NLI Timeline (Past / Present / Future)

May 2018 (Invitation accepted!)

BY UNANIMOUS VOTE… At our May Church Council meeting, a heavily attended regular session, Lebanon UMC’s involvement in Next Level Innovations (NLI) was unanimously approved.  In doing so we have committed to participate in what could be up to a three-year journey of intentional learning and study, within and outside our church, to help us move “from good to great” as we put what we learn into practice.  Currently we are expanding our initial NLI team as we each commit to study, read, and participate in training events.  We will be attending an orientation meeting this coming Wednesday, May 30th, to meet our mentor, who will be our guide during this journey, and we will also find out our immediate next steps. Please continue to be in prayer for Lebanon UMC, even if the prayer is as simple as “May God’s will be done.”  Many are still praying at 5:08 pm each day for our church and its future.  Some have adjusted their time due to work, travel, etc.  But the power in the praying isn’t that we do it at the exact same moment, its simply that so many of us are in prayer around the ministry of this church.  John Wesley, the founder of Methodism said, “God does nothing but by prayer, and everything with it.” Let us join in prayer, together, for the good of God’s Kingdom lived out as the people of Lebanon UMC.  If you have more questions, please feel free to reach out to any team member; Jimmy Mills, Kim Mitchell, Susan Martin, Rev. Spencer Broce. (We will add the new team members to this list after orientation)



April 2018 (An Invitation to Grow from Good to Great)

What is Next Level Innovations (NLI)?

  • Designed to improve the health, vitality and strength of our congregation’s outreach, witness and impact.
  • Founded and rooted in prayer, “Thy will be done.”
  • NLI is a multi-year, 3 phase journey covered in prayer, monthly clergy training, 2-3 laity training events, and intensive weekend of church study with a detailed report/recommendation for innovations specially developed for our church, and follow up coaching for a year or more. Focused on moving from Good to GREAT.
  • Developed and guided by Virginia pastors who have grown their churches based on similar models from other UMC conferences
  • Investment in churches that have a recognized potential for reaching more people in their community and inviting them to become disciples of Jesus who have a healthy and coachable leadership to become disciples of Jesus.
  • Participating Districts: Northern VA, Richmond, Elizabeth River.  We will be with Elizabeth River group because we are considered a medium-sized church.


PrePhase 1 (Spring 2018)                                                                                                Deciding Involvement

  • District Superintendent, Peter Moon, selects churches that are good but could be great.
  • Lebanon was invited to the Invitation Banquet with 4 representatives: Spencer, Jimmy Mills, Susan Martin and Kim Mitchell.  This was an Informational meeting about the program to help in the decision-making process to join.
  • Enter into a time of prayerful discernment – is this the right step and right time for our church
  • Church Council votes on May 8, 2018 meeting. Deadline of May 11, 2018 to respond to District if we are participating.
  • Create a NLI team of 4-8 leaders who can be involved for 3 years. This team will communicate back to church, teach, and lead change with the congregation.

Phase 1 (Fall 2018 – Spring 2019)                        

Preparing church and leadership to be ready to innovate

  • The NLI team attends the Orientation event, May 30, 2018. At this time, we will find out who our church mentor will be for the entire process.  The Mentor will have already been through the NLI program.
  • For the first year, the major time commitment will be for the pastor including 9-12 full or partial day meetings
  • Pastor will be in a Peer Learning Group with 6-10 other senior clergy from similar churches. He will learn about leading change, breakthrough prayer, visioning change and aligning with staff, laity, stewardship.
  • All NLI churches will be invited to one or two special Church Team Events focusing on areas of ministry.
  • NLI Team will meet 2-3 additional times with the lead pastor for training.
  • The District staff will have a presenter come to Lebanon to lead a Ministry Focus Event open to everyone in the church. This event will emphasize alignment of ministry of your church with the vision and mission of the church which will help us get ready for the Innovation Weekend (phase 2)

Phase 2 (Spring 2019 – Winter 2020)                 

Learning about our opportunities / Embracing Innovations

  • Lebanon begins a detailed church self-study led by our NLI Team
  • During Lent 2019, Church Leadership and NLI team participates in a spiritual formation study that will focus on Wesleyan theology and that change begins with the Gospel message
  • Innovation Weekend – A full team called the Weekend Innovations Team will come to Lebanon, interview key leaders and staff, hold training events about evangelism and discipleship, present a recommendation of several key NLI Innovations that will help take our church to the next level in making disciples for the transformation of the world. There will be a series of Town Hall meetings to help in the decision-making process of proceeding with our innovations. The weekend will conclude with an encouraging worship event to highlight the ongoing work of the church and the future possibilities.

Friday – Weekend Innovations Team (WIT) gets familiar with church building, interview pastor and meets with key leaders.  Church newcomers and youth also spend time with WIT. Saturday – All day listen, lunch and learn session gives WIT the opportunity to hear from the congregation.  Mystery worshiper reports and other findings are presented. Sunday – Weekend concludes with the presentation of the Innovations Report during Sunday morning worship.  One combined service.

  • After the Innovation Weekend, Lebanon will enter into a season of discernment for 60 days to decide to accept the innovations proposed or choose not to move forward at this time. The Innovations are purposely put together as a package deal – all or nothing.  This allows us to take on harder innovations with some easier ones.  There will be a vote at a Church Conference, requiring 75% or more of those voting to be willing to move forward with all the Innovations.  If the church does not want to move forward, the resources for the mentor and peer groups will end.
  • If the vote is yes, Phase 3 begins.

Phase 3 (Fall 2019 – 2021)                                                                                     

Living into our “next Level”

  • Lebanon’s mentor will be an integral part of this phase in the accomplishment of the innovations, training, ideas and working through the process of implementation.
  • District staff and special trainers are available. Lebanon is not left alone to figure out how to accomplish the innovations.  Approximately 1-2 years in processing and implementing these innovations.

Commitment                                                                                         Over a 2-3 Year Period

Church’s Commitment

  • Lebanon commits to the practice of daily prayer for the ministry of our church.
  • Support pastor’s participation in monthly training
  • The cost to the District and Conference is $10,000-12,000 for each church which is covered from secure outside funding and grants without increasing apportionments. Lebanon’s part would be $3,000 over 3 years in addition to books, meals and other materials.

2018 – $500 2019 – $1500 2020 – $1000

Pastor’s Commitment

  • Attend approximately 9-12 NLI meetings/trainings
  • Associated reading and projects with the trainings that would include topics such as: breakthrough prayer techniques, how to lead change, stewardship, discipleship, staffing, and aligning vision with staff and laity.
  • Pastor will help their NLI team begin to implement the ideas and innovations about what he has learned.
  • Pastor will help organize, prepare for and fully attend the Innovation Weekend.

District’s Commitment

  • Provide leadership and administrative support
  • Secure outside funding to offset cost to church
  • Contribute to financing of NLI process through outside grants ($7,000 per church; up to $42,000 for all churches involved)
  • Identify and recruit mentors
  • Regularly encourage church leadership and support change process