GBOD Communications Office
(Steve Horswill-Johnston, Executive Director
(615) 340-1726 (O) (615) 429-3431 (C)

621 New Churches Planted in the US, a Central Conference Resourcing effort launched and 18,000 Young People Trained, Among Goals Celebrated at GBOD’s Final Board of Directors Quadrennial Meeting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Aug. 21, 2012 /GBOD/ – The General Board of Discipleship’s (GBOD) board of directors completed their 2009 – 2012 quadrennium of service by celebrating landmark accomplishments in church renewal, new church planting, and central conference resourcing.
The Nashville-based agency held their final board of directors meeting of the quadrennium last week by recognizing achievements and establishing the organizational plan for the new board, which begins service in September 2012.
The new board of directors, which will hold their first meeting September 24-28, will see a reduction from 58 to 23 board members, “reflecting the goals of the Call to Action report,” explained the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, top executive of GBOD.
“We believe that a smaller board with specialized skills in governance (fiduciary and strategic), along with a deep commitment to GBOD’s role to support vital congregations, will allow the agency to more quickly adapt to changes in the church and proactively put in place strategic directions that reflect those changes,” she said.
New Church Starts
The denomination has experienced a 223% increase in church plants in the USA over the previous quadrennium. The New Church Starts (Path1) unit has trained more than 2000 new church planters. In addition:
• 621 churches have been planted toward the quadrennial goal of 650 (223% increase from previous quadrennium).
• 47% (293 churches) are racial-ethnic/multi-ethnic.
• The failure rate of new church starts has dropped from 29% to 9% in the past four years.

This work is made possible through partnerships with the Council of Bishops, the racial ethnic minority national plans, United Methodist Communications, GBOD, the network of congregational developers, and the association of church planters.

The New Church Starts goal for the upcoming 2013-2016 quadrennium will be planting “1000 churches over the next quadrennium in the USA with a larger goal of planting a church a day in the coming years.”

“I would have said this goal was out of the denomination’s reach just four years ago,” said Karen Greenwaldt. “However, the success we are experiencing with our partnerships through Path 1 makes me feel confident this goal can be achieved. And the total effort supports the General Conference’s mission of ‘making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.’”

Central Conference Resources

The Central Conference Sustainable Resourcing effort launched this quadrennium is creating publishing systems in Africa, the Philippines, and parts of Eastern Europe/Russia. Operated by local leaders with the assistance of GBOD and their partners, these indigenous systems publish resources in languages needed for the specific area.

“Ironically, where the United Methodist Church is growing is exactly where basic discipleship resources are unavailable in any format, print or digital. We are trying to change that through this important new initiative,” said Greenwaldt.

Using GBOD’s Discipleship Resources International publishing imprint, the new effort has established:
• Publishing teams in 8 areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
• Distribution centers operating in Africa, Europe, and the Philippines.
• Training classes for emerging writers.
• Creation of electronic resource portals to provide Discipleship Resources content.

Church Renewal

The outgoing board celebrated how local church leaders have been equipped in worship, stewardship, teaching and learning/small groups, evangelism, age level and family ministries – all under the umbrella of church renewal. This includes the training and equipping of:
• 500 local church leadership teams.
• 8000 worship leaders (hundreds of thousands more who visit GBOD’s worship website).
• 8000 family ministry leaders.
• 40 U.S. annual conference Safe Sanctuary teams.
• 1000 older adult ministry leaders.

Spiritual Formation

GBOD’s Upper Room Ministries unit, which has a focus on spiritual formation and prayer ministries, continues to assist the prayer and devotional life of millions of people across the world:
• The Upper Room daily devotional guide reaches people in 35 languages in more than 100 countries.
• Circulation outside the USA grew to 330,000 with new editions being launched annually.
• Most UR titles are available now as ebooks.
• Africa Upper Room Ministries celebrated its 10-year anniversary.
• The Academy for Spiritual Formation expanded into South Korea.
• The Walk to Emmaus program launched in Ukraine, Romania, St. Maarten, and in the Philippines.
• The Upper Room mobile app was launched.

Young People

Young People and their leaders have also been equipped across the spectrum of myriad ministries, resulting in:
• 615% more leaders reached than in the previous quadrennium.
• 18,000 young people and their leaders trained.
• 125 ministries supported to improve the lives of 12,000 young people around the globe.

For more information about all of GBOD’s ministries, go to: http://www.GBOD.org. For New Church Starts info, go to: http://www.Path1.org. For Central Conference Resourcing, visit: http://www.DRInt.org. For Young People’s Ministries, visit: http://www.GlobalYoungPeople.org. For Upper Room Ministries, visit: http://www.UpperRoom.org.
GBOD’s mission is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, GBOD is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. Visit http://www.gbod.org for more information or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.

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GBOD Board members from the Philippines during the last quadrennium (2008-2012) are: Ms. Earlie Pasion, (youth) Mr. William Tolentino (Young adult) and Rev. Francisco Bilog.

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