The Arizona New Church Ministry (NCM) Team supports the establishment and growth of new Disciples communities in Arizona through relationship, guidance, and resources. The team is also responsible for establishing and maintaining clear practices and policies for new communities on their journey to becoming charted Disciples churches.
Leadership & Team
Rev. Liz DeWeese
Rev. Dr. Jay R. Hartley
Rev. Victor Coriano
Pastor Arturo Laguna
From the New Church Ministry Plan for 2022
Areas of Focus for the New Church Ministry Team
- Continue development of the New Church Ministry Team
- Complete Arizona policies and procedures for
- becoming a Disciples congregation in formation*
- becoming an affiliating* Disciples congregation
- becoming a chartered* Disciples congregation
- Continue to support and build relationship with current congregations in formation
- Build connections between forming and established congregations
- Host monthly “Covenant Conversations” with congregations in formation utilizing the curriculum developed by the general church
- Build team leadership to supplement staff involvement
*Denotes an official status within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Becoming a New Church
How new Disciples communities are started in Arizona
There are four typical ways new Disciples communities in Arizona are created.
- Affiliation: Affiliating congregations are existing communities, either non-denominational or associated with a different tradition, who have made a choice to explore the possibility becoming a Disciples congregations.
- Transitional: These new congregations are started intentionally by a Disciples congregation that is nearing the end of their visible ministry. Often these happen in areas where the community demographics have changed and are different from the existing congregation.
- Pastor/Individual initiated: These communities are started by an individual with a vision or a call to serve a community in Arizona.
- Region initiated: These communities are started through Regional initiatives to begin Disciples communities.
We recognize that in addition to these four typical ways new Disciples communities are created there will be new and innovative communities that will not fit the molds we are used to. Our Region and New Church Ministry Team are committed to honoring that innovation and welcome meetings with individuals and groups that fit that description if not the above four.
Each of these types of start will use the Arizona New Church process to begin their ministry with Disciples. The goals of this process are:
- to build relationship between the new congregation and the Region,
- to begin to live into covenant with each other (New Church, Region, and established Arizona Disciples congregations),
- to support and enable the new congregation’s sustainability at charter, and
- to support and enable the new congregation to build vitality into their ministry.
Individuals or communities interested in becoming a Disciples congregation should contact the Regional Office (email@example.com).
Support New Churches
Are you a part of an Arizona Disciples congregations? If you said yes, then at some point your church was a new church!
Starting a congregation is challenging work. It takes years of dedication by a minister and core group of leaders working diligently to understand the needs of their community, the ministry they can provide, and to develop the identity that will inform their mission and vision. These new communities are resilient, faithful, and innovative. Their ministry calls people into faith community who may be resistant to traditional church, but are searching for the meaning and connection that comes with a church movement.
One of the most important ways to help new congregations is for established Arizona Disciples Churches to walk alongside a congregation in formation. Partner congregations are:
- prayer partners,
- resource providers, and
- compassionate companions.
Being a partner congregation looks different for every congregation, but every congregation can be a partner to a congregation in formation.
Contact the New Church Chair, or the Regional Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) if your church is interested in being a partner church.
Starting a new congregation is financially difficult. While new congregations might start with fewer people, the reality is that often the expenses are similar to existing congregations. Following God’s call in their community means trying new things, investing in their community, and, while less exciting, things like keeping the air conditioning running.
The Pentecost Special Offering is received in Disciples congregations each year on the Sunday prior to Pentecost, and Pentecost Sunday. Your gifts to that offering directly support both New Church Ministry across the denomination as well as New Church Ministry here in the Arizona Region. Learn more about the Pentecost Special Offering and give a gift at disciplesmissionfund.org.
If you would like to give an individual gift to Arizona New Church Ministry or your church would like to regularly help support a new church here in Arizona, contact the Regional Office (email@example.com).
Documents & Policies
Coming in 2023
- New Church Packet including
- “In formation” Checklist, Covenant, & Application
- New Church Charter Checklist
- New Church Covenant Part 1: Congregational Covenantal Affirmations for “in formation” and “affiliating” congregations
- New Church Covenant Part 2: Regional Covenantal affirmation: Congregational Rights & Responsibilities
Disciples New Church Ministry (General Ministry) hosts regular events and trainings available to members and leaders of congregations in formation and anyone interested in new church ministry. If you are interested in New Church Ministry in Arizona, reach out to the regional office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
At its annual Leadership Academy, New Church Ministry gathers leaders from all across regions in the United States and Canada. Pastors, church planters, chaplains, and others who are interested in becoming empowered are invited to join this learning event.
Further details and registration available at the Leadership Academy page on newchurchministry.org.
New Church Hacks
New Church Hacks provides practical (and sometimes peculiar) prompts for churches from start to restart. This free webinar series, hosted by interim Minister of New Church Strategies Jose Martinez, is jam-packed with clever solutions to tricky problems and empowers courageous leaders with the tools, tips and how-tos to start, sustain and strengthen congregations. For regular updates and a listing of episodes visit the New Church Hacks page on newchurchministry.org.