“We would love to have more young people in our church, but they just won’t come. We don’t know what to do.” I have heard those statements repeated over and over again. Almost every church I’ve served and visited expresses the desire for more young families and young adults to attend recognizing that what worked when we were younger, just doesn’t work well with the millennial generation and younger. Rev. Rob Rynders has been part of a team working on reaching this group.

Rynders will be the keynote speaker for the West District Day of Learning on February 2, 2019 at Dove of the Desert UMC (it will also be live streamed to Trinity UMC, Yuma and Mountain View UMC, Cottonwood.) Rob’s talk is titled, “Creating and Maintaining Communities of Faith for the 21st Century: Learnings from The Orontes Project.” Two and a half years ago, the New and Vital Faith Committee of the Desert Southwest Conference began a partnership with North Scottsdale UMC and a private non-profit to explore how to reach the millennial generation which they called The Orontes Project. The first phase of the project was to do a large marketing study of millennials learning their attitudes toward God, Jesus, faith, spirituality, and the church. The second phase has been to experiment with applying the learnings from the study to effectively reach those who have left the church or who will not attend our current traditional church. Rob will be sharing what they have learned from all of this work.

Following the plenary will be six workshops:

  • Further Discussion with Rev. Rob Rynders **
  • Behavioral Health – Caring for Others/Caring for Ourselves – Rev. Joshua Warner **
  • Discipling Systems – Rev. Dave McPherson **
  • Congregational Care Ministries – Rev. Leah Bergstrom
  • Going Green – Julie O’Neal
  • Not My War – Rev. Tina Marie Rees

** Available at Mountain View UMC-Cottonwood and Trinity UMC-Yuma via live stream & live chat.

The workshops will be offered in the morning and afternoon. Lunch is provided at all three locations and a Mission Fair will be offered during the lunch hour. Registration begins at 8:30 AM and the event begins at 9:15 AM. The Dove of the Desert UMC site will conclude the day with some fun – a Jeopardy-like game based on the workshops and plenary with the Day of Learning ending at 3:00 PM. The Yuma and Cottonwood sites will end at 2:00 PM. Hopefully everyone will leave inspired, excited, and equipped to return to their churches with some new ideas, insights and plans.

I am so excited to gather and work together with those who attend to make our churches more effective at making disciples for Jesus Christ and sharing his love both inside and outside the church. Remember to register online at https://dscumc.org/event/west-district-day-of-learning/ before January 25 to get the discount.

I’ll see you there!

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