SW District THRIVE! Local Church Leadership Training Event
Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM

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Edgewater UMC
19190 Cochran Blvd.
Port Charlotte, FL 33948

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Sandy Voigt


Local Church Leadership Training Event

Saturday, February 10, 2018
Edgewater UMC, 19190 Cochran Blvd, Port Charlotte FL 33948

Must register one person at a time.

Cost: $10.00 cash or check payable to "South West District" at the door.
Lunch and child care provided.


An opportunity for all local church laity looking to serve more effectively.   Begin and end the day with worship and a message from District Superintendent Rini Hernandez. Each participant will choose a morning and afternoon workshop session; selections include finance, church security, worship, student ministries, disaster recovery, local outreach, and Fresh Expressions (non-traditional ways of doing church).


9:00 - 9:30 am: Registration and Hospitality

9:30 am: Plenary session 1 with Rini Hernandez

10:30 am: Break

10:45 am - 12:15 pm: Morning Workshop

12:15 - 1:00 pm: Lunch (provided on-site)

1:00 - 2:30 pm:  Afternoon Workshop

2:30 pm: Plenary session 2 with Rini Hernandez


Workshop descriptions:


School Church Partnerships - Rev. Lisa Degrenia, Trinity UMC - Sarasota

Transform the world beginning in your own backyard. Congregations of all sizes are partnering with their neighborhood schools to narrow the opportunity gap for vulnerable children. You can, too. Join us for an interactive discussion of first steps, best practices, and resources.


Dinner Church - Pastor Heather Evans, Director of Local Reach, Grace UMC – Trinity

Caught the bug for Fresh Expressions and ready to try dinner church in your community?  Jump in for a deeper dive into the how-to’s of getting a fruitful dinner church started and learn from the successes and growth opportunities of those who have been through the process.


FE 101: The Heart of Fresh Expressions (morning) - Matt Harrell, Fresh Expressions Coordinator for the Florida United Methodist Conference, and the Fresh Expressions Team

This workshop will be a great introduction for those who do not know anything or know very little about the Fresh Expressions initiative.  We will define what Fresh Expressions is, learn about what is going on with Fresh Expressions around the conference, and take a look at the different roles of supporting a Fresh Expression of church.


FE 201: Fresh Expressions Incubator (afternoon) - Matt Harrell, Fresh Expressions Coordinator for the Florida United Methodist Conference, and the Fresh Expressions Team

This workshop is for those who attended Workshop I or have been to a past Fresh Expressions event.  We will begin to look a little deeper at the Fresh Expressions initiative and then lead attendees through a time of dreaming and working through what a Fresh Expression in each leader's own context could look like, including next steps to get started.


Disaster Recovery - Pam Garrison, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator

What if Disaster Response is a way to transform the world for Jesus Christ? Hurricane Irma was the most destructive hurricane ever to make landfall in Florida. Irma broke all records with 2.6 million families registering for FEMA assistance, 48 counties declared and nearly 40% of our churches experiencing some kind of damage. Irma is the first time in history that a Category 4 storm made landfall twice on the continental US in one year – and in one state!  It’s going to take the Florida Conference millions of dollars in grants and donations, thousands of volunteers and a minimum of 3-5 years to help our churches and communities recover. A daunting task or a challenging opportunity?  Come learn more about what we’re doing and why we need you - wherever you are, whatever you can do, wherever God leads. Irma was a really big storm but with God, we are bigger!


Finance - Tony Prestipino, Treasurer, Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

New and experienced finance team members will receive an overview of basic church finances.  Learn the requirements for separation of duties to safeguard both the dollars donated and the people involved in finance.  Understand the basics of budgeting, from estimates of income to building a budget that supports your missions.  Learn how stewardship is more than a sermon a year at the end of a pledge drive, and find out what's new in finance for 2018.


Connecting With an Unchurched Culture - Rev. Daniel Jackson, Director, Vital Church Initiative, The Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

Learn simple strategies for identifying and connecting with the culture of a church’s mission field.  Included will be planning and researching ideas for how to identify the mission field culture, the church’s culture, and how to bridge the chasm between them.


Reaching Out to Students (morning) - Pastor David Schutte, Edgewater UMC

Church growth is based around relationships.  This is 10 times as true for student ministry. This workshop teaches you how to best leverage your student leaders and youth pastor to maximize their relationships in order to tighten the group of students and grow your program. It all revolves around what matters most: getting out into the community and building relationships! David Schutte has a degree in marketing experience and more than 10 years experience as a youth pastor, and will be leading Edgewater's new campus.


Leading a Student Ministry (afternoon)

Learning how to effectively lead a group of youth is among the more difficult challenges to master. This workshop will look at issues like understanding your church’s culture, managing different types of students, and planning for disciple-making. Learn key concepts as helpful tools to lead your youth group well.


Church Security Workshop

Look at ways to develop and maintain a program of safety and security for your local church. Federal Officers Cesar Villafana (retired) and Oscar Negron cover everything from dealing with daily minor security concerns to active shooting scenarios. Learn about common-sense approaches to doing the best we can in impossible situations.

-Cesar J. Villafana is a local pastor at Wesley Hispanic UMC in Coral Gables, Florida. Prior to retirement, he served as a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Safe Street Task Force and in deterring recruitment into radical groups. Oscar Negron is a recruitment officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and has many years of experience as a field agent.


How to Share Your Faith  - Rev. Melanie Fierbaugh, Lake Placid UMC

Does the idea of evangelism sound scary? This workshop will help you prepare to have a conversation about your faith with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Learn practical tips for sharing your story and connecting with others, even outside the church.


Worship Matters - Will Gann, Worship Pastor, Edgewater UMC

This workshop will help worship ministry leaders work out the many complex situations they face. We will share the cultural foundations that shape who we are and what we do as part of worship. And we will discuss topics such as confrontation, development, excellence, engagement, and togetherness. Join us to learn practical tips to grow and unify your team, run rehearsals, lead a congregation, and transition between songs. We will also have time for Q&A.

-Will Gann has served as the Worship Pastor of Edgewater Church since 2014 and has been in ministry for over 14 years. During this time, he has served in Tennessee, Washington, California, Florida, and internationally. He not only has a passion for worship, but also has a heart for teaching and equipping teams of people for the mission of the Church.


Donate here to the Florida Conference Hurricane Irma Fund to help churches and the neighborhoods that surround them. Volunteer to bring yourself or a team to help with the recovery.

Contact Us

The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church

450 Martin L King Jr Ave
Lakeland, FL 33815

(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011