NTC Gathering New Faces in Online Spaces
By Bener Agtarap
On a trip to the Philippines in January 2018, as a newly appointed church developer in the North Texas Conference, Rev. Dr. Owen Ross heard the phrase “gathering new faces in new spaces.” New faces became the microchurch/fresh expression ministry and the primary missional strategy in the North Texas Conference. This North Texas Conference website shares information about the initiative.
The new faces initiative was still in its infancy when COVID-19 hit. Since coffee shop discipleship or dinner churches were not going to be forming in this season, all funds were transferred to “Gathering New Faces in Online Spaces.” A series of webinars was developed by the North Texas Conference Center for Church Development to assist churches in the technology and best practices related to doing church online:
- Practical Approaches for Online Worship
- Engaging Online Worship
- Growing Disciples and Funding Ministries Amid COVID-19
- Tech Talk with NTC Geeks
The “Tech Talk with NTC Geeks” came with a list of recommendations of small investments that can improve the digital worship experience. Click here to read more.
While most churches were seeking to minister to their members through online worship, the NTC Center for Church Development sought to focus pastors and congregations on the new faces that were discovering their church online and to help them connect with those faces and gather the information. A “Gathering New Faces” webinar was held, and a $500 grant was offered to churches to turn their attention to connecting with the new faces that were connecting with their church.
The questions in the grant application are designed to focus the attention of churches to those new faces. Funding is available only to North Texas Conference churches.
To date, the Center for Church Development has issued grants to almost a third of North Texas Conference churches, and the North Texas Conference is reaching more people online than at any time in history. Plans are being developed to continue to assist churches in innovative online ministries, even as churches are making plans to congregate in person. A new era in evangelism and discipleship is here, as new faces are gathering in online spaces.