Path 1 Announces 3 New Hires

NASHVILLE, Tenn. April 26, 2022 /Discipleship Ministries/ - Path 1 at Discipleship Ministries is pleased to announce three new staff members, effective July 1, 2022. They are:

  • Rev. Patricia Peña, Director, Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement and Church Planting
  • Rev. Dr. Marcelo Gomes, Director, Training and Church Planting Systems
  • Rev. Dr. Michael Beck, Fresh Expressions United Methodist Strategist
Patricia Pena
Rev. Patricia Peña

Patricia Peña was born in the Dominican Republic. She is a fourth-generation pastor and an ordained elder of The United Methodist Church. Currently, she serves as senior pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Lehigh Acres, FL, under an extension appointment from the New England Conference. She studied pastoral ministry and ESL teaching in Nyack, NY, and received a Master of Divinity degree from the Boston University School of Theology in 2009. Her fifteen years in serving various local United Methodist congregations were focused on church revitalization and new church development with a specialization in intergenerational and multicultural ministry. She received distinguished recognition for her work, including the Exemplary Dominican of the Year by the Dominican Festival in Boston, the National Harry Denman Evangelism Award, and the One Matters Discipleship Award.

“With great honor and responsibility, I take this opportunity to serve the larger church through the work of Path 1 at Discipleship Ministries at such a crucial time in the life of our church, where innovation, diversity, and community will be essential in furthering the growth of the church planting movement,” Rev. Peña said.

Marcelo Gomes headshot
Rev. Dr. Marcelo Gomes

Marcelo Gomes is an ordained elder in full connection with The New England Conference of The United Methodist Church. He serves as lead pastor of First United Methodist Church in Pittsfield, MA, and as certified clergy and candidate mentor. He served the Methodist Church of Brazil for twelve years in different roles, including pastoral ministry and theological training for lay leaders. He taught psychology and sociology in two universities in Brazil and served as president of one of the public colleges in Rio de Janeiro. He served as a Global Ministries missionary for three years in Miami, where he planted a Portuguese-speaking congregation. He worked as an adjunct professor of transformational leadership and congregational care at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary Course of Study between 2016 and 2020. He was a member of the National Plan for Hispanic Latino Ministries (2016-2018), and he is a licensed psychoanalyst in Vermont and a registered psychoanalyst in the United Kingdom. Rev. Dr. Gomes holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Boston University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Sigmund Freud University in Vienna, Austria. He is the author of four books on education and psychoanalysis, and he is working on a new one about religion and migration.

“I am excited to join the Path 1 team and work with others to discern the best way to prepare leaders and implement strategic actions for church growth and missional presence worldwide,” Rev. Gomes said.

Michael Beck headshot
Rev. Dr. Michael Beck

Michael Beck is a pastor, professor, and author. He came to faith as a street kid, redeemed by Jesus from a life of incarceration and addiction. Beck and his wife, Jill, are co-pastors of Wildwood and St. Marks United Methodist churches. They also serve a network of thirteen fresh expressions gathering in tattoo parlors, dog parks, burrito joints, and digital spaces. Beck serves as the Director of Fresh Expressions, Florida; Director of the Fresh Expressions House of Studies at United Seminary; Fresh Expressions Strategist for Path 1; and Director of ReMissioning for Fresh Expressions US. He is the author of eight books and is considered a global thought leader in the Fresh Expressions movement. Beck helps church leaders across the globe follow Jesus in new and exciting ways.

“My hope at Path 1 is to help pastors and laity form new Christian communities with those currently neglected by the church,” Rev. Beck said.

The mission of Discipleship Ministries is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn.

For more information, visit, the Press Center at or call the Marketing & Delivery Office at 877-899-2780, ext. 7123.