Regenerate gathers Great Plains church planters for retreat, learning and connecting


“We all want to grow in breadth and depth; and we don’t put a value on sizes,” said the Rev. Matt Miofsky of The Gathering, in St. Louis, Mo., in his opening remarks. Regenerate is part of the Five Touch program of the new church development process in the Great Plains United Methodist Conference. Each appointed pastor of a new church start was part of a two-day retreat that included worship, led by the Rev. Mitch Reece and Nathan Brooks of Church of the Resurrection (Rez) West; and conversations around leadership development and generosity, led by Miofsky.

Regenerate, a two-day retreat, offered time and space for the planters of new churches in the Great Plains to share their challenges around leadership development and developing a culture of generosity. A round-table discussion also enabled planters to address other topics and issues with Miofsky and conference staff who were in attendance. As new church planters continue to grow their congregations, Regenerate provided the space for participants to listen to one another and ask questions. Outside expertise empowers planters to make adjustments where needed and to grow in fruitfulness.

A planter’s truest currency is her or his story. The Rev. Junius Dotson, senior pastor, Saint Mark United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kan., shared his faith journey and experiences. Dotson talked about the launch of Genesis United Methodist Church, a parachute drop in the Silicon Valley in the 1990s; and his experience of leading Saint Mark in Wichita, through the development of a satellite campus in southeast Wichita.

The Rev. Debra McKnight, First United Methodist Church, Omaha, Neb., talked about First’s Urban Abbey satellite congregation. McKnight shared her faith journey as an associate pastor as they developed a space where all people would be welcome in a coffee shop and bookstore in downtown Omaha.

Great Plains Conference new church projects include: In Nebraska, Prairie View, Lincoln; Water’s Edge, Papillion; and Urban Abbey, Omaha. In Kansas,  Living Water, Kansas City; Life Bridge, Shawnee (Kansas City); The Church at Park City, Park City (Wichita); Saint Mark Southeast Campus, Wichita; The Church at the Well, Wichita; and Korean Fellowship/First UMC, Pittsburg.

The first Regenerate retreat closed with Bishop Scott Jones preaching. Jones also commissioned each planter as they prepared to return to their various mission fields in the Great Plains.

New Church Lawrence launches this summer, and is a hybrid start of Kansas University campus ministry working with the development of a new church in the greater city of Lawrence.

Regenerate will be a yearly gathering of Great Plains planters for retreat, learning and connecting with one another.

For more information contact Nathan Stanton, new church start coordinator, at

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