New and Renewing Churches Newsletter - Fall 2023

September 08, 2023

Doing new things to reach new people in new ways
for Jesus Christ. 

A newsletter from New and Renewing Churches
North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church

A Word From Our Director

As a former educator, I love the back-to-school season. It brings back memories of my freshly decorated classroom, piles of school supplies, and the excitement of meeting new students. Most importantly, it reminds me of the potential each school year holds for learning, changing, and growing. 

There’s just something about new beginnings! As we embark on a new season of ministry in the United Methodist Church, our future certainly parallels the beginning of a school year. Students must be willing to do some new things to be successful, and so do we. 

The first thing we can do is to step out of our comfort zone, There’s never been a student who wasn’t a bit apprehensive about the start of a school year. As church leaders, we are often apprehensive about trying new things. We can be hesitant about exploring new opportunities, but like students, we are capable of learning and growing. When we take a risk and step out of our comfort zone, we open new doors to connect people to Jesus Christ. What risk can you take for Christ? 

Another thing we can do is utilize our gifts and talents. Just as every good teacher challenges students to use their gifts, we must challenge ourselves to use our gifts as tools to reach people for Christ. Like students, we possess so much potential, and we are far more capable than we realize. We must remember that our God has already given us everything we need to do something new. What unique gift has God given you to reach people for Christ? 

Finally, we can overcome our fears and doubts. Every student experiences fear and doubt when they try new things. We are no different. As people of faith, we must remember our God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. We can step out in faith knowing God is with us and for us. What fears and doubts do you have when it comes to doing new things? 

As the school year begins, it’s a great time to consider starting something new in your church. New and Renewing Churches is here to help. We exist to equip, resource, and support you to do new things to reach new people in new ways.  Reach out to us; we are here to help! 

P.S. Make sure to scroll for new training opportunities (including AI!) and our Spotlight stories on several of our new churches.

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


Reaching New People in New Ways

Rev. Matthew Kilpatrick, Pastor

Pathways is a church plant in Pelham, Alabama. We are currently meeting at Campus 124 on Highway 31 next to the Beer Hog.

The focus of Pathways is to offer five intentional pathways of discipleship for our community. They are fellowship, prayer, praise, discussion, and stewardship. We encourage our community to find a healthy balance of at least three of these pathways to help encourage and support their walk with Christ. Our goal is to offer an uncomplicated way of strengthening disciples to the point of hearing God, following God, and staying with God in their daily lives. 

We have two big challenges right now. The first is finding a permanent location. God has blessed us with a very diverse congregation, which has pushed us to move some things up the priority list. Like a space in a place for our children. We have the makings for a vibrant children’s ministry and hope to be able to offer them their own space to explore the discipleship pathways for themselves. The second is becoming a part of the fabric of the surrounding community. So far, that has led us into the local schools. 

Our biggest hope is that people will experience the “Kingdom benefits” of offering an intentional and uncomplicated church. Our five pathways will help us to keep our focus, conversations, prayers, and resources on simply encouraging discipleship. We also hope that our come as you are environment will speak to people who may have warranted skepticism about organized religion. We are less of a Sunday best environment and more of a help people to know God-type church. We just want to be a place of encouragement, community, and grace that helps you explore and expound upon your relationship with Christ. 

Church planting is tough and scary, and we need your help in more ways than we know. We are asking other believers to join us in prayer every afternoon at 2:05 PM with words centered around Aaron’s blessing from Numbers 6 and Pathways UMC called out by name. We are also asking for your presence. We are offering a 1:30 PM service, just a mile off the interstate which allows for people to check us out in the afternoon without feeling like you’re skipping out on your home church. Some folks just need a little encouragement to take that next step and your “Wooo hooo!” may be just what is needed. If you know some folks who love God and want to explore a relationship with Christ that have had a tough run with the church, send them our way. We think they will find our way of church refreshing. 


Mosaic United Methodist Church:
Rev. Nicholas George, Pastor

Located in Winfield, we have completed our application for a Mission Congregation. We are renting a church building and worshipping each week with our newly appointed pastor, Nicholas George.

Our biggest joy is fulfilling our vision statement, “A family of believers that accept, serve, and love everyone.” In the last three months we have been able to host a free yard sale for our community, offered a weekly summer reading program at the local library, and celebrated the faculty and staff at our local schools when they began the school year.  We are building relationships within our congregation that are allowing us to grow in our faith and offer support to anyone who we make contact with. 

Our biggest challenge is finding and meeting people where they are. We have love to share, but helping those that haven’t been to church or who are done with church make the step to join in a fellowship is challenging.

Our biggest hope is that we will be able to be the disciples we have been called to be. Our hope is that we will love and serve enough that when someone isn’t sure what’s next or where to go they will come to see why we do what we do.

Other churches can continue to pray for our congregation. We are also looking to start programs for children/youth and materials for those areas are needed.


Trussville New Church:
Rev. David Teel - Rev. Griffin Cope, Pastors

Our new church plant was started following the disaffiliation of our local congregation. With a core group of about 75, we began worshipping and planning our future on April 30th, 2023.  We are located in Trussville.  We meet each Sunday at Holy Cross Episcopal Church. Today, our gatherings are made up of over 100 people with 50%  being new and excited to join us in this new adventure of planting a new United Methodist Church.

To help us in planning our work, we are working with a team of consultants across the connection. We also had some of our leadership team attend Path 1 Launchpad training for relaunching in the midst of disaffiliation. 

Our biggest joy is connecting with so many new people who having been longing and searching for an affirming and inclusive church. They bring their hopes, dreams, and ideas, which help to continue to fuel excitement and creative energy.  

Our biggest challenge is finding a permanent worship leader and a more permanent space. Commercial property in Trussville is very expensive. The good news is that it causes us to keep thinking of different ways to approach ministry and church. 

Our biggest hope is to be a place of healing and connection. So many people have been hurt and ostracized by different individuals and groups. Our hope is to be a place and people of renewal and restoration. 

There are a number of ways individuals can support our work. First, pray for us. Your prayers mean so much to us and remind us that we are not alone in this endeavor. Second, include us in your upcoming budget. Starting a new church from scratch takes a lot of funding. As various churches contribute to our work, it helps us to focus on connecting with our community, engaging with new people, and planting well without having to stress out about the initial expenses of starting a new church.

What new thing has your church done recently? We welcome your submissions. Submit your stories to


Training opportunities:

New and Renewing Churches offers trainings to equip you to do new things in your ministry context. Open to clergy and laity, our goal is to equip you to do new things to reach new people in new ways.

Using A.I. Tools in the Church:
October 2
9 a.m.

Wondering what A.I. is all about and how it can be used in the church? Are you a little nervous about what is and isn’t legal? Just not sure it’s for you? Those questions and more will be answered in the Using A.I. Tools in the Church webinar. Amazon Bestselling author and consultant Jason Moore will guide a conversation about what A.I. is, which tools are most useful for various aspects of ministry and will demonstrate how to use them. Best of all, most A.I. tools are free to use or are very affordable. Regardless of your church size, budget, and worship style, this A.I. primer will be helpful for you.

Cost: $25

Register Now ?


Fresh Expressions United Methodist National Gathering

Futuring Forward: The Reawakening of the People called Methodists. 
February 7-9, 2024
Orlando, Florida 

FX UMC is a distinctly Wesleyan movement of doing new things to reach new people in new ways. This first time event will be led by bishops, scholars, and practitioners across the UMC connection. Main sessions, workshops, and immersion site visits will be a part of this event. New and Renewing Church has discounted tickets. Contact us for more info.


Custom Training

Tired of attending trainings that don’t address your situation? Can’t find a particular training being offered? Can’t find help because your idea is so innovative? Don’t know where to turn? We recognize today is a unique day when it comes to being equipped. We want to offer training that meets your needs. To that end, we offer customizable training to resource you. Whatever you need to fulfill the mission God has laid on your heart, just let us know, and we will point you in the right direction. Want details? Contact our Executive Director Suzanne Katschke at


Book Nook

Below are a couple of books we recommend to help reach new people in new ways.  

The Five Congregational Personality Types

Can churches in the 21st century stop, reverse, or prevent decline - and even become healthy, thriving congregations? Missional innovator, pastor, and church renovator, Michael Beck, says they can. But the old cookie cutter ways of doing church won't cut it in today's world. If churches are going to stop the shocking rates of pastoral burnout and exodus from the pews, they must understand that every church has a distinct personality type, which can keep it stuck or propel it into maturity, depending on how it's used. Now, for the first time in history, you can understand and leverage your congregation's culture and personality using the groundbreaking 5 Congregational Personality Types (TM) model. 


How to Talk About Jesus

Most Christians know they should be trying to tell their friends and family about Jesus. But in a post-Christendom world, personal evangelism is viewed negatively--it's offensive, inappropriate, and insensitive. Recent studies confirm that the majority of Christians rarely evangelize, worried they might offend their family or lose their friends. In How to Talk About Jesus (Without Being That Guy), author Sam Chan equips everyday Christians who are reluctant and nervous to tell their friends about Jesus with practical, tested ways of sharing their faith in the least awkward ways possible.






Resources for Churches
and Church Leaders


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.


Celebrate Recovery

Your church can reach new people through a 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, email Neal Fuller? at



Want to learn about your community? MissionInsite is the place to start. 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. 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 of 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, discover 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 we are here to help. Contact our Church and Community Strategist Faith Hooper at


Moving Forward Together

Have you joined the private Facebook group Moving Forward Together? The group exists to support and encourage one another with ideas and strategies as we move forward. Join the discussion, learn from others, and keep up on the latest new things happening in the North Alabama Conference as we move forward together.


Path One

Path 1 is a team of leaders drawn from global, national, regional, and local levels of The United Methodist Church. Their mission is to equip people for disciple-making and to start and sustain new and vital congregations and ministries. 

Check out their resources here ?


Meet our Team

New and Renewing Churches is grateful for the New and Renewing Churches team. Each member is committed to helping our conference reach new people in new ways. Our team has expertise in doing new things. We are here to help. Contact them to start a conversation! 

New and Renewing Churches Operational Team:

District Developers

District Developers are deployed into each district to be a “boots on the ground” presence. District Developers are responsible for resourcing, equipping, and encouraging churches, laity, and pastors to do new things to reach new people. This work includes (but is not limited to) house churches, mergers, dinner churches, online churches, fresh expressions, new ministries, and new ways of doing ministry that have yet to be discovered. The work of the District Developers enhances our mission to make disciples for the transformation of the world.

New and Renewing Churches Staff

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