Churches of all sizes are starting new faith communities

August 18, 2017

Congregations – of all sizes – throughout the North Alabama Conference are reaching out to their community by starting new faith communities.

Below are four good news reports from the Office of New Church Development. Executive Director of New Church Development Dr. Richard Hunter notes, “These are good examples that any church, any size can take on.”

Bethany UMC

Bethany UMC in the Southeast District has started a new community of faith on Sunday nights. It is held at a local substance abuse facility called “the farm.” This new worship service includes the clients, owners, staff and their families. Attendance ranges from 40-80 people weekly. This is remarkable since the weekly attendance for Sunday mornings at Bethany UMC is approximately 18 people! Rev. Donnie Patterson is the pastor of Bethany UMC.

St. Junia UMC

Good news from the St Junia House Church Network in the South Central District. They launched a 5th house church in the Birmingham metro area. This one is in the Trussville/Center Point corridor. Erin Griffin Georgia is hosting/leading this newest location. Rev. Dr. Dave Barnhart is the senior pastor of St. Junia UMC.

The Church at Ross Bridge UMC

The Church at Ross Bridge UMC in the South Central District is launching a second Sunday morning worship service next month. Attendance has more than doubled since spring. Kudos to Rev. John Mount who shepherded this church in its strategic move to Ross Bridge and recently "passed the baton" of pastoral leadership to Rev. Dr. Nathan Carden.

Wesley Chapel UMC

The Celebrate Recovery at Wesley Chapel UMC in Sylacauga (Southeast District), celebrated one year of ministry! They have grown this Celebrate Recovery from 10 originators to more 60 people attending weekly.

Pastor Rev. Dorothy Stabler Scott shared some recent stories from the Celebrate Recovery community there. A new individual just came after hearing about the ministry while in jail. It's a blessing to learn that two people in jail would share about this worship opportunity. The second is a story that reflects one of those powerful God moments. An individual left Celebrate Recovery before the evening was over, and while driving down the road, a voice from God spoke to that person saying come back. Blessing upon blessing, the person turned around and came back. Glory!

To learn more about how your congregation can be a part of New Church Development contact Dr. Richard Hunter, Executive Director of New Church Development at 256-489-9432 or 770-377-1180 [cell]. Also watch the 2017 Annual Conference presentation about a Tool for Church Health called Fresh Expressions.

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