Path 1 Summer Road Trip Comes Through Texas

Date Posted: 7/11/2013

Modern-day circuit riders from the General Board of Discipleship are heading to Texas next month to help tell the stories of new church starts in the conference, and ministry impact. Follow this adventure on Facebook and Twitter to learn new ideas and receive inspiration for your own congregation.

The Summer Road Trip is an adventure of modern-day circuit riders in the Wesleyan tradition, being organized by New Church Starts (Path 1), a division of the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD).

These “new church” strategists and congregational developers are fanning out across the United States this summer to visit and learn from many of the 684 churches that United Methodists started during the last quadrennium. In the TAC, several church plants are on the “prospect list” for a late August visit (pending schedules and availability) including:

·         North/East Texas churches: Williams Memorial UMC and Gospel Outpost Network

·         Gulf Coast area churches: Esperanza, New World Church, Hope Community, The River, Lakeside UMC, House of Blessings, Encounter and Impact UMC and Abiding Faith.

Jeff Olive, TAC Director of New Church Starts, will serve as a tour guide.

 “The old adage says, ‘If we can see it, we can do it,’ ” says Karen Greenwaldt, GBOD General Secretary. “The collection of stories, pictures and information coming from this Road Trip will provide powerful examples of how new churches are developing across this country.”

The purpose of Summer Road Trip 2013 is to “connect with new churches and faith communities to celebrate what works, to learn what doesn’t work and to dream about what could be as we continue our efforts to start even more new places for new people,” says Candace Lewis, Executive Director of Path 1. “We're not quite like circuit riders, but we're going out to visit the circuits. Wesley did it on horseback, but we'll be traveling by trains, planes and automobiles.”

From now through September, Path 1 associates will join with regional church developers at new faith communities in each of the church’s five U.S. jurisdictions. “We want to see the lives that have been changed, hear some of the stories and understand what is needed from us to help new congregations to succeed,” adds Candace.

 The adventure even takes the group into Canada. In Vancouver, British Columbia, they will celebrate the ministry progress of the newly started first United Methodist church and first Filipino-Canadian church in Canada.

Phil Maynard, Path 1 Coaching Network Director says, “I hope to begin building relationships with both church planters and developers, strengthen the connections with Path 1, gather helpful data on the church plants and learn much about the challenges, needs and opportunities for Path 1 to resource the church planting movement across the country.”

This road trip flows in the great tradition of the circuit rider in Methodism, where the faith communities in locations all around the country were resourced and supported by the larger church. The travelers believe it is a great opportunity for GBOD to be on the ground making connections and supporting a great movement in reaching new people for Jesus. “As people engage these examples of new churches, they will think, ‘We can do that too!’ Energy and excitement will grow, and I’m thrilled by the possibilities for learning, adaptation and experimentation that the Road Trip will stimulate,” adds Karen.

The experiences of the Summer Road Trip will be chronicled on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

GBOD’s mission is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, GBOD is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. Visit www.gbod.org for more information or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726