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Vital Congregations

Growing Churches: Three Trends We Spotted in 2017

In early 2017, the North Georgia Conference communications office asked District Superintendents to point out a few growing churches in their district. They were given the option to define growth as an increase in worship attendance, increase in mission and presence in their community, growing in small group participation, or another positive change. We followed up with several of their suggestions and have shared them over the course of the year. In telling the stories we discovered a few ...

Let’s Talk: Churches and Difficult Conversations

Photo: Notes from a difficult conversation at Elizabeth Lee UMC. By Rachel Quartarone   In this broken world, churches are often called on the play the role of comforter and community healer. While it would be much easier to focus on uplifting worship, covered dish suppers and the “fun stuff” of church life, that isn’t how it works. With people hurting, communities struggling and families grappling with tough life and death decisions, congregations are called to minister in ways that are ...

'Part-time' Doesn’t Have to be Only 'Part of the Time'

By Rebecca Wallace When Rev. Dr. Theophilus Stanford got the call, he was at a church he had been serving for 10 years. It was somewhat of a surprise, but he was asked to make a move to a church where the previous pastor had made the tough decision to accept a new assignment. Allgood Road UMC was still reeling from change.  “I first needed to build trust,” Rev. Stanford said.    A part-time local pastor, Rev. Stanford immediately began to empower the leaders.  “I couldn’t do everything ...

Golden Memorial’s Rev. Williams Attributes Growth to a 'Wonderful Team'

By Rebecca Wallace Golden Memorial UMC in Douglasville is one of the fastest growing United Methodist churches in the Rome-Carrollton District. With more than 1,100 members, an average of 800 congregants attend each Sunday among four services that the church provides. Just 10 years ago when Rev. Dr. Gregory Williams started at the church, there were only 60 members.   Faced with the possibility of closing, Rev. Williams said the church made a choice. "The first thing we had to decide is if we ...

Every Church Encouraged to Send a Team to the Worship Design Conference

This year's North Georgia Annual Conference emphasized the importance of preparation, spending time in prayer and with scripture, and collaboration in worship planning. It was inspiring and challenging and led the Conference to seek experts in worship planning to teach us more.  That's where the November 4 Worship Design Conference comes in. Your church is strongly encouraged to send a team to this one-day event.  The Worship Design Conference will be led by Jason Moore of Midnight Oil ...

Holy Smoke: Oak Grove Serves up More Than Q and Stew

The Oak Grove UMC United Methodist Men have hosted a barbecue every fall since 1961. It's grown from a humble feeding of the congregation to today feeding more than 5,000 folks from all over the community. "We do a lot more than serve up a bunch of delicious barbecue and stew," said William Wallace, aka "Bull", who serves as President of Oak Grove UMM. On Saturday, October 21, the campus of Oak Grove UMC will be transformed. "The aroma of hams smoking since early Friday hangs in the air, it's...

Kresge Opens Doors to Law Enforcement During Crisis

A tragic event unfolded last week in Cedartown when two local police officers were shot on duty, one of them fatally. With a manhunt underway, local law enforcement reached out to Kresge UMC to ask if the church parking lot could be used as a staging area. Once the staging area was set, a member went to the building to unlock the doors and welcome law enforcement and first responders to use restrooms or access the facility for anything else they needed.  Kresge pastor, Rev. Ed Dickens, also ...

Creekside UMC: Meeting People Where They Are

By Rebecca Wallace   Celebrating a decade of service as the lead pastor of Creekside United Methodist Church in Cumming, Rev. Dr. Jason Danuser said he is humbled to lead what has become one of the fastest growing churches in the Atlanta-Roswell District.   “We are in an area of South Forsyth County that has grown rapidly in recent years,” said Dr. Danuser. “People often move here after they have children because of our top-rated schools.”   In focusing its outreach on families with children, ...

Knocking on Doors: Korean Church of LaGrange Grows Through Invitation

By Rebecca Wallace Founded in 2007, the Korean Church of LaGrange was established by the North Georgia Conference to minister to the increasing Korean population that was settling in the area. Koreans were moving to LaGrange to work at the Kia Motors Manufacturing plant that had recently located there. Seeing the potential, the conference appointed Rev. Dr. Daniel Kim in 2008 to serve full-timve. “I went and knocked on doors in the Korean immigrant community, and visited them where they hang ...

'One Matters' to Suwanee Worship Center UMC

By Rachel Quartarone   Each year, Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church selects congregations for the "One Matters Award," recognizing that every new disciple—even just one—matters. The award is specifically given to congregations that had experienced decline but made a turnaround in growth with new baptisms, professions of faith, and of course, new members. This year the “One Matters Award” went to Suwanee Worship Center UMC in Suwanee, Georgia. It was presented at the North ...

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