What is Next Level Innovations?
Next Level Innovations is an investment in churches that have recognized potential for reaching more people in their community and inviting them to be part of our mission to make disciples for Jesus Christ.
Where did this start?
The Next Level Innovations process is the model of the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church that is based on similar processes in other UM Conferences. It is based on a foundation of prayer, monthly clergy training (with other clergy going through the same process), pertinent data gathering, and two congregational events including a weekend of church study. This is followed up with a specially developed detailed report and innovation recommendations for our congregation as well as follow-up coaching and mentoring in working towards those innovations. Our Church Leadership Council voted to use this process for Strategic Planning as it would encompass not only our congregation but objective leaders and mentors from our conference and beyond. We are excited that Jacob Armstrong, a nationally renowned United Methodist pastor from Nashville, is working with our congregation.
Who’s involved with this?
In our congregation we have a Next Level Innovations Steering team composed of staff members Mark Miller, Brenda Stahl, and Laura Ezell along with members of our congregation Darrick Wickre and Doug Wilbourne. They are joined by various subteams such as our Breakthrough Prayer Team and a Spiritual Formation Study team. Ultimately the entire church is invited to participate in the process at our Ministry Focus Event on May 16 and our Innovations Weekend study later in November.
What’s been going on so far?
To date it’s been behind the scenes preparations. Firstly, we’ve been engaging in prayer—leadership and the congregation have been joining in our “Breakthrough Prayer”, asking for the Holy Spirit to fill and move in our church. Pastor Mark has been having monthly training & coaching meetings with other pastors in this process to further skills. The Steering Team has been meeting to plan and discuss three books they’ve been reading together, Canoeing the Mountains by Tod Bolsinger, Flood Gates by Sue Nilson Kibbey, and Connect by Phil Maynard. (Click here for a blog on Canoeing the Mountains).
These readings have helped begin the conversation of how to navigate change, how to approach missional alignment, and how to open conversations around our future goals and strategies to implement those goals.
What can I do to get involved?
We ask that you faithfully pray for this process, asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we discern how to be disciples of Jesus Christ. You may pray however you wish, but we suggest our “Breakthrough Prayer”:
Come Holy Spirit and fill this church.
Break through our tendency to seek out what is comfortable and familiar.
Lead us in the direction we should be going and give us strength to follow.