SCD 2018 to equip leaders to transform congregations

June 25, 2018
Submitted by Steve Horswill-Johnston
Executive Director, Discipleship Ministries

United Methodist conference leaders, clergy and laity will be able to choose from over 100 sessions and workshops in August at the annual School of Congregational Development (SCD), a premier event for equipping church leaders to lead vital, dynamic and life-changing congregations.
More than 500 bishops, conference staff, district superintendents, pastors and lay leaders are expected to attend SCD 2018, which will be hosted by the California-Pacific Annual Conference Aug. 15-18 in San Diego. The theme of this year’s event is MOMENTUM.
“The School of Congregational Development was the place I went to learn how to plant a new church. It was the place that fed my ministry year after year, after year,” said the Rev. Junius B. Dotson, General Secretary (CEO) of Discipleship Ministries. “If you're looking for a place to be fed, if you're looking for a place to have your ministry ignited to catch a wave of momentum, be at the School of Congregational Development in San Diego in August.”
Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson, Associate General Secretary for Leadership Ministries at Discipleship Ministries, said the worship, plenary sessions and workshops, led by outstanding speakers and presenters, makes the SCD the church’s premier event for learning.
“It's sort of like one-stop shopping. You can come into this setting, and you have persons in the areas of evangelism, Christian education, worship, discipleship-making and children’s ministry. You name it, it's there,” Wilson said.
SCD 2018 is sponsored by Discipleship Ministries, New Church Starts (Path1) and Global Ministries.
Regular registration fee for the four-day event is $395 until July 15, when the cost will be $450. Seminary students who are enrolled in a master of divinity program may register for $175. Registration includes event materials and full participation in all activities. Participants are responsible for their own travel, lodging and meals not provided by the event.
Scholarships are available for racial/ethnic churches, small churches, churches in the Cal-Pac Conference and the Western Jurisdiction. For more information, go to for English and para Espanol.
To register for SCD 2018, go to For more information, including the event schedule and lodging details, download a pdf file here.

Rev. Rudy Rasmus, senior pastor at St. John's United Methodist Church in Houston and a SCD participant for the past 22 years, will co-lead two workshops providing practical insights for keeping a declining church vital.
“What we’re talking about is recovering the soul of the church for its future,” Rasmus said. “Some of the information might even be scary and challenging because we're in scary and challenging times. But the honesty and the integrity of the information will change your life.”
Dotson, Wilson, Rasmus and other SCD speakers tell why they believe the annual event is so important for developing church leaders in three brief videos available online at and
On Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 15, participants can choose from among 10 three-hour pre-conference seminars sponsored by The Upper Room for no additional charge.
Two worship services and four plenary sessions will be interspersed among workshops during the event. The plenaries and their speakers are:
  • Plenary I: From Lost to Found – Sam Yun, pastor, Embrace Church, and Emma Vega, pastor, Montclair First UMC and Westmont UMC
  • Plenary II: From Injustice to Justice – Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, and Rosie Rios, program coordinator, You Are Not Alone migrant children’s program
  • Plenary III: From Digital Isolation to Human Connection: Saving iGen – Jean Twenge, professor, San Diego University and author of “iGen,” and James Kang, director of communications, Cal-Pac Conference
  • Plenary IV: From Mono to Multi – William Debos, senior pastor, Ben Camp, chief ecclesial entrepreneur, and Ruben Torres, associate pastor, at First UMC of Escondido; Adiel Depano, lead pastor, Ruben Esponda, associate pastor, and Siosaia Tu’itahi, associate pastor, at Santa Ana UMC, and John (Sione) Finau, pastor, Keolumana UMC
On Saturday morning during a series of Ideamart sessions, leaders will share key ideas and ministries that participants can implement when they return home.The workshops will be presented in six languages and ministry groups: English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino Ministry and Pacific Islander Ministry.
The mission of Discipleship Ministries is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit, the Press Center at or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.