By Scott Pattison & Jill Jackson-Sears
Two years ago the Revitalization Task Force of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Leah Hidde-Gregory, created the Nehemiah Journey, a program for local churches seeking revitalization. The goal was to help pastors get healed up, churches prayed up, and congregations revitalized. We have seen God create a wonderful community within the first 30 minutes of the initial gatherings, with pastors expressing their surprise as they realized they were in a safe space to express their hopes and fears, frustrations, and hurts.
We now have two years under our belt with the initial pilot program and the Nehemiah Journey is now a ministry of the Global Methodist Church. The journey continues under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Scott Pattison, senior pastor of the Connexion Church, a Global Methodist congregation in Kokomo, Indiana, and the Rev. Jill Jackson-Sears, senior pastor of Lake Highlands United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas.
Much has changed since the first gathering of the team that created this process, and the two seasons of the Nehemiah Journey. Just this year alone, General Conference was postponed for the third time, the Global Methodist Church was launched, and many churches around the world are now discerning whether to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church, with many choosing to align with the GM Church. As we look to the third run of the Nehemiah Journey in 2023, we are excited to offer a completely revamped Nehemiah Journey, starting in January. We are excited to offer the new format that will be even more helpful for pastors and churches moving into this next season.
We know many churches are working hard to adapt from the effects of the pandemic, and now contending with challenging denominational conversations. With these hurdles in mind, we are adjusting the Nehemiah Journey to better meet the needs of this season. We are using Dr Sam Rainer’s “Three Knows” — know yourself, know your church, and know your community — as our working framework for the journey. Our goal is to help the pastor understand where he or she is in this crazy liminal season. We will prepare the pastor for leading the church in its understanding of identity and purpose. Finally, we will walk alongside the pastor in the implementation of a visioning process that will propel the church into a new season of Christ-centered ministry.
The foundation of our work together is the covenant that we share with God and with one another. As God is doing a new thing with us, we are finding freedom to grow in faith and vision for the future. The foundation of the Nehemiah Journey is a culture of encouragement and Holy-Spirited guidance. While we will have some sessions focused on where the pastor is in a personal and vocational sense, we will also have a regular monthly clergy gathering to equip the pastor in leading his or her church with a particular focus for the month.
This whole process will continue to be undergirded by equipping the church to be stronger in strategic prayer. We will start the next season of the Nehemiah Journey in January 2023. We invite you to sign up so that we can help you and your congregation in this liminal season.
You may request additional information and an application by sending an email to email@example.com or by contacting Dr. Scott Pattison, ATT: Nehemiah Journey, 700 E. Southway Blvd, Kokomo, IN 46902 by November 15, 2022. We look forward to hearing from you!
The Rev. Dr. Scott Pattison is an elder in the Global Methodist Church and the senior pastor of The Connexion Church in Kokomo, Indiana. The Rev. Jill Jackson-Sears is senior pastor of Lake Highlands United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Both have been key leaders in the Wesleyan Covenant Association.