The morning of June 15 will include the main plenary session presented by the the Rev. Dr. Mark R. Teasdale that all attendees will hear. In addition to Teasdale's presentation there will be multiple workshops. You will be asked to select one workshop from the list below when registering for the annual conference session.

Teasdale is an ordained elder in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church and the E. Stanley Jones Associate Professor of Evangelism at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He has written three books: "Methodist Evangelism," "American Salvation; Evangelism for Non-Evangelists: Sharing the Gospel Authentically;" and "Go! Becoming a Great Commission Congregation." In his teaching and lectures, Teasdale focuses on evangelism, church leadership, mission, discipleship and Wesleyan/Methodist studies. He believes evangelism “starts with the assumption that God is active, and that our efforts are only to participate in what God is already doing,” and that we “become public witnesses, inviting those who are not Christians to know God through Jesus Christ.”

Drawing on some of the most recent research in the field of evangelism as well as a decade of experience teaching evangelism, this seminar will provide an “evangelism equation” that guides individual Christians and congregations to articulate their faith in authentic and creative ways. Participants will learn: 

  1. How to overcome congregations’ misgivings about evangelism by shifting from thinking about evangelism in a technical way to thinking about it as a matter of formation
  2. What is involved in developing a holistic evangelistic strategy
  3. Specific ways leadership can emphasize evangelism in the congregation

Listed here are all workshop details to help you decide. Select the topic or scroll down to learn more on each.

"Anatomy of Peace" led by Rev. Nathan Stanton
"Bloom where you’re Planted: Church Growth for Small & Mid-sized Churches" led by Rev. Kimberly Pope-Seiberling
"Contextualized, Holistic Evangelism for the 21st Century" led by Rev. Heather Lear
"Fresh Expressions" led by Rev. Michael Beck
"How to Be Practically Christian — Covenant Discipleship Groups in Church & Community" led by Rev. David Watson
"Local-Church Marketing Plan Tool" led by United Methodist Communications staff
"Making New Disciples in New Places (Lay Missionary Planting Network)" led by Rev. Bob Crossman
"VBS Horizon Style" led by Rev. Jason Kennedy and Derek Steinacher


"Anatomy of Peace" led by Rev. Nathan Stanton, director of congregational excellence

The book, “The Anatomy of Peace,” asks, “What if conflicts at home, conflicts at work, and conflicts in the world stem from the same root cause? What if we systematically misunderstand that cause?” This workshop will lay the foundation for understanding how having a “heart of peace” can help our relationships go right, whether the other person is a family member, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger. The alternative is to have a “heart at war,” meaning we view others as objects instead of persons. Learn how to change your way of being with others.

The Rev. Nathan Stanton currently serves as director of congregational excellence for the Great Plains United Methodist Conference. Most recently, he has served as new church development coordinator of the Great Plains. He developed the Planter Incubator process for prospective church planters and the Core Crucible process for developing new faith communities. Prior to serving on conference staff he pastored four churches and served as an associate in a cross-racial appointment. He has led rural and urban congregations to spiritual, numerical and financial transformation including outreach strategies into the local community. Specific areas of passion and experience include team development, creativity, outreach strategies and stewardship for local congregations. He is a trained coach for personal and congregational transformation. He has been married to Brenda for 23 years and they have three boys, Noah (17), Isaac (15) and Eli (1). Nathan’s mission is to connect people to Jesus Christ through community and creativity. 


"Bloom where you’re Planted: Church Growth for Small and Mid-Sized Churches" led by Rev. Kimberly

Not everyone’s church has thousands or even hundreds of people (I’m not insulting large churches it’s just a fact), but that does not mean your church is unable to reach people for Christ. Don’t let the size of your congregation determine your God-sized dream. This workshop will discuss critical markers for growth, how to identify gaps and how to make strategic changes in your church. You will also learn about some things you can do today to take the first steps toward church growth.

The Rev. Dr. Kimberly Pope-Seiberling is an ordained elder in the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church and has over 17 years of ministry experience in urban, rural and suburban congregations of all sizes. She has grown churches in each of these settings and deeply believes in the mission of the United Methodist Church, “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” She fervently believes that every church can grow and helps churches across the country find their unique calling to bring Christ to their world.

Kimberly has a Bachelor of Science from Millersville University and a Master’s of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary where she studied as a Beeson Scholar. Kimberly is currently a professor at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky.

"Contextualized, Holistic Evangelism for the 21st Century" led by Rev. Heather Lear

Using the material developed for their Evangelism for Non-Evangelists webinar series, Heather Lear will take a deeper dive into ways that our congregations can articulate their faith and share the Good News in authentic ways. This workshop will build on Mark Teasdale’s plenary, and take a comprehensive look at congregations’ evangelism and discipleship practices and evaluate how current ministry offerings connect with their communities. We will move past relying on best practices to creatively discern how God has gifted and placed your congregation “for such a time as this.”

The Rev. Dr. Heather Heinzman Lear is currently the director of evangelism at Discipleship Ministries in Nashville, Tennessee. She regularly works with local congregations, districts, annual conferences, seminaries and ecumenical bodies to provide training and resources on evangelism and discipleship in the 21st Century. She holds degrees from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Duke Divinity School, and Boston University. Heather is an elder in the North Carolina Annual Conference and previously pastored three local churches. She is grateful for the support of her husband, and the heart of her 9-year-old son, who constantly reminds her of what the Kingdom of God looks like.


"Fresh Expressions" led by Rev. Michael Beck

This workshop will provide a basic introduction to the Fresh Expressions movement, explore the connections between the early Methodist revival, and consider the implications for local churches. Some practices and processes will be offered on how to mobilize your local congregation as a mission force.

The Rev. Michael Beck is South Atlantic coordinator of Fresh Expressions US and North Central District cultivator of Fresh Expressions for the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Michael serves as senior pastor of Wildwood UMC where he directs addiction recovery programs, a jail ministry, a food pantry and a network of fresh expressions that meet in places like tattoo parlors, dog parks and burrito joints. Michael earned a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and is working on a doctorate in semiotics and future studies at Portland Seminary. He currently lives in Wildwood with his wife, Jill, their blended family of eight children, and a pug named Vader.


"How to Be Practically Christian — Covenant Discipleship Groups in Church and Community" led by Rev. David Watson, Five Rivers/Parson districts superintendent

Maybe the best way to grow the church is to shrink it (Honey, I shrunk the church!). Strange as it may sound, this has always been the “Method of Methodism:” small, focused gatherings of those who desired to be faithful Christians. It was where the earliest Methodists enjoyed fellowship and community — but most importantly — where they held each other accountable in their Christian life. “Watching over one another in love” is how they put it. And Wesley considered it a “prudential means of grace” — a practical, sensible way to grow in discipleship as profound as it was simple. This workshop will focus on the “why” and the “how” of Covenant Discipleship as a model for vital ministry both in our congregations and communities. Come re-discover the “Method of Methodism” — and see what being “practically” Christian is all about.

The Rev. David Watson is the Five Rivers and Parsons districts superintendent. He was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from William Jewell College and his Master of Theology degree from Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology where he was part of the formative work in Covenant Discipleship Group ministry with Dr. David Lowes Watson. He was ordained a deacon in the Kansas East Conference in 1982, and elder in 1985. He has served the church under appointment in Kansas for 35 years. He is married to Karen Watson, a speech-language pathologist. They have two children and one granddaughter. Please ask him about her!


"Local-Church Marketing Plan Tool" led by Rev. Ashleigh Joyner, United Methodist Communications 

It’s important that we tell the stories of our churches as a means of connecting with people in our communities. United Methodist Communications has developed a marketing tool that helps promote the local church. But first, it helps churches determine their dreams, discern the needs of their communities and then helps congregations develop ministries that provide the outreach necessary to better serve as disciples of Jesus Christ in the world today. This workshop will walk you through the web-based tool, so you and your congregation can gather data that helps you in your ministry. Rev. Ashleigh Joyner is manager, Local Church Grants at United Methodist Communications, where she helps churches reach out to their communities using communications and marketing tools. UMCOM created the Local Church Services team to equip churches in the areas of web hosting, social media, creative services, and email/media marketing.  

"Making New Disciples in New Places (Lay Missionary Planting Network)" led by Rev. Bob Crossman, Discipleship Ministries

This workshop will introduce Making New Disciples in New Places (LMPN), a key resource that supports the vision of planting one new church every day. Outcomes desired from the use of this resource:

Existing congregations and groups within the church can find value in its contents (e.g., a congregation in rural Nebraska or a remote village in Asia sees how it can apply the principles of this book)

  • It helps move people from discipleship to apostleshi
  • People will be mobilized to start new ministries to make new disciples
  • It will articulate an ecclesial understanding of the gathered and scattered church
  • It will help people understand how Christology leads to Missiology and Ecclesiology

The Rev. Bob Crossman has over 40 years of experience in the ministry, serving as pastor or staff member in churches ranging in size from 13 to 3,000, and as an annual conference and general agency staff member. For the past six years, Bob has been deployed to the South-Central Jurisdiction as a New Church Strategist for Path 1 at Discipleship Ministries. Bob Crossman is the author of “The New Church Handbook: Nuts and Bolts of Planting New Churches in the Wesleyan Tradition,” “Committed to Christ: Six Steps to a Generous Life,” “Six Steps to a Generous Life: Living Your Commitment to Christ,” “50 Ways to Increase Worship Attendance,” “50 Ways to Welcome a New Pastor or Associate Pastor” and “50 Ways to Take Church to the Community.”


"VBS Horizon Style" led by Rev. Jason Kennedy and Derek Steinacher, Horizons UMC in Lincoln

This workshop will share the primary components of what makes a VBS successful — from vision setting to promotion, structure, design, and other strategies. Horizons hosted 591 participants in 2017 with the help of 375 volunteers. Numbers are anticipated to be over 600 this year. Not only do children come for VBS, but significant numbers of families come back and become a part of the church. Horizons’ VBS also puts the church on the map in the minds of community people, which is especially helpful when being located within a neighborhood.

Topics covered include Know Your “Why;” Lead From Your “Why;" Developing Personalities; Promotion; Investing Spiritually, Financially and Physically; and Development of Teams.