Gateway South District Newsletter
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I like energy -- positive, spirited ENERGY! Often as I worship and work with congregations I invite people to share a high five with their neighbor. I do this to celebrate and give a HIGH FIVE to all that God is doing in and through our local congregations and connectional ministry. I do this also as I invite each person to understand and remember that there are just a handful of basics that we focus on to grow vital congregations.

There is much talk about vital congregations in Greater New Jersey and across the wider Church.  I have discovered there are various levels of understanding about what the five areas of vitality is all about.

In 2010 the Council of Bishops and Connectional Table (sort of Global Church Council) commissioned a study to look at congregations across the church to see what ‘was working’ in transforming lives and making an impact in the world.

They discovered that regardless of context, theological stances and location, all thriving congregations shared these five BASIC things: 
  1. Life-Changing Worship
  2. Small Group Ministries
  3. Discipleship
  4. Generosity & Stewardship
  5. Hands-On Mission
In addition, their study showed that highly vital congregations:

 • Effective pastoral leadership including inspirational preaching, mentoring laity, and effective management

• Multiple small groups and programs for children and youth

 • A mix of traditional and contemporary worship services

• A high percentage of spiritually engaged laity who assume leadership roles
(from Call to Action:Steering Team Report-2010)

Greater New Jersey churches are becoming more vital because we are engaging in resources for our clergy, laity and congregation that support these markers.  Click on the links below to learn about and register for: 

Laity Leadership Academy
PaCE peer learning groups for clergy
Communities of Hope
Clergy coaching
Small Group Symposium
Mission Fund Giving
Doxology Worship Conference 
A Future With Hope
Team Vital

I want to give a HIGH FIVE for ALL that you are doing to lift Christ’s Church to bless God’s world. I also want to give a HIGH FIVE so that we remember and focus on together
  1. Life-Changing Worship
  2. Small Group Ministries
  3. Discipleship
  4. Generosity & Stewardship
  5. Hands-On Mission
God is LOVE …a LOVE that our world needs so desperately.  You and I are called for such a time as this to be the Church-Christ’s Body, active in God’s world. HIGH FIVE!

Your partner in growing disciples, vital congregations and transforming the world,
Pastor Brian Roberts, Guest Writer
Cape Atlantic District Superintendent

To learn more about Congregational Vitality


Church Opportunities and Resources

Church Happenings

Click here to view all the church to church happenings on the Gateway South District! Church events and flyers are updated on a regular basis so you will never miss out. You can also visit the Southern Regional Informational page to view events that are going on throughout the region. If you would like your church event to be posted on the district events page please email  
Churches throughout Greater New Jersey are using IGNITE as a way to start the new school year of youth ministry, or as the catalyst event to launch a brand new youth group/ministry. Will your church be one of them? Register today and let there be light!
Bishop's Day: Southern Region

Laity Session
Date: Wednesday, September 21
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location:Sicklerville UMC

Clergy Session
Date: Thursday, September 22, 2016
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location:St. John's UMC in Turnersville
Engaging Young Adults: Video Resource
Check out this short video to share with your congregation on how to improve ministry with young people. Additional videos and resources can be found by visiting the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.
Watering the Seed: Grant Writing to Start or Sustain a Local Ministry
Date: Saturday, November 5
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location: Korean United Methodist Church, 1995 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill NJ 08003

Click here for more information.

Now Available: GNJ Development Grant Application for 2017

The United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey is providing development grants to leaders and congregations that:
  • Encourage innovative ministry that connects with people in the community
  • Develop lay and clergy leadership for making disciples and transforming the world
  • Maximize vital congregations
Applications must be received by October 5, 2016. Please email all applications and questions to Ginny Kaiser.

Click here for additional information or click here to download the 2017 grant funding application.

Southern Region Prayers

  • Retired local Pastor Ramon (Ray) Putnam who is in Arista Care at Meadow Springs nursing home in Plymouth Meeting.
  • Healing for Retired Pastor Linwood Sharp
  • Healing for Pastor Lori Mitchell
  • For ALL the congregations resuming Sunday School after Labor Day
  • For all the educators in our congregations that are heading back to school
  • For all the students of various ages and stages in their education as they hone the gifts God has given them and seek to use them to bless God's world.
Pinelands Center At Mount Misery
Pinelands Center at Mt. Misery is a campground and retreat center with year-round availability!  Established in 1947 as a facility for youth to experience the great outdoors.  Church groups can now use the facility for weekend or day retreats, workshops and meetings, or take a group on an extended week long adventure. Bask under the stars each night and enjoy the campfire and s‘more! Click here for more information.
Church Conference Schedule: Now Online
A friendly reminder that all church paper work needs to be completed online by October 3. Church conference schedule for Gateway South District can be viewed online by clicking here.
Lost and Found
A green men’s jacket was left at Evangelical UMC in Clarksboro after the memorial service for Mark O’Shields.  Please call Debbie Sidorakis at 732.359.1080 for information.

"Preach with Precision, Passion and Purpose"

Preaching and Worship Workshop
: Saturday, September 24
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 
Location: St. Peter's United Methodist Church, 501 E 8th St, Ocean City, NJ 08226
Cost: $10 and includes lunch
For more information and to register: Click Here

Catalyst One Day Event: Sponsored by the Southern Region Team of GNJ

Date: Wednesday, November 9
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
Location: Lancaster County Bible College, 2392 Mount Joy Rd. Manheim, PA 17545
Cost: 1-9 persons are $119 each and 10 or more persons are $99 each
For more information and to register: Click Here
Questions? Please contact Nicole Toast
Copyright © 2016 The United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey, All rights reserved.
Gateway South District

Our mailing address is:
The United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey
205 Jumping Brook Road, Neptune, NJ 07753

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