Emerging Faith Communities

The Mountain Sky Conference is committed to starting emerging faith communities, large and small. As the populations in our area change, we respond by creating emerging faith communities where new opportunities are present. Ranging from small, lay-led, house churches to more traditional clergy-led projects, we aim to create a diverse economy of churches that will meet the needs of the significant cultural, ethnic, and age diversity present throughout our area.

New faith communities can be initiated by individuals, existing congregations, or the conference. They take a variety of forms but hold some basic things in common. Mountain Sky Conference emerging faith communities should…

  1. be theologically Wesleyan,
  2. worship frequently and celebrate the sacraments,
  3. implement effective systems for developing disciples of Jesus,
  4. teach and practice biblical stewardship,
  5. be missional and work toward community transformation,
  6. receive new members,
  7. embed multiplying DNA in all ministries and plant other new congregations in 5 to 7 years, and
  8. will remain connected and accountable to the Mountain Sky Conference of The United Methodist Church.

The Mountain Sky Conference aims to use multiple strategies, including Partner/Parent Church and Multi-site expansion.  You can find a good overview of various techniques from this Church Development Strategies document, created by Path1 and Discipleship Ministries  

Are You Called to Plant Something New? The 5 Ds for Planting

What is God’s vision for the people you are called to serve and the community you are called to gather? How will this community gather, and how will it transform our world?

  • Discover ‘your’ people and the needs in your ‘place.’
  • Define the vision for the ministry or community you’re called to create
    (what is the hoped-for outcome or transformation)
  • Determine your place in this plan and identify partners you will need.

Resources: Planters’ Assessment & Training, Mission Insite, Hatchathon Process


Every journey can benefit from a good MAP -- a ministry action plan. Your MAP describes critical goals, strategies, and timelines for sustainability and success.

  • Create your Ministry Action Plan. We have an adaptable MAP template available to help.
  • Identify some partners that can be part of your planting team.

Resources: Ministry Action Plan Template, Planters’ Training, and Hatchathon Process


‘Gather’ may be a better word, but it doesn’t start with D! Early, it’s important to draw-in your team and then continue to draw-in your people for your community. Be warned: to draw-in, you will need to go-out!

  • Develop a rhythm of being in the community.
  • Develop and memorize your ‘pitch.’
  • Draw-in (Recruit) your planting team and key early stakeholders.
  • Begin drawing-in your community.

Resources: Hatchathon Process


Discipling encompasses all the activites that connect the life of the community to the Life of Jesus, including acts of devotion, worship, mercy, and justice, all in traditional or very non-traditional forms.

  • Explore with your community what discipleship will be within your context and what forms it will take.
  • In this formation, be attentive to needs and concerns of those who have not experienced or have been hurt by ‘church.’

Resources: coaching and cohort support


Life multiplies! Lively faith communities, in spite of natural resistance to change, should always consider the next journey and how blessings should be shared beyond their current bounds.

  • From the beginning, small groups and other activities should be designed with an expectation of multiplication.
  • In years 3 to 5, begin considering how this community can give birth to another community.

Resources: Path1 multi-site training

Do you think you’re called to plant something new? Check out our planter assessment process here.

Hatchathon process, for New Faith Communities or New Ministries

Planting an emerging faith community is a creative, entrepreneurial endeavor requiring the efforts of many. Every Fall, with the help of the Ministry Incubators team, we provide a “2.5-day accelerator experience” called the Hatchathon to move a project from idea to launch. Following the Hatchathon, we offer project 12 months of monthly coaching and four innovator cohort meetings. Because every project should plan that not everything will go according to plan, we invite the Fall Hatchathon participants back to a Spring 2-day Pivot Retreat to tune up projects and focus on sustainability.

Each year, we invite 12 teams (2 to 4 people) to attend the Hatchathon in August and the Pivot Retreat in April, generally free of charge (except for some incidental costs). Teams planting emerging faith communities receive preference, but the Hatchathon is open to any group interested in starting a new place for new people or another new ministry within their established congregation. If we have interest from more than 12 teams, other teams may participate at a significantly reduced cost.

If you have a team interested in participating in the Hatchathon, please go to this form to sign up. Superintendent Jeff Rainwater will contact you about a meeting to discuss your team’s idea

Hatchathon Interest Form

Emerging Faith Community Grants

The Congregational Vitality Committee (CVC) currently supports emerging faith communities through grants from the Mountain Sky Conference budget, the Emerging Faith Community Endowment, and other designated funds. The CVC accepts three grant applications for different stages of an emerging faith community’s development.

More about EFC Grants here