Meet Our Planters

From the beginning of time, God has called new things into existence. We fondly remember the Christian church forming as recorded especially in Acts. There was a holy energy and excitement around new faith communities then, and that excitement still exists today. Below you will find some innovative and exciting new faith communities that are forming through the work of the Western North Carolina Conference.

 

Art Church (A Campus of West UMC): Angela Burris 
A Campus of West UMC, Mooresville, Metro District

In the beginning, God created---the most beautiful, unique and majestic world around us. For this reason, I believe creativity is the human attribute that is most like God and can bring us closer to God.  

Everyone is an artist (even if your 3rd grade art teacher wasn’t impressed). Ultimately, it’s about the process not the product where we encounter God. Along with creating our own unique artworks, we will explore ancient and contemporary art, music, drama, and other art forms to find the sacred Divine.  


Checkpoint Church: Nathan Webb 
Lincolnton, Catawba Valley Distr
ict

Checkpoint Church is the church for nerds, geeks, and gamers. We are striving to be the connection point between the church and nerd culture. By utilizing the vast expanse that is the Internet via online streaming and video-game-based studies, we are reaching those that don't feel welcome by standard models of what church should look like. We’re the short rest to a lengthy campaign in Dungeons & Dragons. We’re the save point right before the boss battle. We want to be the answer to the question: How is Jesus using anime, Pokémon, and Batman to reach the last, least, and lost? 


Gastonia Mission: Vince Ross
A Campus of Christ Church, Gastonia, Catawba Valley District

We are a multicultural, multigenerational, and mission-minded church. We believe that the church isn’t a building, it’s people. Christ Church is making a lasting difference in people, our communities and our world. We are passionate about demonstrating God’s love to others and helping people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.  

Our Mission is to reach millions of unchurched persons by developing thousands of fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Our worship experience is designed with inspirational worship and relevant teaching to inspire you to live life to the fullest, as God intended it. 


The Good Neighbor Movement: Brandon Wrencher 
Greensboro, Northern Piedmont District

The Good Neighbor Movement is a creative spiritual community that is queer inclusive, multiethnic, and black and people of color led. We are a family of neighborhood-based and network-based spiritually-rooted activist groups, most of which are called city villages. The Gospel of John says that God put on flesh and moved into the neighborhood (Jn 1:14, MSG). We live this incarnational reality by gathering on the edges of the church and society with the spiritually and materially underserved to create small spaces of revolutionary love online, in homes, coffee shops, bars, the outdoors, and the streets. 


The Hope Church: Sam Moore
Greensboro, Northern Piedmont District 

The Hope Church is a new start committed to helping people “FEAL” the movement of the Holy Spirit. We live out "FEAL" by:

Feeding people spiritual and natural food.
Educating people about the Word of God and life skills.  
Advocating for people that cannot speak up for themselves.
Liberating people that are in bondage to sin and things that are preventing them from being the best version of themselves.  


Hope Fellowship: Ben Gatton
Sparta, Appalachian District 

Hope Fellowship is a collective community that creates safe spaces for people in Alleghany County to grow, to ask questions, and to experience life together. We do this through  weekly faith based discussion gatherings, weekly meals for anyone in the area, a diverse teen community called Fusion, and a career and life skills academy for high school students. 

At Hope Fellowship Church, every person has a voice. We have loving discussions (instead of sermons) about the Bible that allow us to embrace our differences and listen to each other. Hope Fellowship is a place where those who have never been to church, have stopped going to church, or simply feel uncomfortable in church can find a home. 


Lydia’s Place: Alexis Coleman 
A Campus of First UMC, Asheboro, Uwharrie District

What do you do with a closed church building in a town without a shelter for unhoused women and children, in a neighborhood with no Methodist presence, in a pandemic nonetheless?  

Why not open up the building, start an internet café/virtual learning space, create a non-profit, build new partnerships and start connecting with your neighbors? That’s the dream for Lydia’s Place, the third campus in the First UMC Asheboro family of churches. This campus will provide shelter for unhoused women and children and will become a neighborhood hangout and spiritual home for the underserved in north Asheboro. Why not, indeed? 


The Place: Charlie Rivens
Charlotte, Metro District

Our name, “The Place,” stands on the foundation of Exodus 15:17,”You brought them in and planted them on the mountain of your own possession, the place, O Lord, that you made your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established.” We embrace the place in your heart where the word of God takes root, grows and brings about life transformation. We are an uplifting, prayerful church that focuses on inviting everyone into a relationship with Christ as we lift each other up through respect, hospitality, messages, small groups, and service. 


The Place of New Life: Diane Harper
Mount Airy, Yadkin Valley District

The Place Of New Life is a ministry that focuses the worshiper's attention through the use of creative arts.  The objective is not for the preacher to be at center stage with the message but to be a congregational effort from beginning to end.  The Place Of New Life invites everyone to God's house and to His table to not only partake but to participate in the work of Jesus Christ in the world today. Taking ministry to the streets is very important, so we organize events that make an impact in our community. 


Way in the Wilderness: A Church Without Walls: Kevin Miller and Kevin Bates
Black Mountain, Blue Ridge District

Rev. Kevin Miller and Rev. Kevin Bates, together with their families, bought homes next to one another and set out on a journey to create a building-less church in the mountains of North Carolina. As co-ministers together, they hope to model the teachings of Jesus, who shared a way of life together with his disciples and sent them out in ministry together. They are committed to building thriving rural communities by learning to better love their neighbors and creation, believing that in doing so, all will better know, experience and share the love of the Creator.


Wellspring Congregation: Ashley Crowder-Stanley
Asheville, Blue Ridge District

Wellspring is a new congregation whose foundation is the welcoming, transformative grace of God. We are called to the ministry of reconciliation and love. We affirm that all people are created in the image of God and are worthy of God’s love and grace. 

  As an intentionally inclusive community of faith, Wellspring Congregation welcomes and affirms people of every sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, age, faith history, economic status, marital status, physical and mental ability and education. Wellspring is a welcoming place to grow your faith. 


WithALL Congregation: Rob Parsons 
Saluda, Blue Ridge District

The WithALL Congregation is a church in reverse - not requiring certain beliefs, but rather, rooted in a deep commitment to spiritual practices of hospitality and justice. We love God by walking with our neighbors through thick and thin, seeking to practice Christ's way of disciple making through relationship. 
 
We are committed to cultivating well-being within our most vulnerable families in Polk County trusting in the healing wholeness that comes to neighbor and self when we do anything WithALL our heart, mind, soul, and strength in alignment with the love of God. 


These new faith communities are made possible in large part due to the faithful giving of our United Methodist Churches through apportionments. If you would like more information about church planting in Western NC Conference you can reach out to Dan Pezet, Director of Church Development at dpezet@wnccumc.org. 

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