ENGAGE Breakout Sessions

Friday Night

Tom Bassford
In Search of New Lampstands (Matthew 5:15)

This is a look at the changing nature of church missions toward sustainable solutions that help people lift themselves out of poverty and why the church is uniquely positioned for this paradigm shift.


Each session has classes that will explore mission ministries designed for:

Emergency Relief

Transformation through Relationships

Church & Community Transformation


Breakout Session #1:  Saturday, 11:00 AM – Noon

Mission 3.0 (Part 1)
Tom Bassford, Founder and President of Significant Matters and SATalks in Olathe, KS
Why Sustainability Matters - An overview of Mission 1.0/2.0/3.0 and the need to create strategic alignment within the four domains of church missions.

Community Partner Program
Rev. Molly Simpson Hayes and Janna Elliott
Keller UMC became a Community Partner in 2016 from their continued development of local school partnerships. Community Partners help people learn how they can get the most out of their coverage from the Health and Human Services Commission. This allows the church to be an active participant in the community as well as supports many of the other serving ministries at the church. Join us to hear about our successes, failures, and impacts in the community to launch the program and maintain it all the while holding true to our vision of sharing Christ's love with the world around us.   

English as a Second Language
Rev. Armando Alvarado, Associate Pastor - Hispanic & Mission Ministries at Grapevine FUMC
Explore the possibilities of reaching a diverse community & inviting them into your church. Language is only the beginning!

Supporting Emergency Global Health Needs Through Maua Methodist Hospital
Stanley Gitari, Director of Community Health at Maua Methodist Hospital in Kenya
Through The Advance of the United Methodist Church you can support life-saving health ministry on the other side of the world.   Stanley Gitari will share how the emergency ministries of Maua Methodist Hospital meet the emergency needs of this underserved region of Kenya. Through the Advance, 100% of your gifts go to support patient care through not only emergency medical care, but also through ministries such as deworming treatment for school children and rural health clinics for persons who live to far from the hospital to access its care.  Your congregation can be connected to this life-saving ministry through intentional communication with the ministry team there.  If you are looking for a global connection, this is a great place to start.

Moving from Benevolence to Partnership
Carmen MacMillan, Executive Director, Wesley Mission Center, FUMC Mansfield
In 2015, FUMC Mansfield’s Wesley Mission Center estimated up to 40 % of clients seeking services from the Wesley Mission center were caught in a payday lending trap. To address the need for an alternative in their community (for those with no access to traditional credit) their leadership created the Unity Lending program, with the aim of equipping clients with resources and tools to create longer-term financial stability. In this workshop, we will share our program model and what we’ve learned.

Unity Lending gives their community access to urgent financial help, and in some instances, a way to eliminate existing payday loans more quickly. Clients meet with a financial coach who helps assess their situation holistically. After determining a loan amount & interest free payment plan, the client sets monthly coaching meetings and receives practical tools for managing their finances. Savings behavior is cultivated through a matched savings component. The ministry serves approximately 30 new clients each month.  In Unity Lending, community members recover a sense of dignity, self-efficacy and belonging by knowing they’re paying back into a program to help a future neighbor in need. We nurture the spirit by recognizing the inherent value each person has and by journeying with our clients towards fullness of life, as God intended.

Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP)
Arborlawn UMC
PEP (Prison Entrepreneurship Program) is a life-giving ministry that provides mentoring, education, case management and preparatory classes in business development for convicted felons currently serving sentences and committed to change.   Volunteer opportunities include attending monthly support sessions, mentoring, serving as business plan advisors, partnering in re-entry, Bible Studies, and a variety of other ways that support transformation.   Pat Gotcher, one of the coordinators of Arborlawn UMC’s partnership with PEP says, “The PEP Program is transforming lives, both those of the participants and of the volunteers.  Showing up is critical to these men.  Being there is redemptive for them and for the volunteers.”  Many volunteers are former executives or business owners, but volunteers come from all walks of life.  PEP graduates have a 7% 3-year recidivism rate, compared to a national rate of 50%.  100% are employed within 90 days of release from prison, with a starting wage averaging over $11/hour.   

From Mission to Justice and Advocacy
Scott Atnip, Texas Impact Congregational Outreach Director and Bee Moorhead, Texas Impact Executive Director
Texas Impact is the state's oldest and largest interfaith advocacy network in Texas, representing the shared social concerns of the UMC Annual Conferences and other denominational and faith groups in Texas. This session will focus on tools to help local churches engage in their community, learn about challenges facing our neighbors, and how story collection and advocacy can help improve the lives of our neighbors.

Ongoing VIM Partnerships
Rev. Clinton Jones, Associate Pastor at FUMC Cleburne with David and Cindy Ceballos, GBGM Missionaries in Panama
On-going Volunteers in Mission partnerships require congregational analysis, thoughtful selection of missionary partners, leadership development, open and candid dialogue between missional partners and their VIM partners, and continual promotion in the church. Rev. Clint Jones has assisted congregations to develop two international VIM partnerships in the past four years with Rev. David & Cindy Ceballos in Panama and Rev. Jonathan & Donna Baker in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This session will discuss the topics of congregational analysis, selecting missionary partners, leadership development, managing your relationship with your missional partners, and ways to promote your VIM story/cause in your church. There will be a focus on developing lasting partnerships and the benefits of repeatedly at a site.

Bridging the Generational Gap
Rev. Amber Massingill, CTC Assoc. Director of Faith Formation and Kristen Von Garten, Director of Nurture at Salado UMC
One of the most overlooked cultural gaps in church mission is the generational gap.  Churches - like current society - can now have up to 5 generations in one community.  Studies prove that each generation can have different values, expectations, and communication styles.  How can we understand each other better in order to have intergenerational mission teams, cross-generational mentoring, and empowering relationships in our complex communities?  This workshop will explore common characteristics of each generation and apply it to building more age-inclusive teams.  We will talk about using your own intergenerational teams/ministries to more effectively understand and reach your community.

Breakout Session #2:  Saturday, 1:00 – 2:00PM

Backpack Lunches and Other Relational Food Ministries
Led by Susan Luttrell, serves at FUMC Mansfield in Serving & Outreach Ministries
How can food ministry open doors to not only meeting immediate needs but also meeting and serving our neighbors?  Come and learn about backpack school lunch ministry and how this connection empowered one local church to grow in the ways they know and serve their neighbors.         

Community Gardens
Rev. Margret and Ben Fields, Co-founders of Project-44
Feeding people is at core of who we are as Christians and United Methodists. People have a real need for access to fresh produce. More than that, people have a real need for the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ. Community Gardens fulfill the call to feed the hungry (Matthew 25) while providing a living example of what “church” should be. A thriving community garden involves more than just the desire to connect with the community and feed the hungry. Community gardens begin with a vision and a plan. This workshop will provide guidance in the development and implantation of a community garden that can be adapted to use in big and small communities.

Mission 3.0 (Part 2)
Tom Bassford, Founder and President of Significant Matters and SATalks in Olathe, KS
It's Complicated but Not Impossible - A look at the differences between relief, betterment and development and how to move volunteers into missional maturity through church missions.

School Partnerships Beyond Backpacks
Amanda McNulty, member at Alliance UMC and Director of Kids Hope USA
Learn how your church can partner with a local school to provide wrap around support for the staff, students and community.  You will learn how you can provide mentors, volunteers, participate in school events, host afterschool clubs and much, much more. It all starts with building a relationship with a school near you.

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Frederick Douglas

Inviting the Latino Community Into our Churches
Rev. Armando Alvarado, Associate Pastor - Hispanic & Mission Ministries at Grapevine FUMC
Engage, Encourage, & Empower are three of the most important actions needed to bring change & diversity into your community of faith. What if ...?

Supporting Family Transformation through the AIDS Orphan Home Ministry of Maua Methodist Hospital
Stanley Gitari, Director of Community Health at Maua Methodist Hospital in Kenya
One of the ways Maua Methodist Hospital works to transform the lives of families is through the building of small sustainable homes for families who have been impacted by AIDS.  Your contribution of $3000 through Maua Methodist Hospital will enable a family to have a home, and school tuition and uniforms for their children. Your church can bring a team to Kenya to build a house or provide financial resources for it to be built with local labor.  Come and hear the stories of transformation through this ministry and learn how you can partner.

Project Transformation
Julie Harding, Executive Director of Project Transformation Central Texas
Transforming Lives Through Relationships: This is the tagline of Project Transformation, and we aim to live that out through all our relationships: with interns, children, volunteers, and even with church and other non-profit staff.  In this workshop, we will discuss how we achieve this through Project Transformation, and how you can apply those same principles to ministries your church may already be involved in.  We will explore what it looks like to intentionally seek out diversity, and how we can find joy in the midst of messy ministry. 

Measuring Program Impact
Carmen MacMillan, Executive Director, Wesley Mission Center, FUMC Mansfield
This workshop is designed for program directors, executive directors, and those responsible for donor reporting & grant management.  We will explore key elements of program design and progress indicators. Workshop participants will review effective program evaluation strategies, explore tools most helpful for information gathering and reporting, and why project evaluation is essential to long term organizational sustainability.

Exploring Community Transformation through Missions
Rev. Mike Rodden, Associate Pastor at St. Barnabas UMC
How do we engage in missions that truly seek to both do no harm and do the most good?  Do mission opportunities have to be either international or local?  How could they be both?  In an effort to both provide life and find life through missions, we'll explore ways to choose and invest in international and local mission efforts that transform both us and others.

Breakout Session #3:  Saturday, 2:15-3:15PM

Learning Resources to Get Started
Rev. Dawne Phillips, Central Texas Central Director of Missions
This session will share a number of resources churches have used to begin the transformation process from emergency relief to ministries that transform through relationships.   What can you study to deepen the understanding of your mission leadership?   What Central Texas Conference resources are available to help your church go deeper into mission with your congregation, your community, and the world.

Connecting Neighbors
Rita Hotz, Central Texas Conference Disaster Response Task Force
A church prepared for disaster ministry has taken steps to safeguard the people and property of the church and is prepared to respond to the suffering of their neighbors in a time of crisis. UMCOR’s Connecting Neighbors Training Program is a local-church disaster readiness program designed to equip your church volunteers with the information and tools they need to help guide the local church as it prepares to respond to disasters in your own church or in the community.  Come and learn how this program can be brought to your church and prepare you for all types of situations.

Partnerships with Refugee Services of Texas
Becky Storey, Area Director of Refugee Services of Texas
Founded in 1978, Refugee Services of Texas (RST) is a social-service agency dedicated to providing assistance to refugees and other displaced persons fleeing persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group - as well as to the communities that welcome them. RST provides services to hundreds of refugees, asylees, survivors of human trafficking, and related vulnerable populations from over 30 different countries of origin each year. During this workshop, you will learn about the refugee resettlement process and the ways that community members and faith communities can partner with our offices across Texas in Amarillo, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston.

Human Trafficking
Rev. Jannette Miller,  Pastor at Harker Heights UMC
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and it is happening all over the world, including right here in our own communities.  Come and learn the facts and the myths about human trafficking, and more importantly learn how you and your church can take part in the fight against human trafficking.  This is applicable to any church size and even individuals.  Topics discussed will include:  Facts and Myths of Human Trafficking, How to Begin a Ministry Against Human Trafficking, Specific Ways You Can Contribute (Prevention, Intervention, Education, Restoration), and The Importance of Collaboration within the Community.  Participants will leave informed, resourced, and ready to act!

Common $enSe
Rev. Amy Tate-Almy, Money Matters Ministries and Assoc. Pastor at City Point UMC
This 50-minute segment will look at the theology and philosophy of money with an emphasis on long-term education for financial improvement vs. short-term emergency hand-outs. We will go through a simple debt reduction process that can be easily applied by you and/or taught to others.  We will also briefly look at some classes or resources that can be utilized by congregations wanting to both encourage personal financial responsibility along with a moral economy, which is an underlying need for true financial change.

Mission 3.0 (Part 3)
Tom Bassford, Founder and President of Significant Matters and SATalks in Olathe, KS
You Can Do It...We Can Help - A look at some of the resources, first steps and examples available to help your church make the transition and accelerate their learning curve.

The Village Concept
Rev. Armando Alvarado, Associate Pastor - Hispanic & Mission Ministries at Grapevine FUMC
This concept helps churches connect to the real issues involved in a village or mission. Join me as we explore Latvia, Kenya, Costa Rica & Grapevine. Learn how to go deep and under the surface of communities who are considered to be more than a mission.

Bringing a Mission Team to Maua Methodist Hospital:  Transforming the World and Your Congregation
Stanley Gitari, Director of Community Health at Maua Methodist Hospital in Kenya
God works through relationships and there is no better way to love our brothers and sisters in Kenya than to go in person and share a week in their lives.  A mission trip provides opportunities to see first-hand the many medical and community ministries of Maua Methodist Hospital and also creates friendships between persons and churches with the power to transform lives in both cultures.  There are many gifts and skills appropriate for mission in Kenya.  Come and learn how your church might bring a full team or partner with another church within the conference.