New and Renewing Churches Newsletter - October 2021

October 19, 2021

A quarterly newsletter from New and Renewing Churches
North Alabama Conference

A Word From Our Director

As we head toward the final months of 2021, the New and Renewing Church team would like to express gratitude for the pastors, laity, and churches who have navigated new situations and realities coupled with uncertainty this year. I recently had a staff member lament how weary she is of the inconsistency of ministry in today’s world. Haven’t we all felt that in 2021? Being in ministry in 2021 has taught us that the only consistent thing about ministry today is its inconsistency.

Yet even in the midst of things not always being certain, we have persevered, we have tried new things, we have survived and even discovered new ways to thrive. I wonder if you realize your ministry is an enormous source of hope to others?

In the midst of this tumultuous time, I keep hearing lots of discussion around discipleship. Everyone seems to be asking the same question, “How do we make disciples in our new ministry landscape?”

In the midst of these conversations, I recently heard someone say,

“We aren’t just called to be disciples, we are called to make disciples." That is our mission, that is our focus, that is what Jesus has called us to do.

I believe one of the most effective ways to make disciples is to keep trying new things. Experimentation, innovation, and implementation are the new constants in our ministry lives.

We don’t try new things just to try to new things. We try new things to reach more people for Jesus. We try new things because mission drives us. We try new things because we recognize our God is always doing a new thing!

If God has laid a desire on your heart to do something new to reach people for Jesus, please let us know so we can cheer you on, pray for you, and provide support. We truly believe the best is yet to come. Don’t you?

Praying for you as we do new together,

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


“We Do New” Spotlight

UAH/Nations of Coaches Ministry

Joe & Halea Vonderheide and John & Beth Ryberg are currently serving the UAH Men’s and Women’s basketball teams as Character Coaches through Nations of Coaches. Nations of Coaches is a Christian ministry with a goal of embedding Character Coaches in collegiate basketball programs in order to introduce student athletes, coaches and staff members to the Master Coach.

Through their work with the coaches, they assist in building the culture of the teams by serving however they are needed and by teaching as the opportunities are provided. They are able to form relationships with the entire team in all sorts of settings from practice to meetings to games.

New Church Development has assisted in funding this mission to the UAH campus through Fresh Expression grants. We are able to directly impact 40 to 50 people through small group studies, one to one pastoral counseling, and team events. Recently, Joe and John participated with the UAH Women’s basketball team on a low ropes course at a local camp. John hosts Sunday dinner with the UAH Men’s basketball team during preseason where a meal is shared while a lesson is taught and discussed. Currently, they are using Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success in our team discussions.

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.

Mental Health Opportunity:

We have all been affected by COVID-19 in some way. Check out this video from Neal Fuller on Covid’s effects on people’s mental health:

The Church can help those struggling during this time through our Celebrate Recovery ministry - a program designed for anyone struggling with hurt, pain, or addiction of any kind. If your church is interested in starting a Celebrate Recovery ministry, contact your District Director of Celebrate Recovery Ministries for more information or email us to start the process.

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

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!

Becoming Church
by Luke S. Edwards

As the religious landscape of North America changes, churches find themselves in a rugged wilderness on the outskirts of culture. At the same time, a movement is emerging from the missional edges of our oldest denominations and is working its way through the church as a whole. Thousands of fresh expressions of church are gathering with their post-Christian neighbors, embarking on a journey to follow Jesus together. In these pages you will discover a way through the wilderness, a lightly worn path walked by everyday people who are building communities and becoming church.






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.