Ready to Serve

by New Church Starts

by Rev. Candace M. Lewis, incoming Path 1 Executive Director

On Monday, September 17, I will start my new ministry appointment as the new Executive Director of Path1 New Church Starts!!! When I got the call that I had been chosen, I experienced feelings of excitement, humility, joy and nervousness – similar to what I experienced when I was called almost 15 years ago (prior to graduating from seminary) that my first appointment would be to start a new church!!! I enjoyed being a church planter!!!

The joy of seeing new people come to Christ and grow in their faith in a new church was energizing to me and our team.  We started new ministries and reached out to our community in relevant ways. Today the church we planted in 1997 has a new pastor and is still serving the community, seeing new people come to Christ and helping others grow in the Christian faith.  For the past three years I have worked “in the trenches” as a Path 1 Strategist coaching, consulting and resourcing annual conferences and church planters in their work.  It was a joy to come alongside our constituents, working to reach new people for Christ through starting new churches and faith communities.

As I receive the “leadership baton” from Rev. Gary Shockley, I am ready serve with the Path 1 staff and Path 1 team to continue resourcing our denomination’s church planting movement.  Gary (and before him, Tom Butcher) led us well, supporting and helping the movement make great progress. During this quadrennium, the Path 1 movement spread through nearly every U.S. annual conference and helped the denomination plant more than 620 churches (and we're not done tracking until year-end, so the goal of 650 churches is well within reach)!

Lastly, as I begin this new role I am reminded of my spiritual gifts, which are apostolic leadership, encouragement, teaching and faith.  I celebrate being able to serve and share my God-given gifts to help fulfill the mission of The United Methodist Church to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”  There are still millions of people in the United States who have not experienced the grace and love of Jesus Christ.  We are prayerful and intentional about reaching many new people as we create new places for them through starting new churches.  The new quadrennial goal is to plant 1,000 new churches and train 2,000 church planters by 2016. Our larger goal is plant a new church a day in the United States.

Join the Church Planting Movement and let's pursue this goal together!!!