Whether it be a new church, a new service, or a new gathering to reach new people, this is the workshop for you. Reverend Rachel Gilmore from Path One and Reverend Matt Temple from First United Methodist Church of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, will help pastors learn more about themselves and their leadership styles in order to develop a vision for their ideal ministry and setting.

Register Now ?


Starting a New Worship Service

Thursday, August 12, 2021
9-11 a.m.(CST)
*Virtual on Zoom

Ready to re-launch or launch something new post-COVID? Launching a New Worship Community is a new book coming out this summer by Paul Nixon and Craig Gilbert and a dozen other voices from around Methodism. It contains thirty-two short how-to chapters for pastors, worship leaders and other team members who should be involved in launching well a worship service. Paul Nixon is a UMC elder who pastored Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church in the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Gulf Breeze added 1300 professions of faith during Paul’s tenure. Additionally, Paul served as the Director of Church Development, overseeing net membership gains, correlated with a blitz of new worship communities. Paul has coached hundreds of pastors in the US and UK.

Register Now ?


Laity Church Planting

Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021
10-11 a.m. (CST)
w/self-paced follow-up sessions to be announced.
*Virtual on Zoom

This training will help laity discern their call to plant something new (a fresh expression of church, a new service, a missional community, a satellite campus of an existing church, etc.) and equip them to lead a new faith community. A key component of the training underscores the importance of laity-clergy partnership in forming new faith communities. Bener Agtarap, Executive Director of Path1 and Doug Ruffle, Director of Church Planting Resources will lead participants in an interactive learning process to address the “why” of planting new faith communities.

Register Now ?

For questions or more information about any of these workshops or more opportunities, contact Executive Director of New and Renewing Churches Rev. Suzanne Katschke at


Book Corner

Here are some books we are currently reading to learn more ways to do something new. We’d love to hear your recommendations!


Ready or Not:  Kingdom Innovation For a Brave New World:

The invitation is for church leaders to reclaim their calling to innovate. Weaving together stories with surprising twists, studies with striking conclusions, and spellbinding cultural analysis, this book unlocks the five phases of kingdom innovation with practical, hope-filled, and extremely readable suggestions.





BLESS: 5 Everyday Ways to Love Your Neighbor and Change The World:

For most Christians, “evangelism” is an intimidating word that suggests handing out tracts to strangers or doing other awkward things. But what if we had a more organic, more authentic way to share our faith with our friends, neighbors, and coworkers? BLESS contains five simple, straightforward practices. By consistently living them out, you can affect not just individual lives, but your entire neighborhood and community—one person at a time.






Meet our Team

New and Renewing Churches is grateful for our New and Renewing Churches team. Each member is committed to our initiative, “We Do New,” as they live it out in their ministry contexts. Our team has expertise in doing new things. We are here to assist you. Feel free to contact them. They would love to have a conversation with you!

New and Renewing Churches Team:

New and Renewing Churches Staff:

Discover, Develop and Deploy Spiritual Leaders to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.