Journey Renewal: A road trip to new beginnings

Posted on January 9, 2017 | Rebecca's Random Thoughts

By Rev. Rebecca Trefz, director of ministries

I love taking road trips with my family.  It is always fun to visit new destinations but the journey to get there is equally if not more memorable. Steve and I have had some of the best conversations, the boys have had some of the best giggles and we have discovered some places and people along the way that made the trip extra special.

Well, we have been on a “road trip” of sorts for nine months now with our Journey Renewal process and I have to say it has been filled with great conversations, laughter and tears, and some powerful moments of seeing God work in places and people I never would have expected. Most of all, I have seen the way the Spirit has moved and spoken to these churches—God still has Kingdom work for them to do!

The Journey Renewal “road trip” began in March with Breakthrough Prayer Training. I continue to be amazed and inspired by the ways in which God works through this simple act of praying for the Spirit to “break through” and do more than we could ask or imagine.

Over the months, pastors participated in group cohort trainings every other month.  In alternating months, they brought teams of laity to four different equipping workshops about Breakthrough Prayer, Equipping Laity for Leadership, Knowing and Loving our Neighbors, and Developing Stewardship and Generosity. Following each training and workshop, pastors and their teams worked to implement the things they have learned.

As churches moved towards readiness, we began our consultation visits. Teams that included the District Superintendent, myself and two other persons (clergy or laity) travelled to the church for a time of listening.  We listened to hear what people believed were the great things happening in their congregation and what they loved about their church.  We listed to hear the concerns on people’s hearts.  And then we listened to hear the dreams people had for what God might be calling them to next in their journey as a community of faith.  And then we listened to the Holy Spirit speak through all of the data we gathered and we compiled a report to share with the church that included 3-5 next step prescriptions.  One church, Arthur UMC (ND), has voted to accept their report and has moved forward with implementation and coaching.  Two other charges (N. Sioux City ARK and Presho-Kennebec-Reliance) will be voting soon. The remaining three churches/charges will be having their consultation visits in Spring 2017.

The Journey Renewal process:

Breakthrough Prayer Initiative at DWU 2016Of course, as with any first time journey, we are learning a lot about how we should “travel” on the remainder of this as well as future trips and we anticipate God will continue to shape and refine all of us through this process.  But we also believe that the Spirit is on the move that “God who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it!”  We thank you for partnering in making this a reality and pray that you will continue to be in prayer for these churches, for these pastors and laity who are leading this journey, and for the Cabinet as they discern who will be in the next cohort.  Let’s enjoy the ride!


Photo: Breakthrough Prayer Workshop at Dakota Wesleyan University in 2016. Dave Stucke, Dakotas Conference Communications.