Congregational Development

The Eastern PA Conference is deeply committed to fostering the healthy development of new faith communities and congregations, along with revitalization and redevelopment of existing congregations, all to expand our faithful witness for Christ through evangelism, worship, fellowship and ministry. We are always seeking, sharing and strategizing around creative ideas and energetic efforts to expand the definition of church and the experience of congregational life. We strive to reach new people in new ways and to find, support and develop new leaders with new abilities, all in the vibrant spirit of living out Christ’s Great Commission.

Congregational Development, guided by the conference Congregational Development Team (CDT), provides many cutting-edge training and leadership opportunities, resources, and clergy and church assessment and development tools. Our goal is to help the conference and its congregations grow as they become more effective at winning souls for Christ and “making disciples for the transformation of the world.”

Featured News & Events

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January 2022 Book Study

Being the Church in a Post-Pandemic World: Game Changers for the Post-Pandemic Church by Kay Kotan

Dates: January 12, 19, 26; February 2, 9
Study led by: Kay Kotan (author)
Sponsored by: EPAUMC Congregational Development Team

Focused specifically on how to help churches as we emerge from the pandemic. This will be a dynamic, interactive study that you and your church leadership will not want to miss!

Register

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March 2022 Book Study

Witness at the Cross: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Friday by Amy-Jill Levine

Dates: March 2, 9, 16, 23 (4 weeks).
Study led by: Amy-Jill Levine (author).
Sponsored by: EPAUMC Connectional Ministries.

This Lenten based study based on AJ Levine’s newest book release will enable us to learn from those standing at the cross. Individuals, church groups, and community members welcome!

Register

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2022 book studies to offer lively 'Learning for Leaders'

Learning for Leaders is a new series of four Conference-Wide, Author-Led Book Studies that will continue in January 2022. The lively, guided, hourlong discussions will continue on Wednesdays, at 11 AM via Zoom. Having the books' authors lead those discussions makes them deeply insightful with personal, first-hand wisdom for participants.

These studies gather clergy and lay leaders who are passionate about lifelong learning, personal and church growth, and leadership development. The real bonus is learning with others in dynamic group settings, even online. The diversity of experiences and open minds and open hearts has enriched the Conference-wide book studies throughout 2021... Learn More

The 2022 studies are sponsored by various Conference ministry teams. For each book study, the first 25 registrants will receive a free e-copy (Kindle edition) of the book! Download and share the flyer

Evangelism

"The winning or revival of personal commitments to Christ," reads one dictionary definition of "Evangelism." And according to Wikipedia, "Evangelism is the preaching of the gospel or the practice of giving information about a particular doctrine or set of beliefs to others with the intention of converting others to the Christian faith." No wonder so many people recoil at the very mention of what some shyly call "the 'E' word." Even our United Methodist Church mission statement is "Making disciples of Jesus Christ..."

Yes, our evangelism is indeed mission-focused on "winning," reviving, "preaching," "converting" and "making disciples." But the task is not intended to be so transitive or imposing. "Evangelism is one beggar showing another where to find bread," said famed theologian D.T. Niles. It is about showing the way or sharing the bread of life, if you will, but not force-feeding it to the hungry soul. To avoid the offended reaction "Evangelism" too often draws, we are now more apt to call it "Faith-sharing." Indeed, it is literally sharing a message, not a mandate, that Christ is and has the answer one seeks.

The Eastern PA Conference teaches and encourages faith-sharing that focuses on relationships more than religion. We encourage churches to find and come alongside seekers and sojourners on their journeys of exploration, to share their pain and struggles, hear their questions, suggest some answers, and point the way that leads to hope, peace and maybe even joy.