2011 School of Congregational Development

Date Posted: 6/27/2011

The annual School of Congregational Development (SCD) July 27-31 in Dallas, Texas, promises to be a lively, spiritual, and inspiring experience: renewing faith in Jesus Christ; recommitting the church to mission and ministry; and educating church leaders on new ways to transform, rethink, and grow their churches.


Hundreds of participants will learn new ways to equip new churches and reinvigorate existing churches at this SCD 2011, sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD), Path 1, and the General Board of Global Ministries.


"We are happy to invite all church leaders and potential leaders to teach, learn from, and pray with one another. We are in ministry with one another. And the church is transformed as we reflect, revitalize, and grow the church in new ways," said Thomas Kemper, chief executive of Global Ministries.


This event for leaders, clergy, and laity offers "proven best practices for new and existing congregational development from practitioners themselves and offers opportunities to meet and network with others focused on growing healthy new and existing churches," said Rev. Nora Colmenares Martinez, Assistant General Secretary, Justice and Discipleship, Global Ministries.


Rev. Martinez emphasized the diversity of participants at this year's School, the largest annual gathering of United Methodists in the connection.


"Learn how to develop and grow worshipping congregations with various ethnic groups, as well as multi-ethnic worshipping congregations, and about resources available to develop vibrant outreach ministries that effectively meet the local church with the needs of the community around it," said Rev. Martinez.


All sessions during the five-day event will be at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, except for worship and teaching sessions at area churches on Sunday. The registration fee through July 1 is $425, and $475 after July 1. Registration includes a continental breakfast each day, dinner on Thursday, and lunch at the Teaching Church.


Participants at SCD 2011 will choose to attend:

  • One of 15 Intensives, experiences that will focus on ideas that can be applied to most ministries

  • One of 23 Ministry Tracks, four-part sessions delving deeply into strategies that will equip participants to lead more effectively in their particular ministry settings. Tracks will be available for conference leaders, new church leaders, racial/ethnic ministries, and leaders of existing churches

  • Two of 25 Workshops that will provide nuts and bolts information on critical ministries and innovative worship tools in and for the local church.

On Sunday, participants will choose one of a dozen Dallas-area Teaching Churches where they will worship, have lunch, and participate in a teaching and discussion session in the afternoon.


Bishop Earl Bledsoe of the North Texas Conference, who has recently implemented a new structure and focus for his conference, will begin with a talk on Moving "From Crises to Christ Centered."

Other speakers include:


  • Fiona Macleod, director of Learning and Development at Interstate Batteries, and Jim Ozier, director of New Church Development and Congregational Transformation for the North Texas Conference, who will talk about "From Attraction to Invitation"

  • Elaine A. Heath, the McCreless Associate Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, who will speak on "From Maintenance to Movement"

  • Ruben Saenz, Jr., pastor of El Buen Pastor UMC in Edinburg, Texas; Danny A. Hernaez, chief executive officer of DearCare Health Management International, and Andrew Forrest, campus minister for Munger Place, a satellite campus of Highland Park UMC in Dallas who will address the topic "From Ourselves to Others"

  • Tyrone D. Gordon, pastor of Saint Luke "Community" UMC, one of the largest African-American churches in the country, who will speak on "From Giving Up to Going Out"

All worship and plenary sessions will be webcast live. The planning team invites all United Methodists interested in church growth to attend. The team is hoping to host the largest gathering ever in the history of church leaders this year.


Go to scdumc.org for more information about SCD 2011 and to register. There you can find links and information on the webcasts.