“Doug Swims for Path 1” Raising Funds to Support New Churches

NASHVILLE, Tenn. May 8, 2014 /Discipleship Ministries/ – A ministry supporting church planters in the United States and a new church in Argentina will benefit from a special three-mile swim by New Church Starts (Path 1) associate executive director Doug Ruffle to celebrate his 63rd birthday.

Ruffle is asking friends and supporters to make donations to Doug Swims for Path 1 to help the Large Impact Church Residency Program, cosponsored by the Discipleship Ministries’s Path 1 division, and the New House of Prayer for All People, a church in Buenos Aires.

"I'm doing 'Doug Swims for Path 1' for fun and to help raise some funds for these two important projects and to hopefully get some attention for both of them," Ruffle said. "The projects are important to me because we're all about trying to help plant new churches in the United States and we're part of the movement that helps plant Methodist Churches around the world."

Ruffle’s son Ben, a dining services supervisor at Rutgers University, who will be 36 this summer, will join his father for part of the swim, which will take place on Ruffle’s birthday, June 11, at a Nashville area YMCA.

"Donors may want to contribute $36 since my son is turning 36 or $63 because I’m turning 63, or $99 for the two of us," Ruffle said. "Or any amount would be welcomed for these two great causes."

To make a contribution, go to Anyone who gives $36 or more will receive a free "Doug Swims for Path 1" t-shirt. To view a video of Ruffle in training for his birthday swim, go to

The Large Impact Church Planting Residency Program, which Path 1 cosponsors with annual conferences, is a unique way to prepare the next generation of church planters by placing young people for a year in United Methodist churches that are having an impact on their communities. There the residents have day-to-day contact with effective pastoral and lay leadership as they learn how to help organize a church for ministry and mission.

The first four 2013-2014 residents are completing the year-long program, which was organized by Path 1 in response to the needs of annual conferences to plant new congregations that are relevant and contextual. Support was only available for four residents the first year, but program organizers hope as many as a dozen residencies will be available during the coming year, which begins this summer.

Cost of the residency program is shared by Path 1, annual conferences and the local churches. Discipleship Ministries's funding for grants made to annual conferences during the first year came from trust funds, but future support for the residency program will depend on outside donations, like those made to "Doug Swims for Path 1."

For more information about the residency program, go to

The House of Prayer for All People, an Argentine Evangelical Methodist Church located in Buenos Aires, is a growing and developing congregation that currently meets in a rented hall, but needs its own permanent place to worship. Donations for the House of Prayer given to "Doug Swims for Path 1" will go directly to the church via The Advance, the accountable, designated mission giving arm of The United Methodist Church. A part of UMC’s General Board of Global Ministries, The Advance ensures that 100 percent of each gift is used for its intended mission or ministry.

For more information about the House of Prayer, see Global Ministries’ Advance #3021287 at

"We're part of a whole worldwide movement to plant new churches, new places for new people. And House of Prayer in Buenos Aires is one of the first new church plants that the Methodist Church in that country has done in years," Ruffle said. "It's located in the largest city of Argentina, and they're reaching a lot of working-class people from Buenos Aires."

Categories: Press Center, 2014 News