New and Renewing Churches Newsletter - July 2021

July 19, 2021

A quarterly newsletter from New and Renewing Churches
North Alabama Conference

A Word From Our Director

The after effects of the pandemic continue to reveal themselves in a myriad of ways. One of New and Renewing Churches initiatives is to support the efforts of Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Recovery (CR) is a great way for your church to do a new thing! Read more about Celebrate Recovery from New and Renewing Churches CR director, Neal Fuller:

We have all witnessed the impact physical distancing and stay-at-home orders have had on us, our peers, and our church members. A June 2020 study cited that 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse. 

The study also showed that mental health conditions are disproportionately affecting specific populations: young adults, Hispanic people, Black people, essential workers, and unpaid caregivers. These powerful statistics reveal the impact the pandemic has had on our society’s mental health.

How can the Church help those that are struggling during this time? How can we be a place for healing? Celebrate Recovery, or "CR", is a Christ-centered, 12-step recovery program designed for anyone struggling with hurt, pain, or addiction of any kind, by showing them the loving power of Jesus Christ. There is a laid out path for healing for those struggling with anxiety, depression, anger, fear, or grief. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  We all fall short, we all make mistakes, and we are all in recovery - recovering back to Christ. This ministry is centered around discipleship - building relationships with Jesus, one another, and those who don't yet know Christ.

Starting a CR takes about 10-15 volunteers and a place to meet. We will train you and walk alongside your church as you develop your ministry.

We look forward to seeing the way God works through Celebrate Recovery ministries across our Conference to make disciples of Jesus Christ! 

Contact me to get started; I am here to help.

Neal Fuller, Conference Celebrate Recovery Coordinator 

Thanks, Neal!  I can’t think of a better way to try and do something new than to help people process the impact of the pandemic on their community’s mental health. What a beautiful way for the church to be the church!

Feel free to contact Neal to assist you with Celebrate Recovery, or if you have another idea of a new way to reach new people, my contact info is below. Let’s talk!

Praying for you as we do new together,

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


“We Do New” Spotlight

Austinville UMC - Decatur

New and Renewing Churches supports ministries designed to reach Latino communities in North Alabama. One of these ministries is at Austinville UMC in Decatur.

The church’s strategy was to create a soccer ministry and start small groups. Additionally, church volunteers began to teach ESL (English as a Second Language). These efforts created relationships with the Latino community and created a need for Sunday school. Shortly after, worship services began and four new families joined by profession of faith!

The church then faced a new—but good—problem; they did not have space for children’s Sunday school. The transformation continued as a new nursery and classroom was added for elementary age children.

As 2020 began, five new believers were baptized. The ministry continued throughout the pandemic as services continued online, food was distributed to those in need, and immigration assistance was provided.

More than 100 families and over 60 children have been touched through the Latino ministry at Austinville. The Latino people at the church now understand there is a safe place for them. Without question, the church has impacted the community, and the community has impacted the church.

Austinville’s ministry is led by pastors Efrain Morales and Jeff Sellers.

Please pray for them as they lead in new ways to reach new people!

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 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. Contact our Church and Community Strategist, Faith Hooper at


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. Contact our Church and Community Strategist, Faith Hooper at

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. Contact:


Upcoming Trainings 

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

Below is a book to assist you as we strive to do something new. We’d love to hear your recommendations!

Next Wave: Discovering the 21st Century Church

In the 21st-century, the culture is shifting. The “easy places” are increasingly post-Christian—even pre-Christian. If you want to minister successfully right now, you must:

• Learn the mind-shifts necessary to make disciples in the world as it exists today
• Rethink outmoded ideas of funding, metrics, and team-building
• Find out how to model a faith community that’s relevant to the needs of the culture where God’s called you to serve.

Refresh the way you think about starting, growing, and sustaining faith communities in the 21st century. Are you ready to ride the Next Wave?






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.