First Steps 2016 Cohort


Welcome to The FIRST Faithful Steps Initiative 

The First Faithful Steps Initiative is a congregational, team-based learning opportunity designed to provide the foundation for church growth, team leadership, creative vision, and fruitful ministry.  Selected leaders will partner with congregational teams to equip them for more effective mission and ministry.




Team Learning Themes: 
Date: February 27, 2016
The United Methodist Church
Rev. Dr. Tom Elliot, Candler School of Theology
POWER POINT: Download Dr. Elliot's Powerpoint from Feb. 26

Date: April 30, 2016
The Local Church at Work
Rev. Dr. Steve Winter, Active Retired Clergy
Rev. Dalton Rushing, North Decatur UMC

Date: September 24, 2016
Worshipping Together
Rev. Dr. Michael Stinson, Bethel UMC - Atlanta

Date: November 12, 2016
Hospitality: The Welcoming Church
Maxene Fears, Logistics Director at Impact UMC

Host Church:
Trinity on The Hill UMC
101 North Davis Road
LaGrange, GA 30241

8:30 am - Gathering
9:00 am - 2:00 pm Learning session 

Lunch provided

What to Expect:
Each session will consist of teaching, spiritual reflection, interaction with the ideas and concepts, and group sharing. Participants are required to read the assignments prior to each session in order to contribute to each session’s topic.  Church teams will determine times to meet between sessions to debrief, discuss the reading, and work together on their session projects.


Assignments for Session Four:

Chapter 1: The Practice of Radical Hospitality in The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Watch and Read:
The Welcoming Overview

Divide the 10 Quick Start Tools among your group and complete each one. Be prepare to report on the state of hospitality in your congregation during Session 4 on November 12, 2016.


Assignments for Session Three:

Chapter 2: The Practice of Passionate Worship
The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
by Robert Schnase

A 5 minute presentation on one (1) practice you currently do well in worship. Answer these four questions in your presentation:

  1. What is it that you do?
  2. Why do you do it?
  3. Is there a “tradition” behind it?
  4. Why do you think it is effective?

Remember you are a team! Meet together and discuss this. Are there additional people who might be helpful to this discussion, i.e. choir director, worship leader, head usher, et cetera? Together determine what one practice you do that is effective in your corporate worship experience.

A one page document that describes the practice you shared in your presentation above. 

Assignments for Session Two: 

Watch: Paul Manwaring - The Gift of Administration
Click here to watch

Read: Book of Discipline 2012
Click here

  • Paragraph 258 Sections: (13) Pastor - Parish Relations and (15) Finance
  • Paragraph 2525 - Local Church Board of Trustees' Qualifications
  • Paragraph 2533 - Board of Trustees' Powers and Limitations

Read Rev. Dalton Rushing blog here


Assignments for Session One:

Watch: "Clay Ride"
Click here to watch

Read: Book of Discipline 2012
Click here

  • Historical Statement, p 11 - 22
  • Part I The Constitution, p 23 - 89
  • Part III Doctrinal Standards and Our Theological Task p. 45 - 89
  • Part IV The Ministry of All Christians p. 210 - 215  

Note: Download Power Point from this session