Feb 25, 2022 | By John W. Coleman

Tools for Ministry, the online leadership learning academy that convenes conveniently on Zoom next Saturday, March 5, 9 AM to 12:30 PM, will span a broad curriculum of high-value instruction, from the practical to the prophetic. Two 90-minute sessions of diverse, dynamic learning in Zoom breakout rooms will follow an opening plenary with devotions and a greeting from Bishop John Schol.  

Here is a brief description of the courses offered. Click here to see the full list of their descriptions. And Register today before classes fill up!  

Is your church considering a move from an administrative council structure, with numerous committees, to a simpler, single-board leadership model with fewer meetings to attend? There’s a course for that. But there is also helpful leadership training to increase effectiveness of Lay Leaders, Church Trustees and Staff/ Pastor-Parish Relations Committees.

Many churches are still trying to rebound from COVID-forced closures, losses and adaptive changes.  The course “Small Congregation Focus: Lessons from a Pandemic” should be especially helpful to small-membership churches. But all leaders of all churches should take now or in the future “Safe Sanctuaries: Making Sure Your Local Church is Safe for God’s Children.”

Church finances: sourcing and sustainability

Want help identifying and obtaining resources for ministry? Find out what to do and not do in proposal writing. How about church audits, financial best practices and understanding the financial health of your church? Or to go a step further, what about building financial sustainability and stewardship by establishing Legacy Giving in Your Church?

There’s even a much-needed course on “How to Financially Thrive vs. Just Survive.” And speaking of surviving, there’s another on completing annual Charge Conference reports. Yes, “Those again!” the course subtitle warns.

Through “Orientation to Ministry” you can learn how and why to pursue the many options available for professional ministry, including the popular option of Bi-vocational Ministry careers. Or you can learn all about becoming a Deacon to serve the Church out in the world. And to give youth a not-too-early introduction to ministry, learn how to involve them in local mission efforts to offer them valuable life and faith experiences.

Of course, there are several courses taught by experts to address important communications technology concerns of churches. One will focus on using livestreaming to broaden your outreach and impact near and far. Another will help you get your church online and in people’s minds through Web design and social media. And check out “How to Get Cheap & Even Free Technology for Your Church.” Not an elegant title but surely an effective one.  

Telling our church’s full, inclusive story

No Tools for Ministry training would be complete without teaching the essentials of our “Wesleyan Heritage.” That denominational history may add valuable context for those who also select the “Overview of General Conference 2020-2022.” But the plot of our story will thicken for those who take the candid course “Pride, Pain and Shame: Methodism’s History with Racism and Efforts to Dismantle It.”

How do we begin to tell a new story for our churches that people will recognize and respect? It’s called Branding in the influential world of marketing, a fascinating and useful topic to be covered in “Beyond Building the Brand: Powering Ministry Through Marketing.”

A number of sure-to-be-useful courses will cover difficult challenges many churches face now or may face in the future. They include “Officiating Funerals for the Church and the Community,” “Mental Health First Aid,” “Support for Shrinking Congregations” and “Mission Rift: Leading Your Church through Conflict.”

But if we believe as Methodism’s founder John Wesley did when he said “The world is my parish,” then there are challenges we must face in society as well. Tools for Ministry can help with such courses as “Introduction to Disaster Response Training,” “Domestic Violence,” “Engaging in Ministry with Immigrants and Refugees” and “Intercultural Competency,” especially helpful for leaders involved or interested in cross-racial/cross cultural ministry.

Speaking of crossing cultures, EPAUMC’s Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) will offer “Mitakuye Oyasin” (“We are all one family”), subtitled “Native American Ministries Sunday and Beyond.” And Hispanic/Latino church leaders will be able to take two helpful courses offered in Spanish: Cómo desarrollar una Congregación Financieramente sostenible (How to Develop a Financially Sustainable Congregation) and Fortaleciendo nuestros Ministerios mediante Propuestas (Strengthening our Ministries through Proposals).

Practical and prophetic ministry

Well, aside from all this practical wisdom-sharing, what are the “prophetic” courses, you ask? Well, how about “Gifts of the Spirit,” described as “a deep dive…to lay a theological foundation for the gifts of Spirit, then offer practical application for how you can encourage the usage of these God-given gifts in your ministry context.”

And then there’s the popular “Gospel Discipleship” course, a taste of the longer workshop offered online by the Peninsula-Delaware Conference last February that some conference members took and loved.

“This workshop will introduce you to a way of understanding discipleship using the four Gospels as models for distinct understandings and paths to Jesus,” reads the description. “Understanding the four discipleship types allows you to live more fully into the disciple you are called to be, and helps you understand how to better work with others…”   

Skilled, informed instructors will provide valuable information, wise insights and helpful resources in all the Tools courses. And some classes will be recorded and made available later to be viewed again or for the first time by those who want to learn more.

 See the full list of workshop descriptions. Register today