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New Churches

Starting new churches is one of the key ways we reach new people of all ages and life circumstance and connect them with the body of Christ. The Minnesota Conference is currently supporting nine new faith communities and six congregations moving toward sustainability. New faith communities must meet context-specific growth benchmarks in order to receive continued funding, and the goal is for each of them to become self-sustaining.

Here’s a look at the three stages of a new faith community’s life cycle and where each of the projects is now:


Congregations in pre-launch phase:


Congregations on the path to sustainability:


Congregations ready for chartering and have completed annual conference funding and supervision:

New Church Models

There are many types of new church starts. They include:

  • Chartered church: A church that is launched to reach a new geographic-, demographic-, or lifestyle-based group and is led by appointed clergy; churches become chartered when they reach 125 in worship and demonstrate sustainability.
  • Partnered congregation: A church that focuses on reaching an underserved and/or economically challenged population group and receives ongoing support from outside of the people it serves—often from another “partner” church.
  • Restart: A previously chartered church that goes through an intentional rebirth by ceasing regular worship and programming and starting over in an effort to reach a new group; typically, the process involves relocating, renaming, and welcoming a new leader.
  • Fellowship: A United Methodist group with a spiritual leader who may be clergy or lay; fellowships are on track to become self-supporting as unchartered churches, although some seek a charter later in their life cycle.

Church Planter Discernment Retreats

Each year, the Minnesota Conference hosts a discernment retreat for clergy and laity who have gifts for and/or interest in church planting. The idea is to help people discern whether they are called to help plant new churches while cultivating a pool of well-equipped leaders prepared to reach people in new mission fields across the state. If you’re interested in learning more or attending the next retreat, email Congregational Development Associate Gail Johnson.

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058