New and Renew logo

recently held at

Bethany Theological Seminary

The Risk & Reward of Embodying Jesus Locally

I am on the highest of highs after the New and Renew Church Planting Conference. Participants experienced the presence and blessing of God during times of worship, prayer, and connecting with one another. Everyone departed the conference with a greater understanding of ministry and with useful resources to impact a new church plant or bring renewal to an established congregation. As one attendee stated, “This was an energizing conference with practical ideas and resources for different ministry contexts and situations.”

The conference theme, “The Risk, and Reward of Embodying Jesus Locally,” was based on John 1:14. The event provided the space for participants and presenters to share about the challenging and rewarding work of planting a new church, explore ways to be the dynamic presence of Christ in their local community, and offer testimonies of God’s faithfulness.

Another highlight at the event was seeing these pioneering, planting leaders as the embodiment of potential for multicultural diversity within the Church of the Brethren. Several church planters at the conference recently started Hispanic churches, including new projects in Los Banos, Calif. and Las Vegas, Nev.

Diversity could also be identified by the variety of new churches. One planter initiated a project in the Baltimore metropolitan area and it has become a growing multicultural church in just a year. Another leader in Chicago is pioneering a ministry that is extending the reach of their faith community into new places in their local context and also around the world. Another planter is pioneering the renewal of a congregation by connecting it to a startup ministry on a college campus.

The United States today is composed of a multitude of nationalities from every corner of the globe. Few other areas of the world bring together such varied ethnicity. And while all people groups retain some measure of their own historical identity, they also create unique subcultures as they become part of the ever-changing culture of North America. As a result, the Church of the Brethren faces exceptional ministry opportunities that hold the promise of transforming countless lives through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The opportunities require fresh, creative approaches. These pioneer leaders, who are planting new churches and renewing established congregations, have a passion for seeing God glorified among those who are spiritually apart from the gospel of Jesus.

Discipleship Ministries of the Church of the Brethren, formerly known as Congregational Life Ministries, values the relationship with these pioneers who seek to care for their community as an extension of their call and passion to fulfill the Great Commission. Discipleship Ministries walks along these pioneers through coaching, training, and fostering relational networks.

—Stan Dueck, director, Transforming Practices and co-coordinator of Discipleship Ministries



New Church Advisory Committee:

Rudy Amaya – Principe de Paz, Santa Ana, California
Ryan Braught – Veritas Community, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Steve Gregory – Sunnyslope Brethren, United Church of Christ, Wenatchee, Washington
Don Mitchell – Director of Church Development & Evangelism, Atlantic Northeast District
   Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Deb Oskin – Living Peace Church of the Brethren, Columbus Ohio
Nate Polzin – The Church in Drive, Saginaw, Michigan
Cesia Salcedo – Renacer Church of the Brethren, Floyd, Virginia, and Buen Pastor Church of the Brethren, Blacksburg, Virginia
Doug Veal – Interim Pastor, Prince of Peace, Kettering, Ohio

Discipleship Ministries staff: Gimbiya Kettering, Randi Rowan, Stan Dueck

For more information e-mail us at churchplanting@brethren.org or call 800-323-8039 ext. 303 or 847-429-4303.