Testimonies

Nicole Reilley

The House Church Network in Los Angeles, CA. http://www.umchousechurches.com/

The AMW has enabled me to ground the UMC House Church Network theologically, Biblically and in the context of an ever-changing world. I have appreciated the quality of instruction, the hands-on practicality of the coaching and the encouragement I have received. The people I have met and the relationships I have formed have had a profound effect on my ministry. What I have learned has enabled me to begin and train a group of leaders who start fresh expressions of church, strengthen local churches through discipleship huddles and grow ministry with young adults. As a clergyperson with 20 years experience in pastoring local churches, the AMW has enabled me to feel grounded and ready for the challenges of ministry today.

Mira Conklin

Jeremiah House in Portland, Oregon. http://jeremiahhousepdx.org/

The Academy has re-awakened me to a call to follow God with my whole life and has given me the tools to live into that call through the creation of a new missional community. Informed by course learnings and guided by an incredible coach, a small group of people with a common vision is now Jeremiah House, a community committed to living together in a neighborhood on the margins, walking alongside our neighbors, and creating rhythms of grace to guide us all. As we discern the particular place to plant ourselves and extend our roots, I am immensely grateful for the wisdom of those who have walked this path before and those who are accompanying us now. I have found guides and friends for the journey in the Academy.

Janet Collinsworth

Associate Pastor at St. Andrew's UMC in Plano, TX. http://www.standrewumc.org

The information, connection, and challenge which I have had the opportunity to share through the Academy for Missional Wisdom over the last year and a half have been a joy and a great learning experience. Through this class I have enjoyed the opportunity to learn and implement cutting edge mission and evangelism techniques, both locally with the Seven Loaves Food Pantry & Community Center and the fledgling Ebenezer community in Dallas, and in the community-based ministries we facilitate in Costa Rica.

David Beckett

Superintendent at Alaska Conference UMC in Anchorage, Alaska. http://alaskaumc.org

In a very brief time, the Academy has put me back in touch with my ‘pre-pastor roots’ and is helping me redirect and refocus my ministry to meet the missional challenges of these days.

Ryan Klinck

Student at Texas A&M Commerce in Commerce, TX.

It's not often that a 22-year-old gets to study and learn from a group of masters at the craft of fostering and growing Christian communities. As part of the first cohort of the Academy, my voice has been part of the conversation people are calling New Monasticism. It is even more unlikely to have someone my age trained in the skill sets of living intentionally and working with his local church and campus ministry to create a community of college undergraduates living intentionally together in two homes. When we launch this community next August, I will serve as Assistant Campus Minister/ House Pastor with eight to nine residents. None of this would have been possible if not for the creation of this academy, the guidance of its leaders, and support from the other members over this past year. We need more encouraging environments like this to help nurture young women and men with a desire for something legitimate, something beyond what they have been taught their whole lives, and to find something that only God's abiding spirit and love can satisfy.

Shelly Webb

Pastor at Western North Carolina Conference in Oakley, NC. http://wnccumc.net/

The most influential skill I am developing through the Academy for Missional Wisdom, is how to imagine the community I serve through the eyes of God. In my community, working as a pastor of a local congregation, I was able to see the acre of lawn turned into a vibrant community garden. I was able to envision our humongous parking area turned into a weekly Farmers Market, where neighbors, farmers, children and volunteers gather for some wholesome life together. Those days of free imagination have turned into a reality with total strangers and church folks cooperating with God. Our neighborhood sits in the middle of a food desert, but now on Mondays and Thursdays, even the poorest and richest among us has access to fresh vegetables and friends.

Tom Hoffman

Associate Pastor at First UMC Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma. http://fumctulsa.org/

What a gift the Academy has been to me, and to Tulsa, OK. On our west side of town we are now transforming an abandoned parsonage into a micro-community house, and have already started a community garden. In "mid-town" we are partnering with a Methodist retirement facility to better connect the residents there with their surrounding neighborhood. And we've been mentored by the Academy at every step. Now, if all this happened to us just because of the first year of the Academy, I wonder what will happen as we continue?

Eric Treider

Lay Person Soldotna, Alaska.

I'm thoroughly impressed with the quality of the instruction we've received through the Academy; the faculty are gifted, caring people who are fearlessly breaking new trail for the rest of us. The Missional Imagination class helped me to understand which elements are necessary for success in mission. The one-on-one attention from our peers and our instructor provided us with valuable feedback.

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